Pocono: Pole winner interview

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) Qualified 1st CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING LAP TODAY HERE AT POCONO? "It feels pretty good. We haven't had a pole in a while. This whole Budweiser team is doing a great job. They've been...

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) Qualified 1st

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING LAP TODAY HERE AT POCONO?

"It feels pretty good. We haven't had a pole in a while. This whole Budweiser team is doing a great job. They've been giving me great race cars. Last week (at Dover) there was nothing that we could do when we got in that wreck. We just kind of had to run around the rest of the race and make sure we finished and we did. That's all that we could do last week, otherwise we had a good car there.

"Today, (the car) went right around the corners. Three corners and it went through all three of them perfect. I was really happy. Coming to the checker, I knew that it was a really good lap. It's hard to tell whether it's a perfect lap, a great lap, or a bad lap. It's different here from other race tracks. I knew that it drove good in all the corners and I carried a lot of straightaway speed. It was real similar to practice so I thought that we'd be real close to Jimmie (Johnson) and we were, so it feels real good to get a pole."

"CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS FOR YOUR TEAM?

"Mark McArdle (Director of Competition, GEM) said from the start of the season that we were going to get better as the season goes. He's put emphasis on certain things and as the season goes on, our cars will get better and faster. It just seems since the Charlotte test, we really have gotten things going. We had a good Charlotte test. We went to Darlington and would have had a good car there, but I hit the wall in qualifying and ruined that car. So that kind of screwed up that weekend.

"Last weekend we got in that wreck early on that screwed up the weekend, but we had a good Dodge Charger there also. I think the test at Charlotte was big. We've always run good at Charlotte and we just got some momentum. The fans got us in the All-Star race. We won that and won the (Coca-Cola) 600 and the momentum and confidence and things has been there and the team is doing a great job, whether at the track or at the shop. It's been fun again. I'm doing a much better job communicating with Kenny Francis (Team Director, No. 9 Dodge Charger) and Chad (Johnston), our engineer, giving them the information that they need to make the car better and I think that's been helpful as well."

WHAT ARE YOUR CHANCES ON SUNDAY?

"When you qualify well at this race track, you race pretty well. That doesn't mean we're going to run first, but I think we definitely have a car that can run in the top 10. We're going to have a great pit stall in and out, no problem there, not that there are any problems on this pit road. Track position will be big. We're starting up front. We need to do everything possible to stay in the top five, top 10 and I think we can have a good day on Sunday. We've had some good races here. We've had some great qualifying efforts. We just have to keep that rolling.

HAS YOUR ENGINE PROGRAM IMPROVED THIS YEAR?

"Our engines are running well. I think the engines have been strong all year and they're definitely better now than they were at the start of the year."

THE ONLY ACTIVE FULL-TIME DRIVERS THAT HAVE MORE POLES THAN YOU ARE JEFF GORDON, RYAN NEWMAN AND BOBBY LABONTE. DOES THAT SURPRISE YOU?

"That does surprise me there aren't more guys with more than 15 poles. I've always thought Friday was one of the fun days at the track as far as driving and trying to get a pole. I shoot for that every week. I shoot for qualifying and getting the cars on edge and as fast and as well balanced as possible, whatever it takes to go fast at each race track. I really enjoy qualifying. That has something to do with it and then just having good race cars, good engines and a good team to work with. Ryan Newman enjoys it. He's had great race cars and he enjoys it. That's why he has so many poles. It's something you have to like to qualify well."

DID THE PATCH HELP YOU TODAY?

"If I hadn't run the patch, I wouldn't have won the pole. It's that much faster. It's three or four tenths faster to run the patch probably than not. It feels really good when you are on top of it. There's so much more grip there than the rest of the race track. That's always been the toughest corner of all because Turn One, you have some banking. The Tunnel Turn, there's different ways to get through it and it's not as tight a corner and there is some banking there. Turn Three is really flat. To me, it has always been the hardest corner to get through and with that patch, it really gets you going and keeps your momentum going through there. I feel like it's going to make it a better race. It's going to help cars get down the front straightaway and if you're better than somebody, you're probably going to have enough grip to catch them, get a run and get beside of them before you get to Turn One. Hopefully, it makes for a better race. If it does, it's definitely a good thing."

WILL THIS BE A GAS-MILEAGE RACE?

"It's just all about when that final caution comes out. This is my fifth year racing here and I've been involved in a few of them. It could definitely be a gas-mileage race, but I hope it's not. For some reason, our engines haven't gotten the gas mileage the Fords, Chevrolets and Toyotas have. Hopefully, it's just straight racing."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Ryan Newman