RED BULL RACING TEAM JAY FRYE & KASEY KAHNE TELECONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT August 10, 2010 Kasey, tell us how this opportunity came about. How much of it did you have a say or did Rick (Hendrick) tell you this is what you are going to do? Kasey ...
RED BULL RACING TEAM
JAY FRYE & KASEY KAHNE
August 10, 2010
Kasey, tell us how this opportunity came about. How much of it did you have a say or did Rick (Hendrick) tell you this is what you are going to do?
Kasey Kahne: "I am looking forward to working with Red Bull and all the guys there. From the start Rick told me that we were going to work together and figure out what team we were going to go with next year. When he came up with the whole Red Bull deal, working with Jay on that, I actually thought it was a neat opportunity so I think it's pretty cool and looking forward to it. And yes I was involved with Mr. Hendrick on where I'd end up in 2011."
Can you talk about having Kasey in the car? Did you have to pull any strings considering Hendrick has other deals with beverage companies?
Jay Frye: "No, obviously 2011 is independent of what is going on with the future of Kasey with Hendrick which starts in 2012, so no there was no issue of that at all."
At this point is the plan still for Red Bull to be a two-car team next year and how does this work in with Kasey and what you have with your drivers at this point?
Jay Frye: "We have a lot of options at this point being we are only a two-car team. Right now with Brian (Vickers), we continue to monitor his health and he is doing great. Things are looking very good with him, but at this point we still don't know. We are only half way through the process he needs to go through. With Scott, we are a couple of years into that program. It needs to get better. We are working hard to get him better and do what we need to do to get him better. But we have options. If you would have asked two months ago if Kasey Kahne would be one of the Red Bull drivers in 2011, I probably would have said no. Is it possible to expand? Sure, we have the ability to do that. Do we plan to do that? At this point that is unclear."
What issues do you still need to work though to get all of this to happen now that you have Kasey on board?
Jay Frye: "The biggest thing is what car he is going to be in and to put the team around. We have some great people here who have done some good things over the last couple years. Again, this happened very quickly. What we do know is that we are very excited to have Kasey Kahne in the Red Bull car for 2011. We will put a very good effort around him for the 2011 season. Someone asked the other day, what is in it for Red Bull? It's kind of like the Vikings. Why would the Vikings sign Brett Farve for one year? Because they want to win and they want to win now. He is a proven winner. It's the same thing with Kasey Kahne. We are going into the next season knowing we have a winner in our cars and we are excited about that."
Will Kenny Francis or other members of Kasey's team be coming over with him? Will Kenny be part of Kasey's team next year?
Jay Frye: "Again, that's part of what we need to sort out over the next month or six weeks. We have good people here that have done good things, so we will know more of that within the next month or so."
Kasey has a contract with Hendrick next year, so how is this possible?
Jay Frye: "Kasey has a contract with us for 2011 now."
How much of this is related to Brian maybe not coming back next year, allowing you to still have a veteran in the car?
Jay Frye: "Kasey is a proven commodity. We had an opportunity to secure his services for next year and we were thrilled we could do that. At this point we have great expectations that all will work out with Brian. He is only halfway through his treatments and all is in the right direction so we have high hopes. But, to get a Kasey Kahne-caliber driver and even if it is just for one year, he will help be able to point our program in the right direction for the future. We will worry about 2012 next year."
Kasey, Red Bull is known for its extreme sports and the opportunities presented to the Red Bull athletes, like Brian Vickers Sky-diving and such. How do you feel about that and are you willing to do those things?
Kasey Kahne: "I look forward to working with Red Bull and doing whatever it takes to be part of the team. I always have heard about the opportunities that those athletes get to do and what other Red Bull athletes do on the side and with Red Bull. They get great opportunities and that's what really excited me about the whole program. I think the competition can be really good, seeing what Brian did last year with the Chase and win and all the poles. I feel we have a good shot. Looking forward to it and excited about it."
What do you need to see from Scott and that team over the next month or two to make you feel he will be in that car next year?
Jay Frye: "There's been a lot of progress made. There has been a lot of time invested in Scott. He has been a Red Bull driver and athlete for a long time. We just need to get better. We are going to tracks with him for the third or fourth time and we need to see progress. There are things we are doing as a race team to get better and there are things he can do to get better. It will show over the next month or two of what the future will hold."
Is Red Bull paying Kasey next year or is Rick Hendrick?
Jay Frye: "Red Bull Racing has a contract with Kasey Kahne for next year."
Kasey, does this come as a relief for you that this is done with?
Kasey Kahne: "At first it didn't really bother me. I knew it was in Mr. Hendrick's hands and that it would work out really well. But after awhile, I started to think more about it. Especially with all the speculation of who would be in the 5. It feels good to be secure for next to have a good deal with red Bull and know what I am doing for 2011. I have a positive attitude about it and am looking forward to it because they can really run well. They have in the past and I think we can again."
Did you sympathize with Mark and the hammering he took in this process also?
Kasey Kahne: "It's part of the deal. I wouldn't say it was his fault or my fault it was what it was. Initially the Hendrick thing came out early because somebody talked about it early, kind of like this deal coming out this weekend prior to our announcing it. It's what it is, kind of where our sport is these days. To me, announcements don't tell what's going on anymore everybody already knows prior to that. It's kind of disappointing at times, but that's how it is now. I don't really mind either way."
