KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) ARE YOU OUT OF CARS "Our speedway stuff is getting rebuilt. We have some short track cars, but our intermediate car, we're hurting on that right now. I've crashed a couple and the guys are...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
ARE YOU OUT OF CARS "Our speedway stuff is getting rebuilt. We have some short track cars, but our intermediate car, we're hurting on that right now. I've crashed a couple and the guys are building some new ones. We're looking all right. We need to get out of here with a clean weekend."
WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? "We just missed it on our aero balance. We missed it a little bit with the new Charger and the spoiler and everything with all the new rules. When we do hit it we'll be right back where we need to be, but as of right now we're off a little bit. Hopefully real soon, hopefully this weekend we'll get it back. The guys have worked real hard all week long with new ideas changing things over, redoing cars. It's been a busy week, but I think we're definitely going in the right direction."
WHAT'S WRONG WITH DODGE? "I think there's a lot of good Dodge teams, Penske, Evernham, Ganassi. I think they're all close, but nobody is doing much winning. Ray could have 10 Dodge wins all to himself with no problem at all over the last two years with some of the races with Bill Elliott and some of my races. They just never happened so they don't count, but I think we're close. We haven't been close the first couple of races."
HAVE YOU TALKED ABOUT IT BEING TIME TO GO? "Everybody knows it's time to go. We've had meetings all week in figuring out what's wrong with our Dodge Charger and how to fix it and what we need to do to make it better. We can't do anything about the points we've already lost. All we can do is gain as many as we can from here out. Everybody is working hard trying to make the right decisions on how to have good racecars. If I don't have a good racecar I need to finish the race, not overdrive the car and crash. It's little things we know we have to do. We just need to start doing them."
DO YOU THINK THERE'S NO MORE ROOM FOR A BAD RACE? "I don't think you can get away with having too many more than two or three, but if you do finish in the top 10 for a bunch of straight races and get a couple of wins and lead laps you can definitely get back in it. There's still plenty of time to get back in it. We just need to turn things around and get going in the right direction."
HAVE YOU MADE ANY PERSONNEL CHANGES? "No personnel changes on our side. We've been making some changes in the cars. We missed it on the aero side of things this year. We thought we were pretty good through the off season. Every time we went and tested somewhere we were the fastest Dodge by a good bit and the tracks were cool. As things have changed, as rubber has gone down on racetracks and had more cars around us we've been really, really loose. We don't have cars to test right now."
DO YOU HAVE TO GUARD AGAINST TRYING TOO HARD? "I haven't been trying too hard. I've just been trying to stay on the racetrack, just trying to hang on to what I had. The last two weeks, I lost it twice. It's a bad feeling to do it two times in a row."
COMMENT ON RECENT NASCAR PENALTIES "Whatever NASCAR decides to do to 'em, that's what goes on. If it's severe enough, cheating is obviously severe enough to give 'em suspensions and thousands of dollars in points. It's just something NASCAR is trying to straighten out to make sure it doesn't happen anymore. I really don't know what happened (to the 48). I heard low, but I don't know what that means, if it's the front or back. I didn't really hear a whole lot about it. I just know they got some pretty stiff fines, so it must have been something pretty big."
COMMENT ON THE DODGE NOSE "I think for starters when they started designing this nose and tail they had a lot bigger rear spoiler. They're trying to make as much downforce as they can in the front. Now we don't have any rear spoiler. I think we just missed it with aero. We've got too much in the front and not enough in the back, something similar to that. We're just working on taking some of that away maybe. I think we've got a better aero package for this week. We'll see how it works and keep going on from there. We're getting some cars ready to test. We're going to Texas in two weeks and get ready for these short track races. We've got a couple of real nice cars for the short tracks. We'll be in real good shape for the short tracks. We've just got to get through these mile and a half, two-mile tracks."
COMMENT ON TAKING CARS TO THE WIND TUNNEL AFTER ATLANTA RACE "I hope they don't take our car. We need 'em right now. We need to be working on these things. They'd probably learn a lot about where everybody's at. It's definitely not the same."
YOU FINISHED THIRD IN THIS RACE LAST YEAR. WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT IT? "My car was really good that race. We started out super loose the first half of the race and from there out we were the best car here. I hit the wall twice and bent the right-side fenders in. We ran third because of that, but we had a great shot at winning if I hadn't done that."
IS IT HARDER TO ADJUST THE CARS NOW? "It's definitely a lot harder to adjust them. The way ours have been, as a driver, I haven't been able to give good enough feedback to know what to do. If I tell them something and they go and change that, then you have another problem. When you're fighting an aero balance problem you can't fix it. If you're loose here and they fix that, then you might be loose over there. You can't fix the whole corner, and that's where we're at right now."
