KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) HAS IT GOTTEN EASIER TO BE MORE PATIENT WITH THE IN-RACE CHANGES MADE DURING A RACE WITH THE COT? I think everybody realizes that you can easily pass (make slight changes that produce extreme results)...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
HAS IT GOTTEN EASIER TO BE MORE PATIENT WITH THE IN-RACE CHANGES MADE DURING A RACE WITH THE COT? I think everybody realizes that you can easily pass (make slight changes that produce extreme results) what you want to do with any type of adjustment in the race. So yeah, you have to be a little bit more patient with the adjustments. Usually you'll know pretty quickly - once the race goes to green and after each pit stop - knowing where your car is at in the race. Sometimes you wish to go further (with the changes) and sometimes you wish that you didn't go so far. You have to be patient and take your time and it seems like that's how you have to race. The opportunities are limited on how quickly you can pass cars. It just takes time."
HOW WILL PATIENCE PLAY A ROLL HERE AT MARTINSVILLE? "I think it does, but hopefully not as much because you're not worried about aero here. It's more about handling and getting the car to turn and trying to get as much forward drive off the corner as you can. That's the good thing about Martinsville, there's no real aero tight here. If you're tight, you're tight -- your car just isn't turning that day. I think it should be a good race. "
WITH PIT STRATEGY AND PIT SEQUENCE BEING SO IMPORTANT HERE, DO YOU NEED THE FASTEST CAR TO WIN HERE? "I think you do. It always is the same few cars that are running up front. Jimmie (Johnson), Jeff (Gordon) and a few more throughout the race are always strong. Denny Hamlin always runs well here. So yeah, track position will be big, but they'll be playing the same game as everybody else out there....and they'll be fast. So they'll be the guys to beat, like always."
HAS ANY OF YOUR PREVIOUS SHORT-TRACK RACING EXPERIENCES HELPED YOU HERE? "Not to me. This is a big track for us with the type of racing that I did growing up and until I got into the Nationwide Series. This would be a 'big' track. To me, this is short-track racing for here. We didn't have fenders and bumpers to bounce guys around where I grew up. It was much different where I grew up as compared to how Martinsville is."
HOW MUCH OF THE LAST FOUR RACES WILL THE 9 TEAM BE IN TEST MODE? "We're in race mode. We're trying to figure out how we can run the best that we can and race at each track that we go to. We're always trying to learn as much as we can at each track that we go to -- not only for this year, but for next as well. I feel like we can run in the top-10 the last five races and get 13th in the driver points. Maybe we get a shot at winning a race or getting a pole and learn at the same time for next year. We're not really 'testing', but learning as we go while trying to get better and better."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE ANY SPECIFIC CHANGES MADE TO THE CAR FOR NEXT YEAR? "I really don't know what changes to make because I don't know how to build a car. I can put a car together, but I'm not a guy who can put a chassis and body together. I think a lot of the crew chiefs who build these cars will have some really good ideas to help the racing with the car that we have right now if they're brought into the (car changing) process. But if they're not, then we have to keep on working hard to learn more about these cars to make them better. That's one way to do it, but it takes longer. The car has come a long ways from where we were a year ago. Engineers and crew chiefs could make this a better race car if they're allowed to."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE SMALLER FIELDS IN CUP NEXT YEAR? "I don't know. I like the size of the field as it is now, but we have enough teams to field 43 cars. If things get worse and we can't field a full field, then I think that we would have to make some changes to get more cars to show up."
DO DRIVERS HAVE A NATURAL FEEL FOR THIS RACE TRACK THE FIRST TIME THEY RACE ON IT? EITHER THEY 'GET IT'....OR THEY 'DON'T GET IT'? "I think that it's both. As a driver, I've learned a lot about racing here. But I also think that my car has gotten better at this track. The first time I was here, I could barely go around it. I wasn't even close to qualifying well here. The next year, I was better and the car drove ten times better than the year before and we ran second. It's a tough track and I think that some people pick this track up quicker then other drivers, but I also think that you need a car with a good set up to win a race here."
-credit: dodge motorsports