KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser/LifeLock Dodge Charger) HOW DIFFERENT IS THIS PLACE THAN THE PLACES YOU NORMALLY GO TO AND WHERE ARE THE DIFFERENCES? "All four corners are different. To me, it's a great place to drive because it's real technical...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser/LifeLock Dodge Charger)
HOW DIFFERENT IS THIS PLACE THAN THE PLACES YOU NORMALLY GO TO AND WHERE ARE THE DIFFERENCES? "All four corners are different. To me, it's a great place to drive because it's real technical and each corner you have to work differently with your feet, with the brake and throttle. I've always enjoyed racing here. I enjoy the differences of each corner and trying to make the car do what you want it to do in each corner. You can't give anything up off of (turns) two or four or you will go slow for a long way down the straightaways. That's a big part of it, getting down both straightaways.
HOW IMPORTANT IS TRACK POSITION? "Track position is huge here. I think it's big at a lot of the tracks any more, but it will be big here. In 2004, the track opened up and we could run on the outside. There were two lanes. I did a lot of passing on the outside and since then, I've been able to do it. Maybe, this year it will be different. Watching the Indy 500, you had to stay on the bottom. Our cars handle so much different, the outside might come it and make for a pretty good race."
CAN YOU (SPRINT CUP DRIVER) LEARN SOMETHING FROM WATCHING THE INDY 500? "You can learn a lot about a race track by watching other cars, regardless what kind of cars they are. Watching how they pass, things like that."
WHAT ARE YOUR EARLIEST MEMORIES OF THIS RACE? "The first Brickyard, I was just starting to race mini-sprints and things in Washington. The race (Brickyard 400) was on Saturday then. We would be racing on Saturday night. There's a three-hour time change, so I could watch the race and leave to go racing. I've always watched the Brickyard. It's a neat race and a race that I kept my eye on.
DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT HAS GROWN FROM ITS EARLY DAYS? "I can't really tell. I watched it on TV and it looked pretty big then and I think it's still pretty big."
YOU WON POCONO EARLIER THIS YEAR. THERE HAVE BEEN DRIVERS THAT HAVE WON POCONO AND INDY IN THE SAME YEAR. A LOT OF PEOPLE COMPARE THE TWO TRACKS. DO YOU FEEL PRETTY GOOD ABOUT YOUR CHANCES HERE? "There are definitely spots on the track that are similar. That will help us because we were so strong at Pocono. I felt we've always been decent at Pocono and a lot better at Indy. We were awesome at Pocono. I feel like we should be good this whole weekend. We have a brand new car, a new design for Gillett Evernham. It's a great car. We just have to get it right (handling)."
THIS IS A RACE MOST DRIVERS WANT TO WIN. DO YOU TAKE MORE CHANCES OR DO YOU PLAY IT SAFE BECAUSE OF THE CHASE? "I think you definitely play it safe. This track is real sensitive to where the lines are. If you take too many chances, you can get off line and kill your speed or get sideways or spin out. You have to take chances, but at the same time, you can't get off line. So you have to make sure you get the pass done before you are at that next spot in the corner where you have to be back on your line."
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO RUN UP FRONT ON SUNDAY? "You need a good engine and good balance. You have to be good in traffic. It's easy to get caught up off the corner, off two or four, and get passed by two or three cars down the straightaway that really aren't faster than you. The biggest thing is to be the best car behind other race cars. I think everybody is going to have a little bit of a problem passing, but if you can be the best of those, you will have the best shot at winning."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT RANDY MOSS GETTING INTO THE NASCAR TRUCK SERIES? "I'm a Randy Moss fan, but I would have never expected him to be in NASCAR or the truck series. It's fine. I think it's cool that you get someone like Randy Moss who is awesome at what he does. He is one of the best receivers, so it's pretty neat that he's involved."
HAVE YOU AND KENNY FRANCIS (TEAM DIRECTOR) TALKED ABOUT RACE STRATEGY? "We have to figure out what the tires do first, what they feel like on the car and what the characteristics of two tires and no tries will be. We have a lot of practice, so we'll go over that stuff today and tomorrow. If you can get away with taking two or zero tires, that's track position and that could be really big at this race track."
TONY STEWART REVEALED MORE OF HIS PROGRAM TODAY. AT WHAT POINT WILL YOU KNOW IF THAT'S A CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDING PROGRAM? "To be a championship team next year, I would think that's out of the question. I know how easy it is to get behind. Going with a team that hasn't really done anything in our sport, it's going to take time to get the right people and cars where he wants them. But once they get there, they're going to be fast. To get all those people, and I'm not talking about two people; I'm talking about a lot of people. That's what you need. That's what Joe Gibbs has. That's what Hendrick has. That's what Gillett Evernham is getting. Once they get that, they will be a great team."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR TEAM IS PICKING UP MOMENTUM? "We've missed it a couple times in the last few races as far as the finish, but we've had good points in all those races. The next seven races are tracks that I've run well at in the past and look forward to going back to them again. If things go smooth and we don't have the wrecks and things that can happen in the sport, we should have a shot at making that top 12.
DID YOUR TEAM GET BEHIND THE CURVE A LITTLE BIT? "Last year, we got behind with both race cars and it's taken some time to get back to where we needed to be. This year we started off pretty strong and as the season has progressed, we've made some big improvements. It takes time. When you are behind, and we were behind last year, it takes time to get back to where you need to be and I feel like we're getting closer and closer every month."
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING BACK TO POCONO? "We saved the same car. The car was brand new for the first Pocono race. It's been waiting to go back. It will be the second race on it. As fast as it was in qualifying and the race, I think it should be strong, a car that can run in the top 10 if we make the right adjustments. I don't see why we can't have a shot at maybe another win. As good as it was the first race, if we do the right things, we should have another shot."
- credit: dodge motorsports