KASEY KAHNE (No. 19 Budweiser Dodge Charger) DID YOUR TEAM FIGURE OUT WHAT THE ISSUE WAS WITH YOUR ENGINE? "They're saying it was a piston and when NASCAR gives them the OK to take the engine apart and go through it, (we can) kind of see why it...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 19 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
DID YOUR TEAM FIGURE OUT WHAT THE ISSUE WAS WITH YOUR ENGINE? "They're saying it was a piston and when NASCAR gives them the OK to take the engine apart and go through it, (we can) kind of see why it happened. Our engine has been really reliable, so I was a little bit surprised."
WAS THAT ONE OF THE NEW R6 ENGINES? "Yes."
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT NOW FOR YOU KNOWING THAT YOU HAVE TO START AT THE END OF THE PACK FOR SUNDAY'S RACE BECAUSE OF THE ENGINE CHANGE? "We've come from behind here before. This is a good track that you can pass at; there's a lot of racing room. The aero side of things here is difficult like a lot of the race tracks. (The racing) will get strung out. Double-file restarts and things will allow me to get some spots back. It should be alright. We still want to qualify well today and try and get a good pit stall and make the gains we need to make tomorrow. Tomorrow's going to mean a lot, to get the car balanced and raceable."
WHAT'S YOUR COMFORT LEVEL IN MAKING THE CHASE? "Pretty decent. We've had a pretty good last couple of months. Our team has done an awesome job. Pit stops have been really good and our cars have been handling great. I feel pretty comfortable about it. Hopefully, we'll stay in the middle of it and do all of our jobs right, not make any mistakes and I think that we'll be alright."
SHOULDN'T THIS SPORT BE MORE ABOUT WINNING ON SUNDAY THAN THE CHASE? "It should be, but everyone loves the Chase. It's what everyone wants to talk about -- drivers, crew chiefs, sponsors. Everybody wants to be in the Chase."
HOW FAR BEHIND IS YOUR TEAM NOW THAT YOU MISSED THE MAJORITY OF THAT FIRST PRACTICE? "It will throw us back for qualifying this afternoon. Obviously our track position will be horrible at the start of the race on Sunday. After that, I think that it will be fine. We'll have all of our practice tomorrow. As long as we have a clean practice tomorrow, close to two hours of practice tomorrow. A lot of people were in qualifying trim this morning. I don't think that it hurts us that bad, it just the track position on Sunday that will definitely hurt us. We just need to figure out how to get through there."
SO YOU FIGURE 50 LAPS, 50 LAPS, and 50 LAPS FOR GAS MILEAEGE? "Yeah, that would be great. Our fuel mileage has come a ways this year. We've picked-up good fuel mileage with the R6. We just keep working on fuel mileage. Fuel mileage is key at a lot of these race tracks. Yeah, it's a good thing that we're gaining on fuel mileage and not hurt the power of the car."
CAN YOU GO 50 LAPS? "I don't know if we can or not. I don't know how many laps each window is for us."
DID YOU PUT IN ANPOTHER DODGE R6 ENGINE? "Yeah, another R6...that's our back-up (engine)."
DO THEY EAT UP MORE GAS THAN THE R5? "No. Our R6's fuel mileage is good. We've been able to get pretty good fuel mileage and not kill the power doing that. Early on, we weren't able to do that, but since we've had some time to work with it, it's actually been getting pretty good(fuel mileage)."
DO YOU RUN THIS RACE LIKE WATKINS GLEN (START CACLULATING PIT STRATEGY FROM COUNTING LAPS BACKWARDS)? "I don't know. I just drive. Kenny Francis (Crew Chief) comes up with the strategy. It turns into a fuel mileage race most times than not, so yeah, he'll have it all worked out and ready to go on Sunday."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW TIGHT THE RACE TO THE CHASE BATTLE IS? "It's close. We're all really on edge trying to make it, be part of the Chase. It's close from 15th to sixth, somewhere in there. It's a tight battle. Any little mistake can definitely cost you a lot of points and hurt your chances."
WHAT'S YOUR STRATEGY? "I just try and focus on my racecar. We're doing the same things that we've been doing, trying to get the balance where it needs to be so that we can race and be competitive on Sunday. Hopefully it works out. You definitely think about it, but there's nothing that you can do. All you can do is perform and try and run strong on Sundays. If we can do that, hopefully, it will take care of itself."
IF YOU'RE GOOD HERE ON SUNDAY, DOES THAT MAKE YOU GOOD OUT IN CALIFORNIA? "I think we will be strong in California, but it's definitely a different setup. It's a little bit different driving style. The track is a lot different than this track; same size and things, but a lot different. If you run good here, you'll run good there, but it doesn't mean that you're going to win.
"The banking is a lot different and the corners aren't as wide. This place is a little bit wider with a little bit more banking and smoother. The cars there bounce a lot more and it's slicker there. This place is slippery too, but California is pretty slick."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE A PROFESSIONAL AT BEING ON THE CHASE BUBBLE? "I'm a professional at that; I'm on it every year. I've only made it once, but we're on it every year."
IS IT ANY EASIER TO HANDLE? "I think the reason that it gets easier is because you try to relax and work with your team and do what you can there. It's all about the team guys and how everyone is stepping up together and communicating together. If we just keep doing that same stuff, then you got what you got. Hopefully, it's enough to make the Chase."
ARE YOU ABLE TO PULL ANY INFORMATION FROM THE 44 OR 43? "We don't use much from them. Everybody uses stuff from us."
WHAT ABOUT THE REPORT THAT YOU HAD A PHOTO SHOOT WITH TOYOTA? "I don't know what the deal is with that. I did my Budweiser photo shoot and obviously you guys know that it was a Toyota. Why? I don't know why it was. I'm Dodge, man. I think I'll be Dodge next year, truthfully. The Gillett's put a car in there to do the photo shoot and I took my pictures and hopefully I don't have to take my pictures again."
DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS AT ATLANTA, IS IT HAIRIER THERE THAN ANYWHERE ELSE? "Man, it will be pretty crazy there, but it's crazy everywhere now. Double-file starts....everybody is intense, nerves are up. It's pretty exciting. It's pretty on-edge. Atlanta, Turns 1 and 2 and again in 3 and 4, you're going to see, two, three, four-wide...four-wide, no problem. And it will be exciting. It will be good for the fans and nerve-wrecking for us."
-credit: dodge motorsports