Dodge Motorsports Teleconference Tuesday, Aug. 24,2004. KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) NOTE: Kahne finished fifth Sunday at Michigan and moved up to 10th in the series standings. He's the third different Dodge driver to...
Dodge Motorsports Teleconference
Tuesday, Aug. 24,2004.
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge)
NOTE: Kahne finished fifth Sunday at Michigan and moved up to 10th in the series standings. He's the third different Dodge driver to occupy 10th place in the past three weeks. He's six points ahead of Evernham Motorsports teammate Jeremy Mayfield in 11th place, and he's seven points behind ninth-place Bobby Labonte. He trails sixth-place Kurt Busch by only 117 points entering Saturday night's shootout under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway.
COMMENT ON RUNNING AT BRISTOL
"You obviously have to have a good car and work hard in practice to get it ready for the race. If you have a good car you have a lot better shot at not getting into the wrecks and getting pushed around as much. Hopefully we'll have a good car. You've just got to be smart about it. If someone is working on you real hard, sometimes you just need to let 'em go rather than spinning around."
WAS THERE AN EMOTIONAL LIFT AFTER BREAKING INTO THE TOP 10 AFTER MICHIGAN RACE?
"Not really, I mean there was a little bit, but I was really just happy to get through that race and finish in the top five. It was a long weekend for everybody and it was good to get out of there with a good top-five finish. To know we're in the top 10 now is really good. We've been working on it for the last few months and we're finally up there, so we've got to find a way to stay up there."
IS THERE MORE PRESSURE GETTING IN OR STAYING THERE?
"I don't know yet. I start feeling it more toward the end of the week, and I know last week I felt a lot of pressure, so I think getting in was a pretty big deal and now staying in will probably be about the same."
WITH PRESSURE OF BEING IN TOP 10, DO OTHER RACES COME BACK TO HAUNT YOU?
"I'm not sure how many we lost there (Dover) and then a week or two after that, two races I wish we could... if that hadn't happened we'd have another 150 to 200 points on our side. That's part of it. That's just part of racing, the ups and downs, and you really can't control that stuff. I don't really think back at any of that. I think back on it every once in awhile and think I wish we could have won a race, but when it comes to points that's just the way it turned out and that's why we're where we're at right now."
DO THE FOUR RUNNER-UP FINISHES BOTHER YOU?
"Right now it doesn't. That's where we finished, and at the time they were great finishes and still are great finishes. That's what we got. I don't look at it as we'd be better in points now if we could have won those races. We could have won, we didn't and that's just the way it was."
COMMENT ON FIRST CUP RACE AT BRISTOL
"I was actually having a lot of fun. We had a great racecar, and I'm looking forward to going back this weekend. We built a brand new car for there, and I look forward to it. Driving a Cup car there was a lot of fun, and it handled better than my Busch car ever handled."
COMMENT ON CALIFORNIA SHARK TAILS PAINT SCHEME
"We're doing it for four races. I think Ward Burton is doing it for one race. I haven't seen the movie yet. I've seen some of the previews. It's more of a Trek II movie. It's pretty cool. It looks like a good movie, and it's something different for our Great Clips car. It makes it fun."
WHY DO YOU THINK THERE IS SUCH A BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ADVERTISING IN BASEBALL AND RACING?
"I really don't know. Racing is a great place to advertise and fans are very loyal to what's on your car and what sponsor you have. Why it's not big in baseball, it's just a different thing I guess."
WHERE WOULD YOU BUILD A RACE TRACK IN WASHINGTON?
"I'd probably build it north of Everett. I think that's a great area. There's lot of flat land up there. It seems like that would be a good place to have one up that way."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON A NASCAR TRACK IN PACIFIC NORTHWEST?
"I think it would be great. I know when I came home a couple of months ago fans were really into NASCAR and really into racing. I think it'd be great for the Pacific Northwest and everything around there -- Canada, Idaho, California would bring in lots of fans. I think it would be a great deal."
WHAT'S LIFE LIKE ON THE BUBBLE?
"We're getting right down to getting in the top 10 and then we'll start right into the top 10 or if we're going for 11th. It's going to be like that the rest of the year. It's going to be fun, but it's definitely going to be a lot riding on every race. The teams really need to be focused and the drivers and everybody. There's going to be a lot riding on it, but it's going to be a lot of fun."
DO YOU DESERVE TO BE IN THE TOP 10?
"Right now we're back in the top 10, and I think we deserve to be there. If we can't stay there, then we no, we don't deserve to be there. I definitely think we deserve to be there right now. We're going to do all we can to finish ninth, eighth, maybe even as good as that. We'll just have to see what happens and where the points take us."
