Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING DURING THE RAIN? "Really, I have just been bored. We came up here to race. With the weather, we've just spent a lot of time in the rain or just waiting. There is not a...
Kasey Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING DURING THE RAIN? "Really, I have just been bored. We came up here to race. With the weather, we've just spent a lot of time in the rain or just waiting. There is not a lot to do in these motor homes. You run out of movies to watch, TV shows and these satellite dishes don't work when it rains as hard as it has. You just wait and hope it quits raining so you can get out on the track."
TALK ABOUT HOW THIS DISRUPTS YOUR PLANS FOR THIS WEEK "I really didn't have anything planned. Not sure what I was going to do. Tuesday and Wednesday definitely was going to be tire tests at Atlanta; do tire test with the COT car. We expect to use those tires for this year and for the first race next year when we go back with the COT car. It was going to be a good test. I was kind of excited to get there. I've never been on a track that big and fast with that car. So, it was going to be a new experience. Nashville's the biggest track I have been on with the (COT) car. It would have been nice. It would have been exciting to go, see how things worked and see what the car felt like at Atlanta. That is one of my favorite tracks, if not my favorite track. So, it would have been pretty cool to kind of feel it out, be part of that tire test and see what we maybe we are going to get to run."
WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT BUILDING TO NEXT YEAR? "That's the only thing I am thinking about -- being prepared next year and being strong when the season starts. It's going to be good that it's back to one car that we can all work on and make better. At the same time, we haven't been that great in that car (COT) either. We've been a little bit better than the car we have here at Michigan, but we haven't been where the Gibbs, the Hendricks and the RCRs have been. We definitely have some work to do there. It's been a tough start, a tough season, trying to figure out what we need to do to make these cars work."
THE PROSPECT OF RACING AT MICHIGAN IN NOVEMBER "I don't know if you can schedule it that late in the year up here. You could get lucky or you may not get lucky. I would hope we can get it in, probably not today but hopefully tomorrow. I don't care if it goes green and we get to lap 100 and it starts raining again. I just want to get this race done with. Nobody wants to come back in November. Our season is long enough for the drivers, the crews, the teams, the media, the fans; I mean it's long enough for everybody. It would be nice to just get it done now as far as I can see. Hopefully, we'll have better weather next year when we come back here and put on a good show for the fans. We're definitely not going to get fans whether you do it today, you do it next Monday or you do it in November. The fans were here earlier in the week and they're at work now."
THE ATTENTION YOU'VE BEEN GETTING OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS HAS CHANGED TALK ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES "The commercials, I think, have been a big part of that. Our performance at times has been really good and you get a lot of notice. Driving the No. 9 car has been a big part of that also, where Bill Elliott got out of it and had done so well in the past. All of that stuff together with the commercials and with being on TV, being out there has been big.
"I'd rather just walk around by myself personally. I like just walking around by myself, with Denny, or just us two walking around, signing autographs. Some of these tracks like Michigan, and Texas and Bristol, the ones where the fans are everywhere and there's so many of them. It's really tough because they'll block you, they'll put you in a square and you can't get out of it. They'll put you in a box and it gets worse and worse every year. It's not a bad thing. I don't think it's a bad thing, but I can only imagine what Jeff Gordon and Dale Jr. go through. They try and avoid some of that crowd once in a while. I can kind of see what they're doing. I don't have that crowd around me, but it's tough. They don't do it because they don't want to see those people, it's because you just get trapped. There are so many fans and so many people that are after an autograph or a picture; it just gets tough once in a while."
IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU HAVE TO BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT WHEN YOU START A RACE WITH A CAR THAT HASN'T BEEN ON THE TRACK FOR 48 HOURS? "This to me is really good for Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Our best day is Friday. That's all there is to it. The more rubber that gets on the track, the hotter the surface gets, the slippier it gets, and the further we go backwards. So when the track is green and it's cooler out, that's our best chance of running in the top-10. So like I said, if it could go 100 laps, I think it would still be the greenest. At 200 laps, we're going to be slower. So hopefully it only goes 100 and we're in and out and the race is over, for me. I'm looking out for myself. That's our best chance at getting a good finish here."
WHAT'S THE DRIVER'S MIND-SET WHEN YOU'RE RACING ON MONDAY "I don't know what it is. We'll have more green flag stops, more green flag laps. It just seems like every time this year and in the past it's like that. It's fine with the driver to go through that and have those days. I think it kind of goes back to racing on a Friday. You're racing on a green race track. There's a lot more grip. Everybody's car handles better with grip. And as the track gets slippery, your cars get worse. They're worse beside cars, they're worse aerodynamically. If they're behind a car, they're worse. By the end of the race there's going to be a lot of rubber, but still not like having three days of rubber and three days of sun on that rubber. There is just more grip in the race track and the cars are easier to control."