WHAT'S THE BEARD ALL ABOUT? "Last week I forgot my shaver so I let it go. I've been letting it go. It's not a three-day thing. It takes awhile. I'm going to have to shave Monday. I've got some things to do that I've got to get cleaned up for."
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger)
COMMENT ON RECENT NASCAR PENALTIES "Those guys are my friends. I don't understand why Harvick had something taken away if he did something in qualifying. I don't think that seems fair to do to somebody when they race legal. I think a good punishment for the 29 car would have been just make 'em start the race with a bad fuel neck and make 'em change it. They would have lost a few laps and never done it again. I don't really understand taking points away. The other two cars, there's some of them I don't think were stiff enough penalties and the others were too harsh. Everybody can do what they did, but everyone else tries to stay within the tolerances NASCAR gives them. For the most part, we all can. I guess some of them didn't."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT TAKING A WIN AWAY IF THE CAR DOESN'T PASS POST-RACE INSPECTION? "I think it all depends on the situation and how far the car is away from being legal. I don't know where those cars were at. I've heard they were just barely illegal and I've heard they weren't even close, so I think it depends on what the crime is before you can assess the punishment. If those cars were as far off as they say they were, I think that would be just fine. I think that's what you would need to do."
CAN YOU FEEL A CAR BEING TOO LOW IF YOU'RE DRIVING IT? "The 48 car, the roof height being low, really you lower the front of the car to get the roof low. We run our cars high because they drag. They travel so much. If our car was a half inch low it would drag. We wouldn't even be able to finish a race I don't think. You could definitely feel that, so I don't know how he was able to drive that unless their car was built to run a half inch low."
COMMENT ON RACING AT AMS "To me the racing has not been as good this year as what we've had the past couple of years. The cars don't drive very well. To be honest with you, they drive terrible. When you get on the track, I don't think you can pass as well as you did last year. Fontana and Vegas last year, the outside was really good. At Fontana (this year) there was no outside. At Vegas there was very little of it. I think this is the ultimate test on whether this is going to work or not. This is a racetrack you could run completely at the top or bottom every year we've been here. We had a meeting this week. We talked to Donnie (crew chief Wingo) and the engineers. We're going to approach this race a little differently with our setup. We're going to try something a little different. We're going to spend the first hour of practice this morning working on something a little different with our setup."
WHAT'S THE PROBLEM WITH THE NEW AERO PACKAGE? "The problem is you can't find any grip. I think everyone complains about being tight behind cars or aero tight. It's worse this year than ever because you don't have any grip now. I've been going back and forth from the Busch car to the Cup car, and the Busch cars are a lot more fun to drive. They have more grip and I think they're easier to pass in. You would have thought cutting the spoiler off would have made the cars looser. It has, but what it's created is we've tightened them up so much to where they drive in good but they're tight in the middle and it's worse. Some of these guys have caught on and their cars are running fairly well, but the cars seem very touchy. The 48 car was terrible until the first stop last week and then they got their car really good. It's a very fine line between good and bad right now."
WHAT'S YOUR OPINION OF THE NEW SCHEDULE "It makes for a very long Friday. I know Rusty and I were talking about this at California. You get here early on Friday and you're here all night long. I guess for the Cup guys who don't run the Busch race it's no big deal, but it takes a whole lot to get used to. When you get used to practice from 9-11 and 11-1 and then qualifying both cars, it makes it hard to get your car right. We've got two hours to do it in and then we've got all day Saturday to worry about it. I think it's probably better at a place like Martinsville or Bristol where the setup from qualifying is not very different. Tonight we're going to qualify, and these cars are always loose at Atlanta for qualifying. It's going to be interesting tonight to see how bad the cars bottom out and what you're going to have to do to make it drive decent in qualifying with a race setup in it."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT QUALIFYING AT NIGHT AND RACING IN THE DAY TIME? "The track will have more grip at night than it will in the afternoon. Qualifying at night is cool, and I always enjoy watching qualifying here. The cars always look good under the lights."
ARE YOU RUNNING THE BUSCH RACE NEXT WEEKEND AT NASHVILLE? "Yes, that was one of the races Top Flight chose to run. Rusty asked me if I would do it. I kinda wanted to have the weekend off, but I enjoy racing and it's hard to say no to Rusty. He just has a way of when he asks you something that it's hard to say no. Nashville is a fun track. I ran well there the first time and struggled the second. I've tested there a few times in our Cup car, so next weekend should be interesting."