Daytona II: Kahne - Thursday media visit

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE THE RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACES FIGURED OUT? "Yeah, I think that I run in the draft really well now. The experience you get when you race at these tracks, whether its Nationwide...

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE THE RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACES FIGURED OUT? "Yeah, I think that I run in the draft really well now. The experience you get when you race at these tracks, whether its Nationwide or the Cup Series, every race you get better and you learn more things about it. I think we're a good team when it comes down to these tracks. It has a lot to do with your engine and things these days. The Bud Shootout, we were really strong, and the (Daytona) 500, we weren't as good, but my teammates were really good. So, I think that we've learned some things from our Shootout car and (my teammates') 500 cars. I have a new car here. Hopefully, it runs well. We'll know this weekend. This has always been a fun race to be at. I love racing Daytona and hopefully we can run well at both races this weekend (Kahne is also entered in the Nationwide Series race). It will be exciting."

WILL YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS BEING ON THE TRACK RACING AGAINST JEREMY MAYFIELD? WHAT DO YOU THINK THE DRIVER REACTION WILL BE? "I like NASCAR's drug policy. I like what they've done there. I've been tested a few times this year and early in the year, I would go and get tested and it was kind of in and out. I got tested at Sonoma and it's a process now. Every little step you have to sign your name or initial... work with the person that is taken the sample. To me, that's because of the whole (Jeremy) Mayfield incident and just clarifying everything and making sure that everything is...the driver and the person taking the sample are on the same page. I'm totally behind NASCAR. So if he's on the track, you have to race with him."


CAN YOU BE MORE SPECIFIC ON WHAT HAS CHANGED? "When I went (for a drug test) at the start of the year, it was go in, take your sample, sign your name and basically walk out. You watch them pour your 'A' and 'B' sample into the different capsules, you sign your name and leave. It was a five, 10 minute process. Now it's...every step... you have to initial every step through the whole process. It takes about 40 minutes it seemed at Sonoma. I think that is just a process now that they've (NASCAR) put into it. There's more into the process so that there's no way around it. I haven't really paid too much attention to it."

HOW DO YOU THINK THE OTHER NASCAR DRIVERS FEEL? "I would say that they are the same as me. Everybody out here wants to race and they want to race hard and race with people that are in the same state of mind that you're in. If people are into other things, they should go do those things by themselves and not be on a race track going 200 mph with other racers."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE IN THE DAYTONA 500 AND COKE ZERO 400? "You feel a lot more heat at this race. The Nationwide race tomorrow night is always a hot race. The heat here is good. The cars and how they handle when this track is hot is tough to get a hold of. When you're watching on TV, you're thinking, 'Man, they're running wide open, bump drafting three-and-four wide and that's all it is.' This place is a huge handling race track. You're out of the gas a lot and when you can get your car in the July race to handle really well, you can perform even with something not as fast. If you're handling through the corners really well, you have a really good shot at running well."

HAVE YOU NOTICED ANY CUT BACKS AT RPM DUE TO THE BANKRUPTACY SITUATION WITH DODGE? "The teams, the company have had to pull back some. Richard Petty Motorsports has had to also. Dodge has been a big part of what we've done since I've been around in 2004. They still want to be here. They still are doing what they can, but they've had to cut back. We've had to find ways to save money...use money here, that kind of thing. They're doing the best job that they can. The team morale can get down when you have those types of situations. For us to win at Sonoma was huge; It got everybody excited. The shop atmosphere was a lot better and we had fun. We went out at night and had about 230 people up at the Mooresville bowling alley and bowled all night and enjoyed it."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Richard Petty
Teams Richard Petty Motorsports