Sonoma: Kasey Kahne - Ford Friday interview

FORD FAST FACTS * Kasey Kahne is the defending winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway, and the only current Ford driver with a series road course victory in his career. * Ford has 6 NSCS wins at Infineon Raceway with...

FORD FAST FACTS

* Kasey Kahne is the defending winner of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway, and the only current Ford driver with a series road course victory in his career.

* Ford has 6 NSCS wins at Infineon Raceway with the last coming by Ricky Rudd in 2002.

* After 9 Ford teams used the new FR9 engine last week at Michigan, all will revert back to the R452 model this weekend at Infineon Raceway.

* Ford has three drivers currently in the Top 12 of the NSCS standings (Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards).

* There are 12 Fords entered in this weekend's race, including Boris Said, who hopes to make his fifth start of the season and first since Atlanta in the No. 26 Air National Guard Fusion.

* All but two Fords are guaranteed starting spots in this weekend's NSCS race. The No. 26 of Boris Said and No. 38 of David Gilliland will both have to make the field on speed in today's qualifying session. There are 46 cars entered this weekend, meaning three will not make the race.

Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion, who is coming off a season-best second-place last week, is the defending winner of this race and earlier today he spoke about how surprising that win still is today.

KASEY KAHNE - No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion

DID YOU REALLY NOT KNOW WHERE VICTORY LANE WAS LAST YEAR WHEN YOU WON? "Yeah, I had never looked. I never knew where it was at this track."

DID YOU EVER THINK YOU'D COME BACK HERE AS A DEFENDING CHAMPION? "I always thought I'd win at a road course at some point, I just needed the laps and the experience to do it, so we won last year and are the defending champs of this race. We need to run well again. We need to try and put together a solid race."

HOW IS IT TO BE IN LIMBO AS FAR AS NEXT YEAR? "It actually hasn't been bad at all for me. The future is gonna be a little different than what it is right now, but I've had commitments and when I make a commitment, I stick to it. I've stuck to it and I just want to run as well as I can and hope that everybody stays behind me and do the best job I can until I'm done."

ANY NEW POSSIBILITIES THIS WEEK? "I haven't even paid attention this week. I've been doing my own thing. I actually talked with Mr. Hendrick this morning and we just chatted. We stay in touch every week and we didn't even cross that path. I didn't even ask anything about next year and he didn't bring it up, either. We were just talking about other stuff, so I would say there is no new news."

DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT AT ALL OR JUST FOCUS WEEK TO WEEK? "I actually just focus on what I'm doing week to week. He said he'd take care of it. He's been an awesome guy and a great guy to talk to. What he loves to do in this sport is win races and they've done it for a long time, so I just leave it up to him. He said he would and I stick behind that. I think it'll be a pretty awesome opportunity whatever it is next year."

WHEN SOME DRIVERS MAKE A CHANGE IT LEADS TO ANIMOSITY WITH THEIR EXISTING TEAM. THAT DOESN'T SEEM TO HAVE HAPPENED WITH YOU AND THE 9 TEAM. "It's helped me a lot, but it's just that things change. Life changes, opportunities change and I've said it from the start - I just want to finish strong. I want to do everything I can to be the best driver I can throughout the rest of this year and work with my team and be committed. I think everybody here wants the same, so, hopefully, it keeps going the way it is and things finish strong for us. I know Budweiser has really been behind us. Ford has really been behind us, and it's nice to have people like that wanting to run well before the season is done."

YOU ARE ROUGHLY 200 POINTS OUT OF A CHASE SPOT. DO YOU EVEN LOOK AT THAT RIGHT NOW OR JUST CONCENTRATE ON WINNING RACES AND THE POINTS WILL TAKE CARE OF THEMSELVES? "That's really all we want is to win races and make the chase. It's all you think about when it comes to NASCAR as a driver, so that's still what we're shooting for. We need to throw down some big races for awhile if we want to make it, but it's definitely possible."

HOW PROFESSIONALLY SATISFYING WAS IT FOR YOU TO BEAT TONY STEWART ON A ROAD COURSE HERE LAST YEAR? "It felt really good. I saw Tony. I saw Jimmie. I saw Ambrose. I saw Juan Pablo. I mean, they were all one or two cars behind me the last 20 laps or however long it was, and it just felt good to hold them off and not make a mistake and kind of keep my head focused and look forward and finish strong and we were able to do that."

YOUR AVERAGE FINISH WAS AROUND 22ND or 23RD HERE. WAS IT A SURPRISE? "It was definitely a surprise. I don't know how many times I've talked about that after that race for the next couple of weeks, but it still is, today, was a surprise winning that race. It hasn't changed. That's what I said then and it still is today." THAT JUMPSTARTED YOUR CHASE RUN LAST YEAR, DIDN'T IT? "Yeah, that was a big win for us and Atlanta was a big win for us, and just trying to get the consistency we needed to make the chase. It worked out and it was good."

SO ARE YOU A BETTER ROAD COURSE DRIVER THAN PEOPLE GIVE YOU CREDIT FOR? "I've always been kind of decent at road racing, I thought - just alright, but like nothing special - kind of decent. Last year, the car was really good. We kind of figured some things out that I was looking for, that I needed to race better, but we've always qualified decent, and I think we should have a good shot to run up front again this weekend, if we can get that balance that we had last year."

-source: ford racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Boris Said , Greg Biffle , Kasey Kahne , Carl Edwards , David Gilliland