Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion, moved up 10 spots in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings last week after a ninth-place run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kahne, who moved from 33rd to 23rd, spoke to the media...
Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion, moved up 10 spots in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings last week after a ninth-place run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kahne, who moved from 33rd to 23rd, spoke to the media outside his team hauler before practice on Friday.
DO YOU FEEL BETTER THAN YOU DID THIS TIME LAST WEEK? "Yeah, I feel pretty good. I really feel pretty similar, other than we finished the race. The car felt really similar last week to what it did at California after we worked on it the first 100 laps. We got it feeling pretty balanced and had some things that I've been talking with Kenny and Keith about throughout the week to keep trying to work on and make better, but we've had five cars that could have run in the top 10 so far this year, so it's good."
IT MUST HAVE BEEN NICE TO SEE THAT +10 NEXT TO YOUR NAME AS FAR AS POSITIONS YOU GAINED IN THE STANDINGS. "Yeah, you don't like being in the thirties, so it helps out to make some gains. Hopefully, we can do it again this week and add another solid finish and make some more gains."
DID YOU GET ANY REACTION FROM ROUSH FENWAY WHEN YOU SAID LAST WEEK, 'WE KNOW IT'S GONNA GET BETTER BUT RIGHT NOW WE'RE NOT BETTER OFF AS A TEAM AS WE WERE A YEAR AGO?' "I said we had a better engine than we did a year ago, so that would mean we were better off than we were a year ago. I said as far as the cars go they're not any better. The handling isn't any better than what we had the year before, but the engine is better so we're in a better situation and we're in a better spot. We'll just keep working on it. We have a lot of great people who keep working on it and we're gonna be better than we've ever been. Nobody said a word to me. I think they understand what I was saying."
WERE YOU WATCHING BRAD SWEET UP THERE? "Yeah, I was watching him and he was actually running really good. They changed that team around a little bit with Trip Bruce and Trip has some of his guys working on it, and he looked really good. I was happy to see that."
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO SEE ONE OF YOUR GUYS OUT THERE WHEN THEY'RE NOT IN YOUR EQUIPMENT? "It's kind of exciting for me. I always try to watch him when they're in our equipment also, and it's fun to watch and kind of fun to watch him progress. He's a talented kid, so it's kind of neat to see him out there and just see what he thinks of Atlanta and what he thinks of a truck. It's a pretty crazy track, so it's cool."
YOU SAID ATLANTA IS LIKE A DIRT TRACK. CAN YOU ELABORATE ON THAT? "For some reason, the first time I was here making laps I just really felt like I was at Eldora as far as any track that I had ever been to and the way things compared there with the wall -- you can run from the bottom to the top and you're not sideways here like you are there, but you definitely feel like you're out of the race track like you are there, and I've always kind of thought of it as similar to Eldora."
IS THERE A SPECIFIC STYLE OF DRIVER THAT THE SPLITTER HELPS? "I don't know. It seems like it could definitely help and hurt different styles of driving. I felt like it took me a little while to figure out what I was looking for with it. It makes them really precise. I think with the old valance you could be an eighth of an inch off in either direction and not really feel it, but with these if you're an eighth of an inch off, I think you can definitely feel it -- maybe even less than that. You can feel it pretty easily, so I feel like the splitter is a much more precise front-end to our Ford Fusion than it used to be."
WHAT ABOUT THE WING AND THE SPOILER? "I haven't got to mess that yet. I'm looking forward to messing with it shortly, but I think a stock car should have a spoiler on it, so I think it'll be good. It will be back to how stock cars are."
HOW MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE IN THE RACING ARE WE GOING TO SEE? "From what I've heard and just picked up on from talking to Biffle and talking to some of the engineers with what they see in it, I feel like you might see better racing in the corners -- through the center of the corner -- because you're gonna have a little bit more grip. That may also not be true. I haven't driven it, so I won't really know until I drive it, but just listening it may create a little bit better side-by-side racing."
WILL WE SEE SOME TEAMS RISE AND FALL A BIT WHEN THIS CHANGE HAPPENS? "I think it'll definitely change things. I think the teams that are working on it right now and preparing for the spoiler will definitely be in better shape. Not nearly as big as when we had the COT. We didn't hardly work on it until it was time to race it, and other teams did and they started off a lot better than we did. That was just the way our company went about it. It's not going to be anything that drastic, but I think it will do something. I think there could be a few spots in either direction if you're working on it or if you're not."
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ATLANTA MEMORY AS A FAN AND AS A COMPETITOR? "Carl and Jimmie, their finish here was pretty awesome in 2005, but my first win in '06 here was my favorite memory as far as what we've done and how well we've raced here. Harvick winning here in the 29 in the white car, that was a big day here. I think there have been a lot of really close finishes here, a lot of great finishes and great races."
-source: ford racing