Dodge Motorsports Teleconference Tuesday, Aug. 1,2006 Allstate 400 at The Brickyard Advance KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) OPENING COMMENTS "I've always really liked Indianapolis, the city, the track, everything about...
Dodge Motorsports Teleconference
Tuesday, Aug. 1,2006
Allstate 400 at The Brickyard Advance
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
OPENING COMMENTS "I've always really liked Indianapolis, the city, the track, everything about it. I think just the history behind the track, behind the Indy 500 and the Brickyard now also. It's just always been a track I appreciated and wanted to race at. I'm looking forward to this weekend. It has four different corners and you can do a lot with your feet and your hands to go fast at that place. I think it's tough to pass everywhere these days if your car isn't handling. If your car is handling good, then yeah, it's easy to pass."
WHAT HAS HELPED IMPROVE YOUR PERFORMANCE THIS SEASON? "I think there's a few of them. The biggest one would be (Team Director) Kenny Francis. He's as good as anybody in NASCAR at what he does and the communication working with him and working with all the guys on our Dodge Dealers team has been great to make cars how we want 'em throughout the race or throughout practice. I'd say that is probably the biggest thing. After that, personally I feel like I've really matured some and grown up and realize what I have each week. I'm not letting it wear me out or get to me like, 'man, I've got too much to do.' I just try to enjoy it more. I enjoy what I'm doing more and that's been a lot more fun, I know that."
WHERE DOES TALLADEGA FIT IN THE CHASE? "I've had a couple of decent races there and I've had some rough ones like the last one, but I enjoy going there. I know our engine shop is working hard on power and our guys building the car are working hard on preparing better Dodge Chargers, so I don't know. I kinda go to that race hoping we can finish and get in the right line throughout the race. It's a tough place no matter who you are. I don't think it makes it worse (being a Chase race). I think it either can or can't. If you run good there, then it's a good way to gain some points because not everybody in the top 10 is going to run good there. That's just the way it is. I would say it could be good or bad. It's kinda cool to have those wild card races in there. Martinsville is similar to where you can get way behind and finish 30th or something pretty easily if things happen the wrong way. They're good tracks because you can either lose a lot or gain a lot."
WHAT DID TESTING AT INDY REVEAL ABOUT SPEED, BRAKING OR DRAFTING? "All those things are a big part of Indianapolis. The drafting comes into play. You can screw up in one corner trying to pass somebody and then pass somebody that's three cars behind you because momentum is such a big deal, too. You've just got to really be aware when you try to pass somebody that you're going to clear him and make that pass and then try to pull away instead of getting stuck behind him and wind up losing a spot."
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR CAREER WOULD HAVE CHANGED IF THINGS HAD WORKED OUT AT ROBERT YATES RACING? "I'm happy the way everything happened, but I wish at times that some of that stuff hadn't gone on because I don't personally enjoy being in a lawsuit with that kind of stuff, but I'm happy with where I'm at. If I would have been at Robert Yates Racing I would have struggled just as bad as Elliott Sadler. This sport relies a lot on your racecars and people working on them. It's not easy if they're not handling right. You just can't go anywhere."
WHAT'S HAPPENING AT THE VIR TEST TODAY? "I'm trying to get better at this road course stuff. A big part of making The Chase is going to be running well at Watkins Glen in two weeks. We're just trying to get ready. Boris Said is helping out and Jeremy and Scott are out here and we're all trying to get better. So far it's been good, but it's 100 degrees and I'm worn out already. I left the house at 5 a.m. I got home last night at 10 something from the west coast. I went out to Enumclaw for the weekend and was on the wrong zone when I got back. I wasn't ready to go to bed until about 3. I was up at 5, so I'm pretty tired today."
DID YOU RACE ON THE WEST COAST LAST WEEKEND? "I did two sprint car races and I did pretty well. I haven't raced in about a year, so I was pretty excited to get to race on dirt. The first night I qualified fifth and won the dash. I got to start out front for the main event and I finished second. The second night I won the dash again and ended up third. We raced good, but we just missed it a little bit in the main event. We were good early in the dash. The fans were great. There was a ton of people. We did a fan club picnic Sunday with my mom and had about 350 fans there anywhere from Ohio to Washington. It was pretty cool. It was a lot of signing. I probably did six hours of signing between the three days, but I enjoyed it and I think a lot of the fans around there did, too."