WHAT'S YOUR ATTITUDE NOW WHEN YOU COME TO THE TRACK "I would say the excitement is not quite as much. Because you go into the weekend understanding where you're at and you understand that's it's really tough to run like we did last week and expect to run this week like we did last year. The competition is so difficult, it's not like you just gain all that in one week. If you were, there would be blowouts in the series and that's not happening. I think that you may not be quite as excited. Every weekend that I've gotten to the track this year, I've had high hopes of turning things around and going fast and getting things better. This weekend we come in, we're pretty good in practice. We qualified great. I don't think there was a car here that was as fast as we were. I think we were the best car here on Friday for overall speed. The longer the weekend goes, the more things get back to the way they seem every week. It's disappointing. You get out of the Busch car after Saturday's race and you just want to go by yourself somewhere. It's not what you're looking for. It's not anything that is exciting. Sunday you get excited just for that race and then you get into the race and the longer it goes and the hotter it gets, you have more cars to pass. Every week I've gone into it with high expectations and hoping that we can make gains and make strides and I think that we have to a certain point."
HAVE YOU EVER HAD SUCH A LONG RAIN OUT AS THIS? "Nothing like this. Not since I've been in Cup or Busch it hasn't been like this, where it rains this hard. To rain as hard it's rain this weekend. Usually when it rains, I can still sleep but it's been coming down so hard on the motorhome that last couple nights I can barely sleep. It's been some serious water out here."
DONNIE WINGO (Crew Chief, No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger)
HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT TO BE SITTING HERE IN THE RAIN FOR THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE DAY? "It just puts everything behind when you've got so many people here because we've got a lot of people here that's normally back at the shop working and it just kind of puts everything behind. Actually we had a test planned for today and tomorrow at St. Louis, which it's raining there, so we cancelled that. It's just trying to get everything back and get ready to go to Bristol and Fontana."
HOW MANY YEARS HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOU FACED THE POSSIBILITY OF A RAINOUT ON SUNDAY AND MONDAY? "It's been a long time since we've had that and it looks like today, from everything I've seen is going to be a washout. Hopefully we'll go ahead and stay until tomorrow and get it over with. If not, I don't know what the plans will be."
IS THERE A GOOD PLAN OR GOOD OPTION? "The best option I think, you've got everybody here now you might as well get it over with and get it run. Hopefully that's what they're going to do. I think that's what their plans are and if we can get it in tomorrow it'll be a whole lot better than trying to come up here Monday or whatever after one of these Saturday night races we've got. We've got one of our guys jacking the 40 car [David Stremme] now since they've lost their jackman. That's kind of our go to guy at the shop, which kind of puts us behind on that. So with everybody being here it does put everything behind at the shop. But I've talked the guys at the shop. We've still got four guys back working on our stuff, just giving them things to get buttoned-up to make sure it's done that we don't have any issues when we get back as far as getting the Bristol car finished. They're actually working on the Fontana car and that's what I'm doing now, sending the Fontana setup to them."
HOW FAR COULD YOU PUSH A RAINOUT HERE AND STILL MAKE IT TO BRISTOL ON TIME? "I think we could actually run it Wednesday, just so we could get out of here at a decent time Wednesday, get it started early Wednesday morning or something like that. But I mean it's going to push everything to get to Bristol on time if they stay until Wednesday. Our Bristol stuff is pretty much done, it's just the fact of getting back and getting everything buttoned-up, get the trucks swapped around. And plus some of our parts are in St. Louis for Bristol."
HOW MUCH WILL THIS AFFECT YOUR SETUP WHEN YOU GO RACING HERE? "I think it's going to change the setup a lot. Most of the time here when we get rain like this until they get some rubber down I feel like the cars are going to be really, really loose. Normally that's what happens here. NASCAR said in their meeting yesterday they were going to have a caution at 25 laps so that'll give us a chance to see kind of how much we need to adjust the car and then later on how much we'll have to adjust it as it goes on."
HOW MUCH BETTER ARE YOU FOR THIS RACE VERSUS JUNE? "I think we're a lot better than we were. I know we qualified better but everything has been a lot smoother, his feel for this place, his line, knowing what the car needs, it's been a lot better so far."
Tony Glover (team manager of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)
HOW DOES THAT CONSISTENT RAIN AFFECT THE TEAM AS A WHOLE? "Most of the teams in here are staffed well enough and far enough ahead that it's really not a big issue. You hate if for the guys spending another day away from home. Obviously you want to keep the guys as rested as you can. It's something that we've all grown accustomed to. When we leave we bring enough clothes to say an extra day or tow. We try to stay far enough ahead at the sop. Our crew chiefs are on the phone back to the guys at the shop talking about Bristol. They're making sure we're prepared for Bristol so it's not really a bid deal."
WHAT ABOUT THE CREW GUYS WHO COME IN FOR RACE DAY? "That is the biggest discomfort about this deal. Fortunately we have some guys here and at the shop that do a really good job at securing things like that. Our rooms are already secured for tonight. Everything is posted on each truck. On rain outs sometimes you won't get the same hotel room back, you'll end up going to a different hotel. You just have to stay on top of it and be organized."
WHAT IF THE RACE GETS POSTPONED UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR?
"Hopefully that will not be an issue. NASCAR has always had thing under control and they continue to have things under control. They have an A plan, a B plan and a C plan so I'm sure those guys have everything taken care of. Basically I try not to worry about stuff that is not under my control."
-credit: dodge motorsports