KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT YOUR FIRST SUPERSPEEDWAY RACE? "It was in 2002 at Daytona in the 98 Nationwide car. We qualified really bad, but had a strong car during the race. We raced our way up to...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT YOUR FIRST SUPERSPEEDWAY RACE? "It was in 2002 at Daytona in the 98 Nationwide car. We qualified really bad, but had a strong car during the race. We raced our way up to the front and ended up getting in a wreck late in the race (finished 25th). We were pretty good that day. We led laps and were very competitive. To be there for the first time was a pretty cool sensation that I will never forget. Such fast racing and you're so close to each other -- you never forget your first restrictor plate race."
HOW DID YOU PREPARE FOR THAT RACE? OR DO YOU JUST HAVE TO LEARN WHEN YOU GET ON THE TRACK? "You learn more about it (how to restrictor plate race) the more that you do it. But that first time is definite and eye opener. You better figure out where you need to be and who you need to be with in a hurry. Things happen so fast that your racing instincts just take over and you drive the car as hard as you have to. There's no real simulator that prepares you for what happens on the racetrack.
"I've always loved restrictor plate racing. You can take the wrong lane and move backwards and the next time take a different lane and move up a bunch of spots. There is always something going on around you and you're totally focused for three or four hours of racing. A lot of it is a guessing game throughout the entire race. It's really intense. But that first race was incredible."
IS IT DIFFICULT OT REMAIN PATIENT IN THE RACE CAR DURING A PLATE RACE? "I don't think that you can be patient. If you have an open hole, you take it. If you don't, then you can't force it and try to make something that isn't there for you unless you want to cause a wreck."
WHEN DO YOU FIND YOUR DRAFTING PARTNER HERE AT TALLADEGA? "I think both in the practice and during the race. It's weird. You'll end up getting around some cars -- some will benefit you more than others -- and it happens a few times throughout the practice and race. Once you figure out what cars those are, you try to figure out how you can get hooked-up with them. Usually it's not my teammates; we've struggled finding each other during the race at these places. We need really strong cars. For some reason in the past, we haven't been able to find each other in order to get to the front. I haven't been able to work too well with Elliott (Sadler) and he kind of does the same (finds other drafting partners) and gets to the front. Elliott is a great drafter, so Talladega is a good place for us. For some reason, we've had to find other people here and haven't been able to get together and move our way up to the front."
WHAT ARE THE LAST 20 LAPS LIKE RACING AT TALLADEGA? "A lot of blocking and you're trying to be in the right lane. You're always trying not to let somebody get you out of line and push you back. It's intense -- really intense. Every lap is pretty intense except when you get strung out in a line and everybody gets out running along the wall. All's that does is waste a few hundred miles of the race and makes the racing really boring."
IF YOU'RE UP IN THE LEAD PACK WITH FEWER THAN 20 LAPS TO GO, DO YOU DRIVE THE CHASE GUYS ANY DIFFERENT? "I don't think that you can at this place. Those guys are either going to be in a wreck or they're not. As far as the Chase goes, Talladega is one of those places that it's really hard racing. I've been in tons of wrecks at these tracks and the person that causes the wreck never says he's sorry because he never means to cause it (a wreck) -- it just happens."
-credit: dodge motorsports