Kahne - Dodge teleconference 2009-09-29

Kasey Kahne, Driver, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Teleconference Transcript September 29, 2009 Q: What are your thoughts on Kansas this weekend? Kasey Kahne: We ran pretty good at Chicago and they're kind of similar tracks. Our cars have been...

Kasey Kahne, Driver, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Teleconference Transcript
September 29, 2009

Q: What are your thoughts on Kansas this weekend?

Kasey Kahne: We ran pretty good at Chicago and they're kind of similar tracks. Our cars have been getting better throughout the year. They're in pretty good shape right now and we should run pretty strong out there. I feel like we have a great team and should be good at Kansas. In '06 we ran out of gas in the Chase race there and finished 33rd. We have to work on it some, but I think we'll be alright. We ran good at Chicago and they have a lot of similarities.

Q: Are race wins more of a premium during the Chase over a consistent top-10 car?

KK: You have to go all out and get every point that you possibly can and the only way to get a lot of points is to win. To win a championship, you can't be conservative. There's no way that you're going to pull it off being conservative. We had an issue with our car on Sunday throughout the race that happened 40 to 50 laps into it. I drove every lap like it was the last lap. The entire race, our car was bouncing off the race track. The only shot that you've got is to drive your heart out and have your team step up and do their part, otherwise Jimmie Johnson is going to walk all over us.

Q: How important is it for an organization like Hendrick Motorsports to have a leader like Rick (Hendrick) running the program?

KK: They've been on top of NASCAR for a long time with Jimmie (Johnson) and Chad Knaus and that team and they've really taken it to another level. I think it would be nice to be in their position, knowing that they have all their cars as strong as they are. Basically, if you're not running up front it's because of the team, communication, you just have to figure it out with your team. All the parts and pieces are there, that's definitely nice to have.

Q: With all the things surrounding RPM, is it a distraction to your team and how do you keep the crew guys motivated on this year's prize?

KK: I think the biggest thing is that our team is really focused on what we do each week and that has shown throughout the season. We don't pop up and have one good run and then don't run good for a month. We're there every week. We do the best job we can. We get the best finishes possible. I feel like the team is behind Kenny (Francis, crew chief) and what he does and that shows their focus. If other people have problems with all the things going on outside of racing, they certainly don't show it when it comes to race day or practice or preparing our racecars. They do a great job and really have shown that their focused in bringing the best thing possible.

Q: Your emotions never seem to come into play like some of the younger guys today. Is that something you had to grow into or just have?

KK: I think I probably grew into it. I just realized that there are some things out of our control. I have no part on what goes on outside of our team and I know that. So all that I can do is work out and think about racing and think about how I can be the best that I can on Sunday or on Saturday in practice to get the car where it needs to be. That's really all that I can do and that's the same thing that Kenny Francis does and the same thing Keith (Redden, car chief) and our entire team does. I think that's where our mindset is because we work together and we talk about it. I think that's just good teamwork.

Q: News broke that RPM owner George Gillett is selling controlling interest in RPM to a Saudi Prince and his sports management firm. Did you know anything about that? How do you think that might affect things in the future?

KK: I don't know what's going on there. It really doesn't change anything with us, no. It's just kind of the same old deal; we'll keep working hard and doing everything we can.

Q: What engine will you run this weekend at Kansas?

KK: I'm using the R5 again this weekend, the same as what we had last week.

Q: Do you anticipate going back to the R6?

KK: I think it will be all about reliability. If they think they can get it back where it's really reliable like the R5, then I would think we would probably go back to it. What I told them was that we have some points to make up and if we have anymore issues where we fall outside of the top 35, we're screwed...we have no chance. The very little power that you gain with the R6, it's not nearly enough power for me to say let's take a chance. We definitely want it to be reliable. Maybe we're down a couple horsepower, but that's it. At the end of the day it's not a big deal.

Q: How much information do you get from RPM regarding business decisions? Do you ask?

KK: I use to get too much and some things didn't happen. You get too much stuff with what's going on behind the scenes and a lot of it never happens because they're trying to figure how to make things happen and it doesn't happen at the end of the day in some situations. I don't know if they've quit giving me information unless it was true stuff. So now I don't get a whole lot of information unless it's something that they're really working hard on and trying to make happen. It's just a little bit of a different situation these days. I don't necessarily care. I just want to have Budweiser on my car, they're giving us the best parts and pieces they can. I'm happy enough.

Q: Can you talk about the upcoming race at Fontana?

KK: Fontana is a good place for us. I like Fontana. The track has always treated us really well with results. We seem to have a pretty good package there every time we go with Kenny Francis and the things that he does there. I really like Atlanta a lot and we've run great at California, so to me it's kind of a wash wherever they're at. I think the only benefit is that Atlanta on Labor Day is way better than Fontana on Labor Day and hopefully that helps out the crowds and excitement of the two races. So far, it showed at Atlanta, a huge benefit to move that to Labor Day weekend versus in the Chase where it used to be.

Q: How much do the next three tracks on the schedule play into what you need right now?

KK: That's the whole thing; I think we run pretty good in these Chase races. I think we have as good a shot as anybody at these tracks because they're tracks I enjoy and we've always raced pretty well at. If you have an issue, you lose points. If I didn't have an issue (in New Hampshire), I think that I would have run in the top 10 in both races and these upcoming races we can do the same thing. We have great package for most of these tracks. I think we'll do it, we just need to keep pulling it together and get these points back. I think we have a shot at getting a lot of them back.

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kasey Kahne , Chad Knaus
Teams Hendrick Motorsports