KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) RECAP YOUR PERFOMRANCE AT DAYTONA AND YOU'RE THOUGHTS ABOUT RUNNING HERE AT AUTO CLUB "I'm looking forward to being out here; to see where we stand with the testing we did over the off season and late...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
RECAP YOUR PERFOMRANCE AT DAYTONA AND YOU'RE THOUGHTS ABOUT RUNNING HERE AT AUTO CLUB "I'm looking forward to being out here; to see where we stand with the testing we did over the off season and late last season. I think we made some gains, so definitely looking forward to practice today and tomorrow and the race on Sunday. As a company, I think we did really well at Daytona. All our drivers and teams worked well together. Reed (Sorenson) and Elliott (Sadler) helping AJ (Allmendinger) as teammates, everybody did an awesome job. That was good. All three had great finishes. My car, we didn't run as well in the 500. We had a great Bud Shootout car, but in the 500 we were kind of slow as well as in the 150. We need to work on that car, do something different for the July race and definitely have a better piece when we go back. It was a good way to start the season for those guys. Daytona doesn't mean a whole lot other than maybe some confidence or momentum once you get to a track like this or a majority of our schedule. It's kind of like race one this weekend and I'm looking forward to getting started."
A LOT HAS BEEN WRITTEN THIS WEEK ABOUT RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS; IS THERE A SENSE OF THINGS BEING DIFFERENT WITH RICHARD THERE? "I've been there since 04. I talked to him this morning. He's just a cool guy that's done a ton in this sport. He's a good guy to have on your side. From my side and I think everybody that sees him at the shop walking around, he's an icon. Now that he hangs out there and is part of our teams, it's exciting and fun. It gives everybody a good attitude. Reed is new here and doesn't know what it was like before, but I would say as far as competition and things go, it is similar. They've had their ideas and have been working on them to perfect them. Now with Richard there, it's good and will benefit us throughout this whole year and in the future."
HOW CHALLENGING IS IT AT THIS TIME NOT TO HAVE SOMETHING FULL TIME (SUCH AS AJ WITH SPONSORSHIP FOR ONLY EIGHT RACES)? "He definitely needs to run well. He needs to impress and try to get sponsorship. That's what they're racing for this year. The money (new sponsorship) they can get, they'll run more races. That's how it's structured as far as I've seen. For him, he needs to show up and do his best every time. The way I look at it, that's the same way I would race any day. I think things might change a little bit being at different positions. AJ has had a full-time deal for the last couple of years and this year he doesn't. It's not like he's new to the sport. He's definitely figured it out. I think he's a great driver and will be a big benefit to our team and great to have around. They just need to perform. That's really how it is."
YOU REFERRED TO SPEAKING WITH 'THE KING' (RICHARD PETTY); HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT? "You see 'The King' all day. Whether he's a part of your team or not, the guy walks. He's always around. I'll run into him five times today and he won't be looking for me once. I ran into him when I got here this morning. We just crossed paths walking and we sat there and talked for about 10 minutes. Usually, when I run into him, it's because we're walking the same path at the same time. He's on the run always."
HOW MUCH ARE YOU LOOKIING FORWARD TO GETTING TO VEGAS, ATLANTA...SEEING HOW YOUR MILE-AND-HALF PROGRAM IS? "This isn't a mile-and-half track, but it's similar. Usually, if you can run well on the mile-and-half tracks, you can run good at Michigan and California. At least, that's how we've been in the past. Being here, going to Vegas next week and Atlanta the following week are three tracks that I've always done well at and our team has done well at. I think we'll know how close we are after this weekend. We'll know if we need to work hard on new things or if we just need to keep working hard on what we've got. I feel like we did a lot with our latest car at the end of last year. We made some changes. The guys did an awesome job. It drove so much better than what we had earlier in the year other than a couple of small items that we made changes to. During the off season, we did some testing at Rockingham that I think benefited us too. I think we're on to some things and it starts out good these next three races."
-credit: dodge motorsports