Is Rick Hendrick paying you or giving you a stipend to run Kasey? Any chance in Kasey being in one of your cars before the end of the year?
Jay Frye: "No and no. Obviously we don't discuss contracts or our terms of anything. We have a contract with Kasey Kahne for next season. Do we anticipate him being in one of our cars this year? Absolutely not. This is a 2011 situation."
What does RBRT get out of this even though it is just a one-year deal?
Jay Frye: "Next year is the next season on the schedule. We plan to go with Kasey Kahne. As Kasey said, our teams have run very well. We are dealing with a unique situation this season with Brian being ill. The team made the Chase last year, won a race, got 6 poles, and competed at a high level. We think Kasey can certainly do that with us in 2011 and we want to get our program back on track. He will be a great conduit to help do that. If we do everything like we should in 2011, it will create other opportunities for 2012. We plan to go out next season and have a great year and compete at a high level."
Can you address who will be Kasey's crew chief?
Jay Frye: "A lot of this stuff has happened very quickly. Over the next month, 45 days, we will start to organize the teams and put the teams together for 2011. At this point, we really have no comment on specifics."
Can you comment on the possibility of having Kenny Francis as a possible crew chief option?
Kasey Kahne: "I really like working with Kenny. Whether I am happy or we are having a bad race and I am mad, as soon as the race is over, all I want to do is find Kenny and Keith our engineer and talk about how we can be better and what we need to do there. That's really it right now. I really like our relationship. I like what we have accomplished together, and feel like there is a lot more we can accomplish together. I don't know what Kenny is going to do. That is up to him and everyone else. He is definitely one of my main guys - a great guy."
How tough has it been for the team to have Brian out of the car this season? Things have not gone well since he was out and Scott doesn't have a lot of experience - how do you get over the obstacle of losing the team leader?
Jay Frye: "It is very difficult when you build a program around someone. We had some success last year, and had some great momentum. There is a certain style certain drivers have and you design around that particular individual. So when that individual is removed, yes, it greatly affects you. You end up piecing the rest of the season together to get to the end of the year. We have done some different things this year with different drivers, and we will continue to do that. Scott is developing and still learning, so we have lost that direction that comes from having an experienced driver. Personally, I've been through this a couple of times before - 1998 with Ernie Irvan and 2002 with Jerry Nadeau - each time the situation has been very much the same. We as a company and management of the team need to do the best to keep moral up and make sure we are focused on the right thing. Today, we announced the situation with Kasey to the shop before the announcement. There was a standing ovation and a huge applause. That gave this company something to look forward to going into next season. We are very excited about the future and today is a very good day."
Can you talk about the rest of the season and the driver situation on the No. 83?
Jay Frye: "Reed (Sorenson) will be in the car this weekend in Michigan. He is doing a really good job for us. When you are in this situation, you take it week by week. We don't have any reason at this point to change from Reed. It is possible that he is in the car for the rest of the year. Or there could be some other opportunities that pop up where we do different things with different races, like we did last weekend (at Watkins Glen) with Boris (Said). You kind of take it three races at a time when you are in this situation. So that is where we are right now."
If Kenny becomes available, and I believe his contract is up December 1, could there be room at the end of the season for him at Red Bull?
Jay Frye: "As Kasey said, Kenny is a great talent, and great guy, and has done some great things. It is kind of like with Kasey, who wouldn't want a guy like Kenny Francis, that type of thing. We are not in any position to talk about that or anything like that at this point. We have great people here, too. What we need to figure out in the next 30- 45 days is what we do with we have here and what is going to happen with the other car. It is all about combinations and pairing the right people and right relationships together and moving forward."
We know what steering a ship for a long time through lots of twists and turns and changes can do to a race team. How difficult is it to keep everything together through all of this, no matter how good the driver or the team?
Jay Frye: "There seems to be a lot of situations where Red Bull is in the rumor mill in this sport, no matter what goes on. When we have our monthly team meetings, it has almost become something we joke about a little bit. Part of it is flattering, because people continue to talk about us no matter what situation. It has happened so much, over such a long period of time the past 2-3 years, that hopefully it hasn't affected our people. Obviously we have just made a huge commitment with Kasey moving forward into next year. The future of this program is very bright."
How can the team get into a rhythm going for success with all the changes?
Jay Frye: "You almost become immune to it because it happens so often. You can go back in history and tell people 'look here is what was said how many times over the course of how many years, and none of this has happened.' There is a huge commitment from Red Bull in Austria and Red Bull North America in Santa Monica, California. What we need to do is succeed. There is great passion for what we do. There is a great desire to win. There is a great desire to compete at a high level. Today, with what we have done, we have taken another step towards being able to do that consistently, and we are very excited about that."
Did you talk to Toyota before signing Kasey and doing this deal? How do they feel about having a driver for a year then being packaged over to Chevrolet?
Jay Frye: "Yes, we did talk to them before and they are in the same mind frame we are - what a great opportunity this is for the 2011 season. They are very excited to have Kasey be a part of the family next season, and they were very supportive of the whole situation."