KASEY KAHNE - No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion (Finished 2nd) TELL US ABOUT YOUR NICE RUN OUT THERE TODAY "It was a solid run. The whole Budweiser team did a really nice job. We had the new Ford engine and it was night and day difference to what I...
KASEY KAHNE - No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion (Finished 2nd)
TELL US ABOUT YOUR NICE RUN OUT THERE TODAY "It was a solid run. The whole Budweiser team did a really nice job. We had the new Ford engine and it was night and day difference to what I had last week. I am really happy with the FR9 engine. For our first time racing it, it was a nice improvement. I think that bodes well for all the Ford teams. I think we will all run better now. I feel like we didn't lose 10 spots in the pits, I didn't make mistakes, we had good feedback and the adjustments on the car were good and the car stayed together. We have had a lot of down moments this year, so it was nice to put a full race together and feel like a Cup team and Cup driver. It is something for us to build on. I think we have to keep building on things because I don't believe we are out of the Chase yet. We are right on the edge of it and if we put together some top-five's and top-10's we will have a shot."
YOU SAID YOU GUYS MADE NO MISTAKES TODAY, YET YOU STILL DIDN'T WIN. IS IT THAT FRUSTRATING TO KNOW YOU STILL COULDN'T CATCH THE NO. 11? "Yeah, they have been like that for a copule of months now, so I wasn't surprised they were really strong. We made a huge gain and were way better than we have been. I don't like watching him drive away from me, but I wasn't surprised when he did. I thought we had a really good car and really good effort by our whole team but the 11 was just a touch better."
THERE WAS QUITE A BIT OF STEAM POURING OUT OF THAT NEW ENGINE, DID THAT CONCERN YOU OR WERE YOU HAPPY TO SEE THAT ENGINE COULD TAKE THAT? "The other engine handled heat well also, but it was nice to see that this one could handle heat. I ran from the white line up to beside the wall and it is easy to pick up debris. We covered the grill a couple times that way and got up to 280 or so. It cooled right back off though and it felt strong the whole race. It didn't feel like the engine was affected at all by the heat."
WHAT WAS BIGGEST DIFFERENCE FROM LAST WEEK TO THIS WEEK? "That is good to have five Ford's in the top-12. Five of the guys had this engine last week and I didn't have it. Last week I couldn't draft. I could get a run off the corner but when I got to the straightaway, they would pull away from me. That shouldn't happen. You should be able to get the draft and suck up. They have been working hard on this engine and it was nice to get it because I was able to suck up to the car in front of me, which is how it is supposed to work. It was nice to get on a level playing field. Now we just have to work on the car and on other things that matter to win the race. I didn't feel like we were at a disadvantage with the engine. I can go back to my Dodge years. Last year was one of the worst years our engines ran at Richard Petty Motorsports. It felt really good in practice when I sucked up to Kyle Busch on Friday. That made me feel like we had something, which was a good feeling."
DID YOU SEE THE DEBRIS ON THE LAST CAUTION AND WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR MIND WHEN YOU SAW THE YELLOW? "Yeah, it was a big piece of debris back there and I saw it. I felt good at the time because I thought we might have a shot. We had made gains and tightened the car up, so I thought maybe I could hang with him. I hung with him for about three laps, running in his dirty air, but he slowly creeped away. We were close, which was a huge improvement, so I am happy with it. At Darlington, Dover and Pocono we have had top-five cars and then had errors and couldn't finish. It was nice to put the whole thing together."
CAN YOU QUANTIFY IN NUMBERS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE OLD ENGINE AND THE NEW ONE? "I don't know numbers. I didn't ask and they didn't tell me. If you can feel it as a driver when you are talking 800-some horsepower on a two-mile track when you touch it all the way down the straightaway, it has got to be a decent number. It could handle heat and it supposedly lower weight which is good. I think Ford has made a really nice improvement and I was happy to be the best Ford today. Hopefully we can keep after it and be solid the rest of the year."
IS THERE MOUNTING FRUSTRATION FOR YOU IN MAINTAINING FOCUS WHILE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT YOUR FUTURE? "Not too much. All I really like to do is race. I don't really care about a whole lot of other things in my life so it is nice to focus on racing. When you have bad weeks and things happening, it gets frustrating. Yeah, you look ahead and think about it and maybe that you can't wait, but I made a commitment to Ray Evernham, George Gillett and Richard Petty and I intend to stick to it whether somebody doesn't like me there or whatever. I am going to stick to my commitment because I have worked hard there for six or seven years and Rick Hendrick is working on the rest."
CAN YOU LOOK FORWARD TO SONOMA FOR US, A PLACE WHERE YOU SURPRISED A LOT OF FOLKS LAST YEAR WITH YOUR WIN? "It was definitely a surprise last year and we felt really strong the whole race. Hopefully we can unload similar this year. It will be a little different with the new engine and see how it runs. I have always like Sonoma, even when I didn't run well there. I have always enjoyed racing there and trying to learn that type of racing. Hopefully we can put another top-10 together. There is a lot that goes on there that you don't have control over. There is a lot that goes on that you do have control of as well. Hopefully we can get some luck and put together a good race."
AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion (Finished 11th)
"This place confuses the heck out of me sometimes. The Insignia Best Buy Ford was awesome. We drove from 26th to 15th in two laps at the beginning. I thought we were getting on the right track but we got behind on pit stops and got in the back of the pack. From there we were massively loose. I haven't been that loose in a long time. Luckily the yellow came out at the end and Mike Shiplet and the guys made a good adjustment. We tightened it up knowing there were only 15 laps yet and I just drove my butt off. I am proud of the guys. We worked hard and it was my best career finish here. I am looking forward to Sonoma next week."
TELL US ABOUT THE FR9 ENGINE "That is the only thing that saved me. That is the problem. When you are really loose and put your right foot down, there is too much horsepower there now and you get wicked sideways. Doug Yates and everybody at the engine shop are doing an awesome job. This FR9 is so fast. It is good to come off the corner and get a good run and just blow by guys. We will keep working on it, but days like today are what make a team better. We weren't very good, but we were able to salvage a pretty good day out of it."
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 3M Ford Fusion (Finished 9th)
"We are still off. We got beat really bad off the start and I just don't know why. I felt comfortable with the car and I felt that if I could get out front then I could run with the leader. I know we can just from looking at the lap times. When you aren't fast enough you can't get track position and you can't get there."
COULD YOUR FEEL A POWER DIFFERENCE TODAY? "Yeah, we definitely have the power now. The power is there, we just need to work and get the car handling better. If we do that we should be able to get things figured out."
DAVID RAGAN - No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion (Finished 34th)
YOUR CAR WAS STRONG BEFORE THAT CONTACT ON PIT ROAD. "Yes, I felt like our UPS Ford was very good from the get-go and we were able to drive up inside of the top 10. I felt like our first couple of pit stops were very, very good. Our team did a great job in the pits and that contact was just a bad move. We thought he knew we were only coming in for two and would be cleared out of there, but he didn't stop and just knocked our right-front tire off and that really ended our day. We were strong all weekend and it's not the finish we wanted. We worked very hard all weekend and it's disappointing that cost us a solid finish."
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion (Finished 12th)
"We had a sixth place finish going there before NASCAR threw that caution to bunch up the field and that cost us at the end. I had a pretty strong car and Kasey had a strong car. That was the most competitive I have been for awhile and it felt good. Hopefully we can build on that for when we come back here soon. Man, I want to win a race here again so bad. We had a good day on pit road, I am proud of my team for that. We will move on and I really look forward to coming back here in August."
-source: ford racing