KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) WHAT'S YOUR OUTLOOK HEADING INTO THE WEEKEND HERE AT MARTINSVILLE? "It's nice to be here. I enjoy coming to this track. Just the difference in this place as compared to every other track that we go to...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
WHAT'S YOUR OUTLOOK HEADING INTO THE WEEKEND HERE AT MARTINSVILLE? "It's nice to be here. I enjoy coming to this track. Just the difference in this place as compared to every other track that we go to makes it exciting to come to each year. The way that you drive it, to me it's a lot of fun. The fans... it's kind of a family type track...it's a different place than some of the other ones. To me it's enjoyable. I drove up here this morning and I'll drive home Sunday afternoon. It's a little bit different and I enjoy it every time that I do it."
LOOKING AHEAD, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY...ITS UNIQUE SHAPE? "This place (Martinsville) you may be able to carry some things from here to Phoenix. It's another unique race track. The weather always seems to be good out there. To me, it's a neat place to go (race). We haven't run that well there. We've kind of been up-and-down there it seems like. I feel like this year, with where we're at right now and the gains that we've made in the last month, I feel like we've got another great Budweiser Dodge today. The car was really good to drive. Phoenix will be another track that we can run pretty good at. That's a track that I haven't really run that well at. Early on (in my career) I did...my first year. Since then, I haven't and I need to step it up there and figure out how to go fast there."
ARE YOU MORE LIKELY TO GET AGGRAVATED AT ANOTHER DRIVER HERE AS COMPARED TO LOWE'S OR CHICAGO OR KANSAS CITY? IS THERE A PARTICULAR INCIDENT THAT STANDS OUT IN YOUR MIND WHERE YOU GOT AGGRAVATED WITH SOMEBODY HERE? "I think that this is definitely a place where you can (get aggravated at someone) because the racing is close... things happen here...if somebody chops you off and things like that....you make contact and you can definitely get aggravated. At the other tracks, you can get aggravated for other reasons, aero reasons and things like that which will aggravate you. So I would say that's it's about equal at any of these tracks to me; definitely here as compared to a Chicago or Kansas.
"I had a pretty big incident with Jeff Green here one time. We had a problem on the track and a problem on pit road and then another problem on the track. It carried over for about a month, so I'm glad that I haven't had anything like that for a while. That is probably the only incident that I can think of here that carried over for a while."
LOOKING AT THE FIRST FEW RACES OF THE SEASON, HAVE YOU SEEN ANY SUPRISES...POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE? "No. I think what Penske (Racing) has done, what Waltrip's done, I think what Richard Petty Motorsports has done the last two races...even the Daytona 500 with all my teammates running up front really well...I think all three of those companies have done a good job and made some gains. Those would be my only surprises. Other than that, Jeff Gordon leading the points, which to me isn't a surprise. That can happen any year."
EVERY WEEK YOU'VE GOTTEN BETTER, NOW YOU'RE SIXTH IN POINTS, WHAT DRAMATICALLY HAS CHANGED? "Somebody told me the other day that I was sixth in points at this point last year too and I really didn't remember that. Thinking back, we were in the top 10 most of the first 25, 26 races. I feel like at Daytona we were all pretty good. I didn't think that the 9 was as good as the other three (RPM cars) with the car that we took there. We were all pretty decent. Then at California and Las Vegas, I was a little bit worried on where we were, where our performance was and what were we going to do to run good this year. I was actually kind of scared. The 12th and the 11th at those two tracks was just a total team effort and had nothing to do with our car even being a top 20 car. So, I think that our team did a great job. We showed up at Atlanta with a new setup and new combination that Kenny had been working on (Francis, crew chief) and the engineers at Petty Motorsports and it felt way different...way better...and we've been using that since...kind of working off it for each one of these race tracks. So I think making that step in a different direction with the car...mechanical. The cars have been the same since the start...the bodies and the chassis', we changed the setup and have been tweaking on it from there. To me, we've made a lot of gains and I think that all of my teammates are as well. They all seem to be pretty happy with their cars each week."
HAS HAVING COMPETITIVE TEAMMATES UNDER THE RPM ROOF HELPED? "I think that it's been good. It's nice. All four of us have our own opinions on what the cars are doing. The crew chiefs have their own opinions on what they need to do better or what we need to do better to go faster so that we can use all that information together. I think that it's a group effort right now. I feel like Kenny's done a great job for our team, but it's a group effort to get there."
WHERE DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE AT MARTINSVILLE? DO YOU FEEL LIKE THERE IS STILL MORE TO LEARN? "I think that there is more to learn. This is one of those tracks that you can learn a little bit here and there, but I definitely feel comfortable. I feel like the braking and the throttle and the steering and all that stuff...I understand where it needs to be. It's just a matter of getting that feeling and figuring out how to get it easier than not. Like if you miss it a little bit, you can still drive it and still get a good finish and that's where I need to work on that a little bit. But I feel like I know what we need to do. I think that we have a pretty good car again today. If you look at our results the last few years here, more times than not, something has happened here for some reason and it hasn't even been with wrecks. So as a team, we just need to put together a complete day on Sunday, if we do that, I think that we definitely have another top 10 out of us."
IT'S STARTING TO RAIN HERE, HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO GET A FULL PRACTICE IN TODAY? "It was really important. We ran the whole time and worked on our race car, kind of race setup for Sunday. I guess it looks like more rain tomorrow and qualifying didn't look good for today. I don't care if it rains or not, we can still qualify pretty good, starting sixth wouldn't be a bad spot either. And we did work on the car a lot for Sunday, so we'll see what happens now and we've got a good starting spot."
-credit: dodge motorsports