KASEY KAHNE (No. 19 Budweiser Dodge Charger) WHAT IS YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF THIS PLACE (INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY)? "Definitely watching the Indy 500 and the Brickyard (400) on TV growing up. One of my memories is coming here with my dad. We...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 19 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
WHAT IS YOUR FIRST MEMORY OF THIS PLACE (INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY)? "Definitely watching the Indy 500 and the Brickyard (400) on TV growing up. One of my memories is coming here with my dad. We went through the museum and then we got on the bus and they took us around the track. It was probably 1998, '99. I was racing dirt cars. That was a cool memory, to go around the actual race track for the first time. The Indy 500, I think I've watched every Indy 500 since I've been alive. Those weekends are really fun and exciting. The whole month of May growing up, I'd race home. I had an hour bus ride and as soon as I'd get off the bus, I would run down the driveway and make it in time for (watch) RPM Tonight or whatever it was. During the whole month of May, you could catch up on everything that happened throughout the day. I've always been a huge fan (of IMS).
YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT GOING BACK TO POCONO THE SECOND TIME? "That track changes a good bit in six weeks and the teams get better, the cars get better, the engines. We ran strong there. I think we were a top-five car, somewhere in there, but had to pit for gas. I look forward to it (going back). It's a good track for us. Hopefully, we can learn some things here that we can apply there and be ready for Pocono.
YOU ARE A DRIVER THAT APPRECIATES THE HISTORY OF THIS TRACK (IMS). WHY? "Definitely, the history here is like nothing else. We've come close (to a win). We've run second and I think third or fourth and run in the top 10. It's a track that we've run well at. We just have to figure out how to finish it off and win. I come here and try to figure out what didn't work or what held me back the year before. Why didn't I run better? What were the issues? (We will) Look at that stuff and try to make that better on Saturday in practice. Hopefully, it works."
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO GO BY AFTER THE TIRE ISSUE AT LAST YEAR'S RACE? "You definitely have things to go by. The first five years I've raced here, I've learned a lot of things. The line you learn right away. You can change it (the line) where the bumps are and how you need your car to handle to be fast in the race. That's the biggest thing. You can go out and run a fast lap or whatever it may be, but how do you get it to do that in the race? It's definitely different to find that balance."
GIVEN THE WIN AT SONOMA, ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING TO WATKINS GLEN THIS YEAR? "I'm definitely looking forward to it. I've always been a fan of road courses. I love that type of racing, but I didn't have any results to show that I was a fan of road racing other than qualifying good. I learned a lot at Sonoma. We had an awesome car. We did things in practice that we haven't done in the past and it worked. I look forward to it (Watkins Glen). It should be a good race for us."
YOU'VE RUN WELL HERE AT IMS. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE TRACK THAT GOES WELL WITH YOUR STYLE? "I think momentum, carrying momentum and figuring out how to get through each of the corners. All four corners are a little bit different. You have to figure out how to carry that momentum because it's all about the speed on the straightaways. You can get passed so easily. We've done a pretty good job at it. We haven't won, so we haven't done a great job. We've done a pretty good job, so if we can keep building on that, hopefully we'll have a pretty good car on Sunday.
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO HAVE A WIN HERE ON SUNDAY? "It would mean a lot. This is a huge race, a race that I look forward to. It's like no other race throughout the season. It's exciting for me. The Allstate 400 would be a special one to win. We've come close. We've had great cars here. We just need to put it all together on Sunday."
WHAT HAS THE NEW DODGE R6 ENGINE DONE FOR THE TEAM? "I think the engine runs a little better at low RPM. It gets to high RPM quicker which is something that we've struggled with. Here on the short corners and getting down the long straightaways, hopefully it helps a little bit. It's a plus. The guys are doing a good job. We're getting better cars and better engines. You have to keep stepping up if you want to run with Jimmy Johnson and Tony Stewart and those guys. If we keep getting better and preparing our stuff like we have been, then hopefully we'll have a good shot each week."
DO YOU COMPARE YOUR TEAM TO JIMMY JOHNSON, TONY STEWART AND THOSE GUYS OR HOW YOU WERE RUNNING LAST MONTH? "I compare to the best. I compare to those guys that are up front every weekend, throw Kyle (Busch) in there. Those guys are up front every weekend. We need to compare to them and get to where they are at. That what our goals are and how our team has been working since April and May. It's all about how do we run with those guys; what do we need to do to get better. Working with Kenny Francis (crew chief) is a huge part of that. He has a lot of great ideas. Our cars are handling as good as any car out there right now. I just hope we can keep that up through the next six or seven races and in the Chase.
-credit: dodge motorsports