Kansas: Kahne - Dodge Friday interview

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF RUNNING THIS WEEKEND: "I don't know. We've had a tough time this year with this car, with all cars. We're working on it and trying to get better. Maybe this week will be...

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)

HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF RUNNING THIS WEEKEND: "I don't know. We've had a tough time this year with this car, with all cars. We're working on it and trying to get better. Maybe this week will be a change, maybe we can make some gains and get a top-10 on Sunday, but it's tough to say right now, it's tough to say until we get out there and we are actually racing on Sunday."

ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE BUDWEISER SPONSOR FOR NEXT YEAR? "It's a great sponsor. One of the best there is. I'm looking forward to it and looking forward to working with Bud. Everybody there is going to be a lot of fun and they have really neat opportunities and things for myself, so I'm looking forward to it. I think it's going to be a good time and I want to make the most out of it. We still need to get our performance up this year before we put their name on our car. They need to run up front and right now we can't do that. We need to fix our program before next year."

IS THE NUMBER OF THE CURRENT DOWNFORCE CARS DWINDLING IN THE SHOP? "We're not building new ones but we haven't been wrecking them either, so there are still plenty of them in there. We are only going to run probably one or two of them if things go the way that we want them to, but we still have some good ones in there and some good COTs, it's just a matter of putting the right setups on them and getting them around the corners."

WHAT ALL CHANGES FROM ONE CAR TO THE NEXT? "It seems like always at the end of the day there is something different as much as people tell you there isn't. At the end of the day there is something different. The way the pedals are mounted or the way the seat is mounted, or the way your seat insert comes out. There is always something about that car. The downforce numbers that are on them, but that one has more somewhere and that fits your driving style, so there is usually something unique. Last year I had two cars that were built identical and they drove just about identical, that's the car that we won all six races with between the two of them."

HOW EXCITED ARE YOU TO HAVE A GUY LIKE GEORGE GILLETT AS AN OWNER? "Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. He's been good to me and good to our team trying to support us and get everyone excited to keep working and to keep trying to figure out how to go fast, so it's been good. He's a part of bringing Budweiser to Gillett Evernham Motorsports and it's a great opportunity to all of us. We've done a good job, we just have to keep working and figure out the performance. Once we figure out the performance we're going to have a lot of fun."

IS IT NICE TO KNOW THAT HE CARES ABOUT THE RACING AS MUCH AS THE MONEY ASPECTS? "Well I think he cares about it and if you look at everything the guy's done over the last however long, they do it right. They find the right people, put the right people in place and then get it done at the end of the day. They will trying and put the right people in place at Gillett Evernham and at the end of the day we are going to win races."

WHAT MOTIVATED HIM TO COME INTO RACING? "I really don't. I know that he has been a race fan for a long time. Him and his son have gone to a lot of World of Outlaw races over the years, which is pretty cool to me. I think when people like that kind of racing -- that's a race fan."

IT'S A LONG WAY FROM AN ENGLISH SOCCER TEAM? "Yeah, a long ways. They have done that and I know he's worked with Childress and he's worked with some of these teams over the last eight years, trying to be part of one. It finally happened with Evernham. He didn't just decide to come into this sport. He's been working on it for a long time and been a fan for a while."

DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER TO KNOW THAT HE HAS A GENUINE INTEREST IN RACING? "Yeah, there are a couple things that you look at. One is does he like racing, and that seems like a yes. It seems like his family does and he does. So that's good. Two is -- is he successful, and he is successful in the things that he has done so far, so I don't see why he wouldn't be a successful car owner in the future with the situation that he's in. I think you get a guy like that and he works hard to make sure at the end of the day that we win races. The only reason I'm here is to win races so I hope it all works out."

WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON GIVE AND TAKE BETWEEN DRIVERS? "Yeah, everybody learns it. It's part of driving. You want to get respect from the other guys. You have to show them that you can go fast and that you respect what they do, and I've learned that over the years. I think everybody that does a good job has learned that. Denny Hamlin is up front every single weekend. He understands how to run up front. He understands what he needs to do as a driver. What happened last week, I have no idea. I haven't seen it. I saw Denny get his visor slapped down and then I saw him get pissed off a couple minutes later, so I was surprised by the situation."

"Well you learn to race against them. You know every driver out there. You know what they do. We race so much that if I get behind a car I know what it's going to do most of the time. And the thing that happened, what I heard happened, I would kind of wonder what Denny was doing, but I don't know if I heard it correctly."

"I didn't see it so it's hard to say when you don't see something, but from what I heard, I don't know what Denny was thinking, but I may have heard it wrong. I haven't seen it. I wasn't on that side of the race track. I was on the other end."

EVERYONE IS RACING FOR SOMETHING WHETHER IT'S TO STAY IN THE TOP 35, OR YOU ARE RACING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP. DOES THAT MAKE THE CHASE MORE INTENSE? "I don't know. I don't think so. I think it's all about the same. I think the Chase guys are going to want it a little more, but at the end of the day they are only going to get what they can get because they know they can't fall out of the race."

WOULD YOU BACK OFF FOR A CHASE DRIVER? "I just race them like I race them every week. I give plenty of give and take every week. I feel like when my car is good I will race harder than when it's not as good. When it's not as good I'm going to give a little bit more because you don't want to put yourself in a position to take that type of a chance. When your car is good, yeah you will race a little bit harder whether it's a Chase guy or not. Last year I was in the Chase and I don't remember other guys easing off on me and I don't feel like easing off on anyone else unless the situation is the right one. I don't know. I just feel like it's the same racing, you just don't go out there and wreck a Chase guy but at the same time you are going to go out there and race them like it was any other race. Like if it was race number seven."

ARE THEIR GOING TO BE MORE RESPONSIBILITIES WITH BUDWEISER THEN THERE WERE IN THE PAST? "Definitely more things to do, but at the same time I'm not going to have as much for Dodge and some of the other sponsors, so I think it kind of evens out. I'm super happy that we've got the main sponsor on our car. Budweiser, I mean, it's is going to be a great fit. I'm really excited, really pumped up about it. I don't think it will be too much different. Maybe a little bit here and there, but we already run pretty hard."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT RUNNING THE COT AT TALLADEGA COMING UP? "I think it is going to be the best Car of Tomorrow race that we've had yet as far as the way the cars drive. You can race side by side and you can do things out there and have fun. I think it's going to be the most fun that we've had driving that car. Whether it's the car or the tire I don't know, but when we drive the Car of Tomorrow or even the standard car, but I think mostly with the Car of Tomorrow, it definitely hasn't been a very fun year. I'm looking forward to Talladega just because I think it's going to be a little more fun and exciting. We're here to have fun and try to win races and we haven't had enough fun and haven't won any races. So, I'm looking forward to Talladega."

TALLADEGA HAS A REPUTATION FOR GIVING PEOPLE ENOUGH ROPE TO HANG THEMSELVES. WILL THERE BE MORE OF THAT ROPE OR LESS? "I don't know. The way that the tests went it was kind of up and down on how the cars were bunched up. I feel like it's going to be pretty exciting. I think when you get in that big draft it's going to change things. We don't have that when we test, only maybe 10 cars so it's going to change a lot with the bigger draft and I just think we are going to have some big holes and when you find the right opening you are going to have to go."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Denny Hamlin