Loudon: Kahne - Friday media visit

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) HOW WAS THE CAR DURING TODAY'S FIRST PRACTICE? "It feels good. The track is real similar to last year. The car feels much better then it did last year. I felt pretty good about my first corner, it ...

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)

HOW WAS THE CAR DURING TODAY'S FIRST PRACTICE? "It feels good. The track is real similar to last year. The car feels much better then it did last year. I felt pretty good about my first corner, it was really good. We went from there (Turn 1) to trying to adjust our Budweiser Dodge to make it better. It felt decent in qualifying trim, so it was a good session."

WITH YOUR RECENT SUCCESS, THE CAR MUST FEEL REALLY GOOD EVERY TIME THAT YOU UNLOAD IT? "Yeah, it feels really strong every time that we unload it. Last week, we qualified great, but had an issue in the race. It's disappointing, but that's the way it goes. We'll recover from it. Our cars are still really fast. So I'm looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday."

NHMS IS CLASSIFIED A SPEEDWAY, DOES IT DRIVE LIKE A SHORT TRACK? "To me, it's more of a short track then a speedway for sure. It's a flat one-mile (track). You brake a lot and have to slow down a ton for the corners. To do that, it's a short track. We just have to figure out how to keep getting it through the corner fast and come off the corner good with forward drive. So far we've been good with that. The car felt really balanced, but we definitely need some more practice tomorrow."

DO YOU HAVE TO RACE THE COMPETITION LIKE IT'S A SHORT TRACK? "I've raced here a bunch and at times it's bumping and banging and other times it's normal racing. The biggest thing here is if the bottom and the top (grooves) are the same. Sometimes you have to really stick to one line, so I'm hoping that it will be pretty good this weekend. It seemed pretty fast during practice and I was able to race any lane that I chose. It seemed like our Budweiser Dodge was good in any lane."

IS GOING TO CHICAGOLAND FOR THE FIRST TIME UNDER THE LIGHTS GOING TO BE A COMPLETE UNKNOWN? "Yeah, it's definitely going to be an unknown. I'm kind of excited that it's on a Saturday night. It's something different in Chicago. It interferes with my sprint car a little bit, that's the King's Royal night, so I won't be going to watching that this year. I'm looking forward to racing Saturday night."

WHAT'S YOUR OUTLOOK FOR QUALIFYING? "We were fifth fastest in practice. We definitely have a shot at the pole depending on the adjustments that we make. (The car) was great in practice, so we'll keep working on it."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RACING AT NHMS SPECIFICALLY? "It's a flat track. It's a faster flat track than we normally go to. You bounce a lot going into Turn 3. That's something that you have to figure out -- bouncing through there under braking, hitting the splitter on the racetrack and not locking up your front right tire. I think (Turn 3) is the most critical spot on the race track in qualifying. That could be the pole or not."

WHAT DOES YOUR TEAM HAVE TO IMPROVE ON TO SET YOURSELF UP FOR THE CHASE? "We just need to keep doing what we are doing. We've improved a ton since the start of the season. We started good and we've gotten better. That's our mindset, keep improving.

Since Mark McArdle took over in December, it has been to improve all year long and figure out how to keep getting better and better. That's all our focus has been. If we keep doing that, we'll be in the Chase and win some races."

HOW COMFORTABLE ARE YOU NINTH IN DRIVER POINT STANDINGS RIGHT NOW? "I'm really comfortable because I think that my car is as good as any in the top nine. If we just do our job, we can run in that top nine or 10 every weekend and stay right where we are at, or even gain some spots."

HOW GOOD IS IT FOR YOU TO COME TO THE RACE TRACK RIGHT NOW AS COMPARED TO LAST APRIL? "It's a lot better. On our first lap today, I knew that we had something to work with. Just going through one corner, I could tell that I had a good car. It's nice when you can come to the track and know that our stuff is going to be fast. I know that we are going to compete for the pole on Friday and hopefully for a win on Sunday. It's definitely a little different from the start of the year; it's just a little bit easier when your cars are handling like they are right now."

HOW HAS YOUR RECENT SUCCESS PERMEATED THROUGH GEM? "I think our 19 car is definitely getting better. The 19 is real good; he's just has some problems with bad luck here and there. The 19 and the 9 work really well together. The 10 is improving, but they do a lot of their own stuff. I feel like the 19 and the 9 work really well together and it shows. They both run very similar every week."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup