Wednesday, Feb. 1,2006. LVMS Test Session KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) NOTE: Kahne was second fastest in the Wednesday morning practice session and fifth fastest on Tuesday afternoon with laps of 170.374 mph ...
Wednesday, Feb. 1,2006.
LVMS Test Session
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
NOTE: Kahne was second fastest in the Wednesday morning practice session and fifth fastest on Tuesday afternoon with laps of 170.374 mph and 167.957 mph, respectively.
OPENING COMMENTS "I think hard work by the team, there have been some changes that Ray made at Evernham Motorsports and I think that's stuff going to be huge. It's going to be good. This is really the first test as a team with other cars around. We went to Kentucky and Nashville a few times, but it's been a great test for us so far. Kenny Francis, Mike Shiflette and Keith and the rest of the guys have done a great job. I think just hard work (will make a difference). That's what they've done in the offseason to get our Dodge Charger where it needs to be. When we come back in a month and a half it'll be good enough to run top five and contend."
IT'S YOUR SPONSORS' RACE AT VEGAS. DOES THAT ADD PRESSURE? "It's always exciting. UAW is a great partner of Evernham Motorsports. DaimlerChrysler and Dodge are great partners. To win one of these races would be great. To win at Vegas would be big and to win with the sponsor of the race being one of our sponsors would make it that much better, so we definitely have been looking forward to coming out to this test and seeing where we're at. It's a test that you can learn a lot. You can go to Kentucky all winter long and show up at Vegas and be bad or you can show up here and be pretty good and work on it and make it better. So far we've been improving our car and we feel like when we leave tonight we're going to have it pretty decent. You can actually gamble in Kentucky, too. They have some riverboats right around the corner. It's not like the Bellagio. It's a small boat."
HOW DID YOU SPEND YOUR OFFSEASON? "After Homestead I told Ray when I was leaving the trailer after that race that I was going to be gone a week and a half and I didn't want to know anything about racing. With the season we had we needed to get after it and get prepared and try to get our Chargers where they needed to be. That first week and a half I went on vacation and came back to Charlotte and did some stuff there. Then we tested and did some appearances for awhile. After that I went home to Seattle and took some time off with friends and hung out and went to the Seahawks game. That's probably been some of my funnest times during the offseason, watching the Seahawks either at Quest Field in Seattle or on TV. I went skiing a couple of days and raced at the Chili Bowl one weekend, which was a lot of fun. I ran pretty good there. With all that and the testing we did.... I'm pretty excited. I'm ready to be back in the racecar for sure."
ANY SUPER BOWL PREDICTION? "I think everybody in Washington is rooting for the Seahawks. Other than that, it seems like everybody is after the Steelers. I have to be back here to test the Busch car. I'd need to rent a plane and all that. I can't do it. I don't want to do it. I'd love to go to the Super Bowl, but I need to focus on this test."
DO YOU THINK RICKY CARMICHAEL HAS A FUTURE IN CUP? "I don't know. That'd probably be up to Ricky, how much he wants to pursue it. He's an unbelievable athlete, unbelievable supercross rider, motocross rider. When he's done with that and maybe wants to do something on four wheels, he's definitely got the talent to probably do whatever he wants. Hopefully he does do something. He's a good friend of mine now, and I can't wait for the first off weekend between California and Vegas. I'm going to go to the RCA Dome and go to his race that weekend. It should be pretty cool. He's a great guy. He's having a good season. He's got some competition for sure."
IS THIS THE FIRST YEAR YOU'VE RUN A WINGED SPRINT CAR? "I've had one for awhile, and I've raced it a few times. We've never really focused on it that much. This is the first year that we've had a full sprint car program put together. Joey Salvano is going to drive it. (We've got) some great Mopar Dodges. We're looking forward to it. I enjoy it right now. Last year I had a team that raced twice a month or something. I'd see it on the internet or try to get to the race and see what was going on or wait for a phone call that night to see how they did. I love that stuff. They've done a great job getting ready for the season, and Joey is a good driver. We should have a lot of success. We'll definitely be here in March. There are two series they're putting together. One has really good race teams. The other one has really good race teams. They have good schedules and you've got to decide which one you want to do. I haven't had any problems with the World of Outlaws. I haven't had any problems with the NFT they're starting. We're up for whatever best fits us. We'll be in Vegas. That's an Outlaw race. If another sanctioning body schedules something against we'll have to miss that race. We'll see what happens, but definitely my car will be across the street."
COMMENT ON YOUR NEWFOUND FAME "Right around this time two years ago is when it all kinda started. We had some really good racing at the start of '04 that opened up a lot of doors and a lot of opportunities. The main thing to me is to keep racing good and be better than we were in '05 and you'll get more of those doors open. Right now with a lot of different things I've been able to do the last year and a half, I've enjoyed it. I like doing that stuff. It takes away a little bit from the racing sometimes, and you need to stay focused on what our main goals are and concerns, but at the same time to go and do
that stuff, I enjoy it. I try to have as much doing it as I can and try to learn from it every time."
HOW'S THE NEW STRUCTURE WORKING WITH YOUR TEAM? "It's worked great so far. Ray Evernham has done a lot of things. He's won championships in NASCAR. He has a lot of great ideas. This one is different from what everybody else is doing, but it's really not as different as people think from the outside. Kenny Francis is the team director. Mike Shiflette is our car director and then we have our engineer in Keith. The guys working with those three so far this week and working with them in the offseason, it's been great. Each one of them talks to each other. Kenny has final say in everything. Kenny is going to be on the radio talking to me during the races and figuring out things as he bounces questions off Mike and Keith. I think it's really a perfect situation. We'll just have to see how it all works out, but so far it's really worked out good."
SUPER BOWL PREDICTION "Seahawks win. They've got a great team. If they play as good as they played against the Panthers I don't see a team that can beat 'em. They keep getting better every single game. It seems like they're coming together as good as any team I've seen in football this year. Early in the year I thought the Colts were the best team. I think a lot of people did. Now the Steelers are playing great football, too. It's going to be a great battle. I can't wait until Sunday to watch it. I would go if we weren't testing Monday, but we have a lot to learn here Monday in the Busch car. I need to get some sleep the night before. I'm going to be somewhere in Las Vegas watching it on TV. It's going to be a blast."
WHY DO YOU THINK THE SEAHAWKS ARE UNDERDOGS? "Because they're from Seattle. That's the only reason why. They've been underdogs all year. Nobody thought they could make the Super Bowl. They're a good football team."