KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) WHAT DID IT MEAN TO YOU TO WIN THIS RACE LAST YEAR? "It means a lot to win this race. It's such a tough race to win. It's so long and the track changes so much that you need a lot of things to go...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
WHAT DID IT MEAN TO YOU TO WIN THIS RACE LAST YEAR? "It means a lot to win this race. It's such a tough race to win. It's so long and the track changes so much that you need a lot of things to go your way (to win) and we had that last year. We had a great Budweiser Dodge (last year) and we caught a lot of breaks late in the race which helped us. We have the 49th (race anniversary) trophy, but the 50th would better. (The trophy) has all the winners on it; it's just a real cool trophy.
"I think that we have a shot (at winning the race). We just need to get our car right on Saturday and this weekend. If we can do that, I think that we'll have another chance at winning the 600."
DO YOU PREPARE ANY DIFFERENTLY FOR THIS RACE BECAUSE IT'S 600 MILES LONG? "I prepare the same as I do for some of the other races. (The race) is a little bit longer; we still run 500 miles and it's a fairly long race. It goes by pretty quick in the car. I enjoy the long races once in a while."
HOW MUCH CONFIDENCE WERE YOU ABLE GAIN FROM WINNING BOTH THE ALL-STAR AND COCA-COLA 600 BACK-TO-BACK LAST YEAR? "I gained a lot of confidence. Tony Stewart's going to be tough this weekend, so for the (Coca-Cola) 600 he's going to be the car to beat. We've run well here for a long time, so I think that we have a good shot at running up front. It's all about making the right adjustments (at the right time). Qualifying today will be great. To win a pole would give us good momentum and confidence heading into Sunday."
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR CHANCES ARE TO REPEAT ON SUNDAY? "We were close at the all-star race. We weren't as good as we wanted to be, but definitely close. We weren't as far off - we were running 14th and I think that we were better than that. We had a Chicago tire test on Monday and had a really busy week. If we do the right things we'll have a shot at winning on Sunday and (for the pole) tonight."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW WELL TONY STEWART'S TEAM HAS DONE SO FAR THIS YEAR? "I think that it's awesome of what he's done so far (this year). I think that it's awesome for what he's done for his company. Being able to bring Ryan (Newman) over and some great sponsors, they have some really great names on their race cars. Not too many people could do what he's done. I think it's pretty awesome, and I think a lot of people enjoy working for Tony. He wants to win. He's a great guy. I think that's part of it too; he's got the sponsors, drivers, people and everyone enjoys it right now. By him winning last week, he's the guy to beat this week."
JEFF GORDON HAD SOME TREATMENTS ON HIS AILING BACK. WHAT'S IT LIKE TO DRIVE 500, 600 MILES WITH AN INJURY? "It's difficult. There are certain injuries that aren't a big deal. I've been pretty bruised up over the years. My first couple of years at Sonoma, the crew guys actually had to lift me out of the car because I couldn't get out myself. It took 20 minutes for me to finally get out of the car - to get my body straight so that I could stand up. I couldn't even hardly ace race. I finished the race, but we were in the back."
BECAUSE THIS RACE IS 600 MILES LONG, IS THIS RACE MORE CHALLEGING MENTALLY OR PHYSICALLY? "I would say mentally. I think physically it's a long race and you get dehydrated and worn down by the end (of the race). As far as physically demanding, we run a lot of 500 mile races so it's not that much different. Mentally, just being in the car that long and going through all the changes that you do throughout the night in the 600 - it's going to start out hot and sunny - the track will get a lot cooler - just a lot of things happen."
IS IT TOUGH TO BE PATIENT FOR 600 MILES HERE? "No. You have to be patient. You have to race the race track. You have to be aware of where you're at (during the race)."
-credit: dodge motorsports