KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- Pole winner "I wasn't sure if it could hold on. I thought I left just a little bit out there in turn three, but it held on and we're excited to win a pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This is...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- Pole winner
"I wasn't sure if it could hold on. I thought I left just a little bit out there in turn three, but it held on and we're excited to win a pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This is one of the tracks I look forward to qualifying and we look forward to the night qualifying on Friday nights. To try and beat Ryan Newnam, he's tough to beat here, but we barely got it done today. The whole Dodge Dealers team has been doing a great job, and we've got to keep it up. We're got some momentum right now and we have to have two smart practices tomorrow and get the car ready for Sunday."
COMMENT ON BILL LESTER
"I just found out about it this week. I listened to one of the radio stations, I think it was the Eli Gold show. I heard him and Jimmie Johnson talking about it, and it's exciting. I saw Bill right before he went out to qualify, and I wished him luck. I think he was the fastest car to make it without points. He did a great job. Hopefully he gets a lot more opportunities to be in these NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE MOST PEOPLE THOUGHT YOU'D BE LAST YEAR?
"We've had a good start to the season for sure. I think it seems like things can change so quick in this sport. Last year we had a tough year, and I learned a lot. I think people at Evernham Motorsports learned a lot, too. Things can change quick, but we're definitely on a high right now. We have momentum and things are going our way. We've got to capitalize while we do have this and hopefully keep it going all season, but this is the kind of thing that Ray Evernham was hoping he had when he hired me and Kenny Francis and the whole Dodge Dealers team. It's working out for us, and Jeremy is happy with the team he has with those guys. Scott Riggs is doing a great job making it into these races right now."
ADDITIONAL COMMENT ON THE START THIS SEASON
"I had my fingers crossed throughout the whole Daytona 500. That's a race I've struggled to finish in in the past. We ended up 11th, and just about ended up in the top 10. I think we could have been in the top 10 with another couple of laps. We've been working hard since. We learned a lot in the off season, and these guys have been doing a good job with the car every week."
DID YOU THINK ABOUT HOW YOU COULD IMPROVE AS A DRIVER OVER THE WINTER?
"One thing I did was watched Tony Stewart through the week and watched some of the things he does from the time he makes his first lap in practice until he's done racing that weekend. You can watch the guys who run up front every single week, and you can learn a lot from those guys. I looked at some of the things I did last year and learned from those mistakes also. We struggled last year at times and felt like we just weren't getting the job done. You look back and I think sometimes that stuff helps. You don't want to do it all the time, but it's such an up and down sport. I think I learned a lot from it, and I know the team has. Talking with Ray and Kenny Francis, I think I'm more prepared and ready for the season to get underway."
COMMENTS IMMEDIATELY AFTER QUALIFYING LAP
"There's some left out there, and I think guys like Ryan Newman will find it. He always qualifies so well here. That's a great lap for our Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger. I think a couple of guys can beat it. Hopefully we'll end up in the top five. So far it's been great. Atlanta is one of my favorite racetracks and it always has been. The Busch practice was great today. We've got a great opportunity to do well in both cars this weekend. I left some in three and four. I was a little too tight, and I didn't get down to the white line quite as fast as I'd like to. I knew some guys would be shooting for us. We got lucky."