KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) YOU'RE A FOUR-TIME PARTICIPANT IN THE SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE. WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF BEING IN THAT RACE? "It just means that you won a race. It means that you're in it. It's a fun...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
YOU'RE A FOUR-TIME PARTICIPANT IN THE SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE. WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF BEING IN THAT RACE? "It just means that you won a race. It means that you're in it. It's a fun race; it's exciting for the teams, for the drivers. It puts on a good show for the fans. I think I like today the most. Where you qualify, your pit crew is part of the whole qualifying thing with the pit stop and how fast they can go with no mistakes. And you still have to run a good qualifying lap on the track. So that's today. Tomorrow night is just a blast. It's all about trying to win and putting a good show on. Some different segments in it -- three or four different segments -- it's exciting. I want to be a part of it. I want to win tomorrow in the Open and make our way in there and be part of the All-Star Race tomorrow night."
DOES THE ALL-STAR FORMAT CHANGE THE WAY YOU DRIVE? DO YOU DO THINGS YOU WOULDN'T DO IN A POINTS RACE? "I don't think so. I think the only part that it changes is that you drive the entire race like it's the last third or last quarter of a normal Cup race. It's not like you can go and say 'I'm going to go faster and try harder in the All-Star Race'. It doesn't make you go any faster. We pretty much do that all the time as far as racing goes.
"No, I mean you're not going to go any faster. You're not going to do any other stuff. Maybe you'll try and squeeze in a hole -- three-wide or something -- that you wouldn't have done on Lap 20 at Darlington last week. You still have to finish in order to win (the race). To me, it's kind of all out. You don't have to worry about points. You don't have to worry about that stuff. So if you do see an opening, yeah, you maybe take it and see if you can make it compared to the other races where you may not take that chance. It's not a huge difference. I think the biggest difference is the short sessions, segments in the race. You know you have to be 'this far forward or where you're at' as compare to a Cup race where you have 10 stops and a lot that rides on the race with pit stops and things."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE DRIVERS THAT HAVEN'T WON AS MANYRACES AS YOU HAVE ARE IN THE ALL-STAR RACE? IS IT FAIR OUR UNFAIR AT ALL? "I think it's completely fair. I think that you should be in this race because you've won this race in the past or raced well the season before. We didn't run good last year and we've never won this race. We came close in '06. I think we had a car that could have won in '06. I messed up. Me and Mark (Martin) got together a little bit there and spun out. We were very good in '06. We've run very good at other times. The last two years we haven't been that good at all. No, I shouldn't be in that race. If we don't run any better than what we just did in practice, we probably won't be in it tomorrow night either. It's just disappointing. You feel like you can go fast, especially at a track like this where we've always run up front. Whether it was a Nationwide car or Cup car, but when things aren't right, they're not right."
HOW DIFFERENTLY DO YOU SET YOUR CARS UP FOR SHORT RUNS, 20 LAPS OR SO? ARE YOUR AIR PRESSURES THE SAME? "Usually you can mess with air pressures a little bit. It's kind of like if you find whatever air pressure makes your car right on a 60-lap run or a 45-lap run, it is about the same pressure I would say that is going to make it right on a 25-lap run. That's what I've learned in the past. We've tried messing with tires with 10 to go in a race and usually it doesn't work a whole lot. Usually you have your balance for your setup and that's what it is. I mean if they're working on that today, different air pressure, that's one thing. More times than not, whatever that tire pressure your car likes at the start of a run is what you're going to run on a 75-lap run or a 25-lap run."
IS THERE A MISSING INGREDIENT IN YOUR TEAM THIS YEAR? IF SO, WHAT WOULD THAT BE? "You look at what we do as far as practice and qualifying goes, take away wrecking last week during qualifying, we usually are decent at that point. We get into a race and we're a top-10 car. From there on out, the adjustments are off. The communication between myself and Kenny (Francis, team director) has been good, especially in '06 when the cars we're really good. I feel like he's the right guy to make the right calls on what to do. And I give him the information the best that I can, so to me it's just the cars aren't where they need to be to go fast. It just goes back to the race car. As far as being where we are in the points, we're just a little more consistent and other guys aren't because we really haven't run that great in the last month, two months. I'd say we just--the consistency is why we're in the points. As far as winning races, we're a long, long way from there."
-credit: dodge motorsports