Indianapolis Motor Speedway Brickyard 400 press conference
An interview with Kasey Kahne
THE MODERATOR: Our outside polesitter for the 18th annual Brickyard 400 is Kasey Kahne.
Kasey, talk about your outstanding qualifying effort out there today.
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, the lap was really good. It took out a little over a 10th from final practice. I thought that lap was really good. Wound up second there. The car's been really fast. Everybody's done an awesome job. We had a rear-end housing problem there in practice today. Luckily we got that switched. Everything worked just like it did before. So everything is going good there.
Just had a great lap. I think David's lap had to have been a good lap, too. I felt like I maybe could have came to the green a little bit quicker, entered turn one a little faster if I carried more speed down the frontstretch. Might have been enough to get the pole, but it would have close either way. He probably could have had something he could have done better if he made the lap again, too.
I think it's a really good spot for tomorrow. Starting up front here is a part of running well, being in clean air throughout the race, trying to keep that track position. Look forward to it.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kasey.
Q. Have you seen a change in David this year? Does he seem to carry himself in a more positive or better way?
KASEY KAHNE: I worked with him a little bit last year. I seen him as much this year. To me he really kind of acts the same, you know, walks the same. I don't know. I mean, he's obviously faster. He's doing a good job on the track, for sure.
He must race and drive more confident, for sure, because he's out there. He does a good job. The Roush cars are really fast. He's one of the guys that does a good job in the car.
Other than that, I think he's about the same. I've seen him a few times this year at dinner, at a concert and stuff. He's just a nice guy. He's always been a nice guy.
Q. Kasey, what did you learn through the days as the other guys were qualifying that helped you when your turn came at the end of the day?
KASEY KAHNE: Well, you wanted a cloud. I might have got a little bit of a cloud, but not as much as some. David didn't get any more than I did. He just had a good lap. He went out at a good time. I think I went out at a good time. That came from yesterday's practice.
I think doing the right things after practice this morning, we freed our car up a little bit more even though it was already on the free side. I think that helped. I think I just was able to keep my speed up a little bit more than some of the guys that were fast lost a little bit of speed. I think Kenny Francis made the right call there. We did the right adjustments. Other than that, we just had a good car.
Q. Kasey, could you talk about how good the car is in race trim, how confident you are that you can at least stay in the top five and compete for the victory?
KASEY KAHNE: Right. We just have to be there at the end. You have to be in that front row or two that final green-flag run. It seems that how this race is won, being up front at the end. You're not just going to pass five, six cars. When you get into turn one, you got to be one of those top couple cars more times than not.
We worked really hard all weekend to try to have a car that's fast the first lap but also doesn't fall off. There's a few cars that don't fall off as much as us, but we're a half a second faster the first five laps than they are. So I feel like we're in a really good spot.
The car is balanced really well, not moving around a lot. I've had cars that have moved around a lot here, been fast, but move around a lot more. Hopefully this will be just a better balance when you're around other cars because the air is so sensitive at this racetrack.
Q. (No microphone.)
KASEY KAHNE: There's a few. I don't remember the numbers, but there's a few.
Q. Do you typically come to Indianapolis with good vibes? How have the last few days been?
KASEY KAHNE: I always come here happy and excited, wanting to get on the racetrack. Living here I guess for three years and racing open-wheel type cars, Sprint cars, midgets around the area, I think to me we don't race in Seattle, so this is as close to kind of home as I'll get at times other than Charlotte. I'm always pretty happy at that track, too.
It's just nice. I enjoy it around here. Know a lot of people. A lot of great fans around this area. Yeah, I always look forward to racing here. Unbelievable facility, racetrack, really technical. There's always just little things you can do with your feet or hands to improve your lap or hurt your lap. It's a neat track to drive, really cool track to drive.
As far as Williams Grove, I crashed and was sore for a few days, but that was it. Just like any other wreck, other than I was in the air for a long time. I haven't been in the air for a long time for a while. That was the difference. Other than that, I was just a little bit sore, neck and back, arms. But you get over it pretty quick.
