KASEY KAHNE, No. 83 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Starting Position: 1st How was your qualifying lap? "We had a really good run. The Red Bull team did a nice job. The Toyota engine was good. We made some gains from practice.
How was your qualifying lap?
"We had a really good run. The Red Bull team did a nice job. The Toyota engine was good. We made some gains from practice. We were a little bit quicker there and hopefully we can do the same tomorrow and we'll be good for Sunday."
Are you surprised with your qualifying lap?
"We were pretty decent in practice. The Red Bull Toyota was good and the guys have done a really nice job this week. Everything felt good, it was just I was too free so we tightened up there and I was actually pretty good right there, but I felt like I got a touch tight. It was a great lap for us. That was really good."
What will you work on during Saturday's practice?
"Just keeping the car turning. The track will change a little bit Sunday, but we race during the day this year so it's going to be different than what we've had in the past. Just making sure you have grip, whether it's front grip or rear grip you need it here to go fast. You can definitely search at this track and find different spots on the track to go fast. It's a neat track so it's always nice to race at Homestead."
Are you looking forward to Sunday's race?
"I'm looking forward to it. That was the best qualifying run by far since I've been at Red Bull. It was a little bit free in practice. A little bit too loose -- we ended up seventh. They made the right changes and the team did a really good job to get the pole. It was nice. I look forward to Sunday's race. It's gonna be exciting being up front now, being in the mix with Denny (Hamlin), (Kevin) Harvick and Jimmie (Johnson) -- they're all gonna be fast throughout the race. I'm just glad we are so far. Hopefully, we can stick with it tomorrow and have a good practice and be competitive and in the mix on Sunday."
How does it feel to start the final race of the season with a pole?
"It feels good to be able to have a good weekend. Those guys came down and seemed like they had a lot of confidence and have really done a nice job since we started practice. We just went out and did the best job we could. We had a good qualifying run and hopefully we can do the same on Sunday. Get through Saturday and do the same on Sunday. It's a good group of guys. Everybody at Red Bull does a nice job. It's just a matter of doing it all the time, and hopefully we do that Sunday."
Have beneficial have these five races with Red Bull been?
"I think the five races have actually been really beneficial for myself. We've struggled at times. We've ran pretty decent lap times at times and the finishes haven't quite been as good as we would've liked, but we've finished the races and led a few laps. It's been good. I see what Red Bull's all about. I see how they do it and learning about their parts and pieces and race cars, and they have really good stuff, and they have good people. It's just a matter of a little bit of direction and some leadership and we're working on that. I think we get through just a little bit here and a little bit there and we can be a strong team next year, and a strong company. I think both cars can be really good. I'm looking forward it. We used a little bit of the 82's (Scott Speed) stuff today, which is the first time that either team has really mixed since I've been there and worked together. We used some of theirs today, and I really liked it. They're gonna look at what we did and probably start practice really similar tomorrow, and kind of be teammates. And that's good. I think it's been a good five weeks. We'll just go on and have a good day Sunday and have a great offseason."
How are your knees and what is the nature of your off-season surgery?
"The knees are fine. What happened is I was born with what I have, both knees, and the older I get, the more I stay active and run and play basketball and work out and things like that, it's inflamed it and it's just rubbing, I guess, a hole in my kneecaps. So, it's just rubbing against each other and getting to where it's no fun. When I get out of the car, a lot of times I limp around. When I walk around a lot -- if I go to Vegas and walk for a day, I can't walk the next day. It's just a pain, is all it is. It's not bad by no means. It's very simple surgery that we'll get out of the way and be ready to go by January 1. Hopefully, I'll go to the Chili Bowl and be good to go."
When are you going to have the surgery on your knees and do you know how long is the recovery period?
"Tuesday morning at 5:30 AM and they say, I think, 35 minutes per knee. Get them done, go home, lay on the couch most of the day. By Thursday I think I will be pretty good so I will be able to eat full on at Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to it. I think it will take maybe six weeks and then they will be like 100 percent or close to it."
What kind of comfort level will you have next year after being with Red Bull Racing Team for five races this year? "I think it does a lot for myself and for everybody at Red Bull. Everybody puts in a huge effort to try to win poles and win races each week. Toyota, TRD they did a really nice job with the engine. It ran great there. I think you feel good on the off-season with a pole. Hopefully, we can put together a great run on Sunday and carry that through the off-season too. I think we'll be in good shape next year. I look forward to the off-season and being able to work with the guys and being ready to go when Daytona comes."
What have you learned from this year's experiences that will help you in the future?
"I think there's a lot that you learn as each season goes on and this one has had a lot of downs it seems like. Some ups and a lot of downs. I'm actually really excited once the season gets over. Just to look at next year hopefully having a really not so stressful, unexpected changes and things like that throughout the season. I think this year has been difficult for a lot of reasons and we've gotten through it. We've been able to win some poles and some top-fives and top-10s. It will just be nice to be behind us and be able to go on to next year and think about racing again and focus on trying to make the Chase and winning races. Doing everything we want to do and not having to worry about a lot of other things going on around the company."
-source: toyota motorsports