KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) FUEL MILEAGE IS ALWAYS AN ISSUE AT MICHIGAN, HOW DO YOU CONSERVE FUEL DURING A RACE? "You lift earlier. You let your car coast longer. You don't get up to the higher RPMs." WHAT DO YOU THINK OF KYLE...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
FUEL MILEAGE IS ALWAYS AN ISSUE AT MICHIGAN, HOW DO YOU CONSERVE FUEL DURING A RACE? "You lift earlier. You let your car coast longer. You don't get up to the higher RPMs."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF KYLE BUSCH'S SUCCESS THIS SEASON? "I think it's been great. Those guys (No. 18 team) are doing a great job. He's driving perfect and his team is giving him a great car. That's their success; all those guys working together. They've been the best car all year long."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE RACE HERE ON SUNDAY AND WILL IT HELP YOU FOR CALIFORNIA? "I think it will help us somewhat. There are some similarities between here (MIS) and California. The track is a bit different. I'm not sure if it's the car or tire, but the way the car handles is a lot different at each track. At this track, it's two-miles long. It's bigger, it's open, you can move around on the race track."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT GOING BACK TO RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY TO RACE? "It's a great track. We've raced well there. We won our first Cup race (at Richmond). I like going to Richmond. I like racing there. Hopefully we'll be good enough to win the race that day."
WITH ONLY ONE DODGE IN THE TOP-12, IS DODGE BEHIND THE CURVE OR IS THERE SOMETHING SPECIFIC WITH AERO, CHASSIS, ENGINE? "No. In 2006, when I was right in the middle of it (Chase), I think I was the only Dodge. Last year, Ryan (Newman) and Kurt (Busch) were the only two that were really good. It just seems like it's always like that -- there are one or two (Dodge) cars that are really good. We have to keep getting better if we want to make the Chase and run well (in the Chase). We need to keep getting better. Our team, our company, they're doing a great job working with the teammates -- it's been good. We definitely have a lot of things that we can still do to run really well this year."
DO YOU SEE ONE PARTICULAR AREA WHERE DODGE MAY BE BEHIND? ""I don't know what the Chevy teams do or what the Toyota teams do. I know what the Dodge teams do and feel like they support us. I think there are things that we can get some more help on. I also think there are things that maybe we don't take enough from (support from Dodge). That's more for the people -- competition directors, owners -- people that work those deals with Dodge. Dodge puts out as much support as they can. The aero, chassis -- that's all our own stuff -- so it's not any different than anybody else. I think the main thing would be the engine and our engines run pretty well. I think our engine guys do a great job. I think that there are tracks that we are down -- the restrictor plate tracks we're probable not as consistently strong as some of the others. Our fuel mileage never seems to be as good as some of the other (teams) when we run full power and don't try and pull back the carburetor. Those little things on the engine side is what Dodge or NASCAR can help us out a bit on as time goes on. But everything else is really good and the teams just need to keep working hard and stepping up and doing the best job that they can."
DO YOU START TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO THE POINT STANDINGS NOW? "I look at it every weekend -- every Sunday night when I get home. I keep it in mind. If you want to make the Chase -- you want to run well. Consistency is the name of the game for us right now. We've been doing a good job of it. We've been right there every weekend. The cars have been really nice. They've been put together right. The engines have been right. It's been good. It's been fun to drive."
HAVE YOU HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT PATRICK'S (CARPENTIER) FUTURE WITH GEM? "No, I haven't. As a teammate, Patrick has been great. I really enjoy having him as a teammate. We learn things from him -- he learns some things from us. We work well together. As a driver, he was thrown into a really difficult situation. He's done better than I would have expected. I think the longer that he's in that (No. 10) car, the longer he gets experience, the better off he's going to be. It just takes time and experience. I think he's done a better job than I expected. From a person side, he's as good as anyone in this garage as far as being able to work with and talk about things."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT TONY (STEWART) AND RYAN (NEWMAN) WORKING TOGETHER? "It's not a big deal to me. It's neat that Tony is a part of that team. He got Ryan to be his teammate; that's good. I think Tony needs to have guys he knows that have won races before -- that helps the team. When you've won, you have certain ideas for what you need at certain race tracks. That's a good thing with Ryan and Tony, they both have those feelings to be able to help each other -- help the team -- and make things better quicker over there. Those two as teammates is no different than Jimmie (Johnson) and Jeff (Gordon) as teammates."
ARE JIMMIE AND JEFF A GOOD COMBINATION? "It's a great combination. I think that company (Hendrick Motorsports) is what makes it happen. All those guys working together -- just like me, Elliott (Sadler) and Patrick (Carpentier) -- our team has come a long ways because of all of us working together. It will be the same with Tony and Ryan. They'll work together. They've won races. They know what they want and it will make that team better quicker by having two good drivers that have won races."
THEY HAVE A REPUTATION OF BEING HARD TO PASS ON THE TRACK, PUTTING THEM OUT THERE TOGETHER -- WILL THAT MAKE IT EVEN HARDER? "You never know. Me and Tony have had very few problems. I've had problems passing Ryan and he's probably had problems passing me at times. They're not going to get two-wide and block everybody. I don't think it will be too big of a deal."
ARE YOU MORE COMFORTABLE IN THE COT TODAY THAN YOU WERE EARLIER THIS SEASON? "I think you get more comfortable with what you're looking for in the car. The more we work with the car, the better (the car) seems to get. I think our engineers and our crew chiefs are doing a really good job with the way our cars handle now. So as a driver, you know what you need and what you're looking for and you can work with those guys to make it better. So yeah, I'm much more comfortable in the car and a lot of it has to do with the car handling better and doing the right things. It was kind of an unknown earlier in the year as compared to what we wanted in the old car. But as time has gone by, we've figured it out more and more -- it's been a great season for us. We started out pretty good. I think we're better now and hopefully in six weeks, we'll be even better than what we are now."
-credit: dodge motorsports