COMMENT ON LAST RACE AT BRISTOL
"I haven't had any problems since then with anything like that. It's all forgotten. We'll go in there and have a good race and stay out of trouble and stay away from running into everybody else, too."
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THE FRUSTRATING FINISHES THIS SEASON?
"I've learned how hard it is to win one of these races and how hard it is to run up front every week, trying to learn a way to win a race. It's putting the entire race together and then that final pit stop and go in the right direction there, putting those last 30 laps together. It's not easy at all to win these races. It takes a lot of things to go right and to go your way."
ARE YOU DOING ANYTHING DIFFERENT NOW ON THE TRACK?
"I'd say there is. I'd say I learned a lot this season. Really, when we had that week off, I sat back and thought about a lot of things and things I needed to do to get in the top 10. I've been able to finish every race since then. It's been going good. We've just got to keep doing the right things."
YOU WERE ON THE POLE AT FONTANA IN APRIL. DOES THAT GIVE YOU AN ADVANTAGE GOING BACK?
"I think we were really good out there. We were on the pole and led for awhile. We were going to run top four and ran out of fuel there at the end and ran 13th. We're going back there and it should be a track where we run good. The car we're bringing back is he car we ran at Michigan this weekend and had no problems at all. We look forward to getting that car ready and taking it back there."
COMMENT ON FINAL THREE RACES TO MAKE THE CUT FOR THE FINAL 10
"I think we've got to finish all three of these races and finish them up toward the front. At Richmond and Bristol anything could happen at those tracks, California, too. I think it's going to come down to Richmond to see who those top 10 are and just what will happen I don't know. It's going to be pretty exciting."
WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON BATTLING YOUR TEAMMATE FOR A SPOT IN THE FINAL 10?
"I'd say first off we both have very strong teams right now. We've been gaining on these guys, so if we keep it up hopefully we'll both get in there and get Evernham Motorsports in the top 10 with both cars. Other than that, we're going to race each other just like we've raced each other all year long and help each other when we can, pushing by another car and just do whatever we can. I'll do whatever to help him and he'll do whatever to help me throughout the rest of the year. When it comes down to it, we'll race each other hard. We're not going to run into each other or anything like that, for sure."
HOW GOOD DID IT FEEL TO REBOUND FROM A SPIN AND HAVE A GOOD SHOWING AT MICHIGAN?
"Going down the backstretch and going back to pit, I was pretty happy I didn't get hit by anybody else or get into the wall for sure. That could have been a terrible day if I'd hit the wall then."
DO YOU RELY ON YOUR TEAMMATE MORE AT A TRACK LIKE BRISTOL?
"Everybody is talking about how rough this racetrack is with other cars and people running into each other. I'm real excited for this weekend. I like this kind of racing and look forward to it. It's going to be tight and an extremely good race. I look forward to it. It should be a lot of fun. Hopefully I can stay out of any problems and get a good finish."
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR BEST MEMORY WILL BE THIS YEAR?
"Hopefully it hasn't happened yet. So far this year, my first pole was really neat. A couple of the second-place finishes were really good, but I don't know. I hope the best memory we have will come later this season because a lot of things can happen that would be better than things that have already happened this year."
HOW'S TOMMY BALDWIN Jr. DOING NOW?
"We went up last night to the wake of Tommy Sr. A ton of people were there. It was really neat how many people were there. Tommy was doing good. He did good all through the weekend. It was like working with him any other weekend. He did a lot for our team. Our team all pulled together and had a great weekend. He's up there with his family right now, and he'll have three days that will probably be pretty hard on him. When it's all over with he'll be back ready to race come Friday. It amazes me for sure. I'd have a hard time with any of that stuff. He's done a great job. I really don't know how he's done so good on a lot of the things. He's a really strong person. His son was with him all week, and I think that really helped, too, to have his son with him. They were hanging out laughing and doing stuff together. I think he's just a strong person, and I guess he got all that from his dad."
DO YOU THINK CUP DRIVERS WILL BACK OFF ON THE BUSCH SERIES NEXT SEASON?
"By the sounds of it, they might back off of it a little bit. They're still going to be really good odds for a lot of races that the Cup drivers will come over and race. I know I will do 15-20 next year and do a lot of the tracks where we race together. It's good to get those extra laps in. I know I'm not going to run full time. I'll definitely run some races for Great Clips and Akins Motorsports, but how many I don't know yet and who's going to drive the other races we're not sure of, either."
Dodge teleconference - Chad Chaffin