Q. (No microphone.)
KASEY KAHNE: A lot more than I would have ever expected. I was so surprised how many different stations it was on, whether it was TV or Internet, all that stuff. It was all over Twitter. It was interesting. I haven't had anything like that before that's been so popular that I really didn't do anything good (laughter).
But everything worked out. I mean, the car held up fine. Everything was good. Pretty good Sprint car wreck, I guess.
Q. Was one of the calls from Rick Hendrick?
KASEY KAHNE: No. He never called me (smiling).
Actually nobody called me, I just had a ton of texts, yeah. One of them was his. You know, seems like everybody texts these days rather than calls. I texted back to most of them. I saw Ray Evernham on Tuesday, had to borrow a trailer to haul a tractor across town. He asked me why I didn't respond to his text. I said, I read it and I understand what you're saying, so that's it.
Me and Ray go back and forth a little bit on some of that Sprint car stuff. He's always looking out for my best interests, trying to help me. He's helped me since I got into Cup in 2004 and he's still right there. I talk to him a lot. He's been a great guy to get advice and things from over the years. He's still right there always trying to make sure I'm making the right decision.
Q. Was he happy?
KASEY KAHNE: I don't think he was happy with what he saw. He was happy I was all right. He wasn't upset or anything. He was happy I was all right. Pretty exciting wreck.
Q. Kasey, you slipped coming out of four enough to smoke the right rear it looked like. Is that a loose situation or a whole-car drift type thing?
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, that was just loose. The reason it did it is coming to the green I drove in a little too far and wasn't able to get down far enough on the racetrack in turn four. I felt like coming back to turn four I'd lift early, get down lower, floor it sooner. So I just went back to the throttle a lot sooner than what I had the lap before. By the time I got to the wall, I was still turning and going a little too fast for where our car was.
I never had to get out of the gas. I was able to drive through it. I don't think it really hurt my lap time a whole lot.
Q. Can we assume Ray wasn't really supportive of the Sprint car thing, is that what you're trying to say?
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah (smiling). But Ray races Sprint cars himself. It's all right.
Q. Does this impact how you feel about other opportunities, IndyCar in particular?
KASEY KAHNE: Not really. I doesn't impact how I feel on Sprint car racing. It's a sport that I love to do, love to be a part of. I have my own team. As long as I'm doing everything as responsibly and paying attention and have all the right seats, HANS device, all the equipment, it's racing, and I love to race. That's what I want to do.
Tony Stewart does the same thing, and he loves it. I think that's the kind of stuff we live for. I feel like sometimes when I go and race a Sprint car it actually makes me better in a Cup car because it kind of takes me away from the Cup race and lets you think about something else, try to remember how to do it and stuff.
I like that side of myself, enjoying other types of racing, not just Sprint Cup Series.
Q. What would it take for you to go ahead and do this Vegas deal in IndyCar?
KASEY KAHNE: I think it just has to make sense. They're trying to set it up to where you can get back and forth. I'd miss a practice session or two. But it starts pretty early in the week out in Vegas. There's no way it could affect my Red Bull deal at all or I wouldn't even think about doing it, if it affected what I was doing at Charlotte. As long as it didn't do that, you know, some of the other little things I got to go over, I'd definitely look into it.
If you could get in the right car, work with the right guys, have enough time to feel like you were prepared going into a race. I don't think you just get in an IndyCar and race. It's a high-speed sport. You got to know what you're doing.
If I can spend the time to figure out what I'm doing and work with the right guys, it's something I would look at.
Q. (No microphone.)
KASEY KAHNE: Well, I've brought it up to him in the past, about some other things. That would be somebody that I'd definitely have to talk to, see if it made sense. It's not just me. There's a lot of other people involved. It would be a little bit of a process before I'd know or not if I was going to do it.
I really like IndyCar racing. I like what they do. I've driven them a couple times, enjoyed it. I drove in a testing situation, which is way different than racing situation. I'd have to do it in a race. It would be kind of a dream of mine that I've always wanted to do.
Whether it happens, I don't know yet. But it would be neat if it did.
THE MODERATOR: Kasey, good luck out there tomorrow.
KASEY KAHNE: Thank you.
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