Kansas: Pole winner interview

KASEY KAHNE - No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion (Qualified 1st) TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN OUT THERE "We weren't great in practice so we knew we needed to make adjustments to the car. Kenny Francis and Keith did a really nice job. Coming to the green I felt...

KASEY KAHNE - No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion (Qualified 1st)

TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN OUT THERE "We weren't great in practice so we knew we needed to make adjustments to the car. Kenny Francis and Keith did a really nice job. Coming to the green I felt great. I got through one and two really good and got a little free in three and missed the entrance a touch. I was able to gather it back and get rolling but I gave away a little bit of time there and I noticed Paul Menard gained a lot there at three. Going out late he came really close to clipping us off. I am glad we got the pole for Budweiser and for Ford. It will be exciting to have a couple RPM guys on the front row on Sunday. That is really nice for the whole company."

THERE ARE SEVEN FORDS IN THE TOP 15 AND LIKE FIVE IN THE TOP-10. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT AND HOW IMPRESSIVE THAT IS?

"Yeah, that is really impressive. That is something that we didn't have at the start of the year. It just shows how hard all the Ford teams have worked. How hard all the guys at the engine shop have worked on building power. They are doing a really nice job. It is good. Any time you can qualify well you know you have a good engine and a good package. Hopefully we can get it right tomorrow. Tomorrow will be a big part of Sunday, trying to get a really good balance for the car."

YOU MENTIONED RPM, IT IS KIND OF INTERESTING THAT THE TWO GUYS LEAVING RPM ARE AT THE TOP TODAY, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT DYNAMIC?

"To me it shows that myself and Paul and our teams are still really interested in running strong and not backing down at all just because we have other things we are going to do in the future. At the same time it shows that RPM is giving us great race cars. Roush Yates is giving us great engines. We have the package, we just need to put it all together. We have struggled. We had that deal in Atlanta that maybe made us miss the Chase and we haven't run well since. It feels got to get on the pole today and hopefully it gives us some momentum for Sunday's race. Hopefully we can carry that."

HOW CLOSE ARE YOU SET UP WISE FOR THE RACE?

"We worked on race stuff the first 40-50 minutes of practice and then switched over. They switched over really quick which tells me it is a fairly close balance. I feel pretty good we will start off decent in practice tomorrow and have to work on it from there. We tried some things today and the way we started isn't the way we qualified or the way we will start tomorrow. Kenny and Keith had a couple of plans and one of them worked so far. We will keep trying to build on that and make it right."

EARLIER THIS YEAR THE ROUSH TEAMS WERE STRUGGLING AND WORD IS THAT KENNY HELPED THEM GET THAT TURNED AROUND. DO YOU TAKE PRIDE IN HELPING THE ROUSH TEAM GET THINGS TURNED AROUND?

"Roush has a lot of things that we use on our cars as well. We have a really nice Roush car this weekend and we are quick with that. I feel like they have a lot to offer us. A little bit of the front end things that we have been doing at our deal for awhile, clear back a couple years ago, some of that stuff Carl really liked and I think Greg and I think it slowly got moved over to their place and some of their drivers really liked it. You never know. There are things that RPM has helped them with and things that Roush has helped us with. I guess that is what it is all about."

YOU TALKED ABOUT THE SNOWBALL EFFECT OF GETTING DOWN AND THINGS GETTING WORSE. WAS THERE SOMETHING ABOUT THIS WEEKEND THAT SEEMED DIFFERENT THAT YOU HAVE MORE CONFIDENCE?

"No. Truthfully, in practice I felt pretty good and then we made our qualifying runs and our first lap was alright and our next couple were no better. When practice got over I wasn't that happy. I went in the trailer and we talked about it for a little while. Kenny called me 20 minutes later and we talked about it some more. They changed a couple little things. We weren't far off, we just didn't hit on it very quickly today. It took just before qualifying to get it right. It just shows that these cars are really close. Everybody is really close. The competition is so close that if you miss it a little bit you can be 20th. We were 22nd in practice and made a couple small changes and we go pole. That is how close it is. There is a lot of competition right now and you have to make the right decision and adjustments. You can't overshoot your corner or hit the throttle too soon. It is pretty fine tuned it seems like right now."

AS A NON CHASE DRIVER DO YOU TAKE SATISFACTION THAT SIX OF THE TOP 10 ARE NON CHASE GUYS TODAY?

"Yeah, that is pretty cool I think. It is guys that still want to race well. When you look at it during the week and are preparing for the race weekend, if you miss the Chase it isn't nearly what it is as if you are in the Chase. You are thinking about gaining five spots or a championship, and we don't have that right now. To see guys that are not in the top-12 still qualifying well and running good is fun. You have a lot of hard core racers out here that just want to perform."

IN YEARS PAST WE HAVE SEEN DRIVERS AND CREW CHIEFS THAT ARE MOVING ON AT THE END OF THE YEAR KIND OF SHUTTLE OFF TO THE SIDE. DO YOU STILL FEEL YOU ARE AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE TEAM THERE?

"RPM is working on their future and I am not part of that. At times you feel like maybe you aren't so much a part of what is going on and at other times you feel like you are. When you see the equipment that you bring to the track then you feel like you are a part of it. I go through stages where I wonder. Then I go through a day like today where everything is good. It is kind of a tough situation to be in to tell you the truth. I didn't think I would struggle with it but I do at times. You get wondering and you don't know and it happens with guys on the team too and the guys at the shop. Some guys are leaving and going different places and getting switched around, so that throws you off too. When you have a day like today and you win the pole, you realize it is all there and you just need to work together as a team like we have all year and hopefully finish strong."

-source: ford racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Paul Menard