DID THAT MAKE YOU WANT TO COMPETE IN MORE SPRINT CAR RACES? "It makes me want to race one as much as I possibly can. I'd forgot how much fun it was and how tough it is. I forgot all about it. I'm going to do another one next week and another one the week after that and plan 'em out."
COMMENT ON YOUR WORLD OF OUTLAWS SPRINT CAR TEAM "They're doing a good job. They're second in points. They won the Kings Royal and that's a huge race. The Knoxville Nationals are coming up the weekend of Watkins Glen. They're excited. They're getting ready for that. They've got a different paint scheme for that race which will be pretty cool. One of the Curb Records artists is on the racecar and it looks pretty good. Hopefully they run well there. I hope I can be there at least two of the nights."
HOW MUCH INPUT DO YOU HAVE ON THE SPRINT CAR TEAM? "I have a lot of input. I talk to them pretty often. They do it all themselves, but I try to talk to them and see how things are going and what I need to do better so they can race better. They're doing a good job. I enjoy it. One of the most fun things I get to do every week is listen to those races and wonder how they're doing."
HOW DO YOU HANDLE ALL THE ATTENTION? "I've always been the same person. Racing is such an up and down sport, it all changes the next day. We've won four races, but the last six weeks we've been struggling a little. I don't even really remember winning those races because it's not on my mind right now. What's on my mind is doing good again, winning more races, staying up front and making it into The Chase. I think because that's how racing is you have to be like, 'man, it's too easy to not run well.' If you get too excited about when you do race well, I've just always been able to kinda stay level headed and look forward to the next race."
HOW DO YOU RACE INDY? "Personally, I have two pretty big goals. One is to win the Allstate 400 and the other is to make it into The Chase. The Allstate 400 is going to be this weekend. I'm not going to be thinking about points at all. The one thing I want to do is win the race. A top five would be great. We're going to definitely go for that. So far we've had two top fives in both my starts at Indy and we're going to try to do that again, but if it comes down to some kind of crazy move to try to win late in the race we're going for it. That's the way it is. We want to win."
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO WIN THE BRICKYARD? "Tony (Stewart) tried for a few years there before he finally got his. With him growing up there and racing in the Indy 500 it meant a ton to that guy. It would mean a lot to me, too. I've never raced in the Indy 500, but I lived there for three years and watched every race that's been going on when I was in that city. It's pretty neat. It would mean everything. There's one race track I want to win at right now and that's Indianapolis."
WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE WEEK OFF BEFORE THE ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD? "I don't mind waiting for Indy. It's one of those things where you look forward to it all season long. You look forward to it and then it'll be gone. Those seven days we were somewhere else getting ready for the race, so I don't mind if they put it off for a couple of weeks. It's something you look forward to when you do get there, so it's time to race."
ARE YOU PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY PREPARED FOR 16 STRAIGHT WEEKENDS OF RACING? "Yeah, I'm definitely ready. We've done what we wanted to do so far this season. We're top 10 in points and we have a bunch of Dodge Chargers sitting in the shop at Evernham Motorsports. I haven't been tearing up cars. I'm excited and proud to drive 'em. We've got nine cars ready for these final 16 races."
HOW DO YOU APPROACH THE NEXT SIX RACES THAT WILL DECIDE WHO MAKES THE CHASE? "You just have to go all out. You have to finish in the top 10 and be consistent and get through the final six. We were going to finish 10th or 11th last week at Pocono and had a problem with eight to go. That's just something you can't help. It's just the way it is. If something like that happened this week at Indy, we'd just have to go to Watkins Glen and try to overcome losing a bunch of points again. It's just the way this sport is. Hopefully we have good luck in the final six races and we make it into The Chase. You just never know though."