KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) NOTE: Kahne, a three-time winner on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Circuit this season, ranks fifth in the series standings heading into race No. 15 of 36 on Sunday at MIS. Kahne has scored top-10 ...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
NOTE: Kahne, a three-time winner on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Circuit this season, ranks fifth in the series standings heading into race No. 15 of 36 on Sunday at MIS. Kahne has scored top-10 finishes in the past three races and moved from eighth to fifth in the standings. He's just 22 points out of fourth place and 41 points behind third.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR AT MIS?
"You hope your engine runs good. You hope your aerodynamic package is good and the balance. I think we've figured out a lot of things on our Dodge Chargers at the mile and a half tracks this year, and really we ran pretty good at California. I'm looking forward to it. We've got our best racecar here. This car is three for three. Hopefully we can get another top five and keep gaining in the points. We want to have a consistent run. We've got a couple of top 10s in a row here and we want to keep that rolling. We've got to do everything right. I know the car is going to be fast and we'll be able to work on it and make it better."
TALK ABOUT MIS BEING A FUEL MILEAGE TRACK
"You really don't want the race to come down to fuel mileage. You want the best car to win most of the time. Jeremy got a win with fuel mileage here last year, and that was great for Evernham Motorsports. I think going into a race you want the best car to win and you want that best car. We do everything we can to communicate and get things right."
DO YOU PLAY VIDEO GAMES?
"I've really never liked playing video games and probably never will. Maybe when I have kids or something I'll get them playing video games and I'll get more involved. I've just never been able to do it. My fingers don't work good enough on those little remotes."
COMMENT ON THE UPCOMING ROAD RACE AT SONOMA
"That's been a tough track for me. We've struggled there a little bit. I've learned a lot working with Boris Said the last week and a half. I think Kenny Francis and the team will bring the right racecar for me and we'll go out there and be pretty good, but it's tough. Fuel mileage, pitting at the right time, there's a lot that goes along with running well there and winning there, I don't know if we're quite there yet. I just think about keeping the car on the road and bringing it home in one piece."
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE ON THE ROAD COURSES?
"I'm fairly comfortable with it. I like that kind of racing, and I'm pretty comfortable with driving there. It's just about how much speed I'm carrying. I don't carry quite as much speed as Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart carry. I just have to learn how to do that, how to get my Dodge Charger to go around the track a little quicker."
COMMENT ON RETURNING TO DAYTONA IN JULY
"I'll be happy to go back there. We ran 11th in the Daytona 500 and probably had a top seven car. I'm looking forward to it. We don't have that car any more after the Talladega wreck, but we have another one that should be pretty good. The night race there is always pretty cool because the track loses some grip. Everybody gets running up at the top and if you're good enough you can pull down and pass cars. It'll have a lot to do with handling and getting our Dodge Charger running good."
HOW WOULD YOU GRADE THE TEAM SO FAR THIS SEASON?
"I think on consistency and communication we're doing great. My team is doing an awesome job. I think I've stepped it up this year from where I was last year and haven't made the mistakes I made last year. We just need to keep doing that. As a team, I think we're doing really good. We've had a couple of things happen this year and we've lost some points, but it really wasn't anybody's fault. It was just part of racing. We'll try to keep those out of play in the second half of the season and try to stay in the top five."
DODGE HAS WON MORE RACES AT MICHIGAN THAN ANY OTHER TRACK SINCE RETURNING TO NASCAR IN 2001. IS THERE A REASON FOR THAT?
"I think it's just coincidence. Fords are really good here, and so is Chevrolet and Dodge. I think our engine package runs well everywhere. They've been awesome this year. This will be a track where they will probably shine a little bit more. I know fuel mileage plays a factor here and races are won here by that. We'll just try to get our car in the right place and go for it."
CAN YOU PREPARE FOR A FUEL MILEAGE RACE?
"No. Jeremy just got in the right position and won last year. That was a good call. It just worked out for them. Jeremy saved fuel and they made it. I don't know how you plan to do that. As soon as you plan to win like that you're going to finish about 25th, and that's about where they were going to finish if it hadn't worked out for them. It worked out and it was awesome. I was happy for those guys. We ran out of gas with two to go. We were on different fuel strategies."
IS IT DIFFICULT FOR A DRIVER TO SAVE FUEL?
"You can save a little bit in each straightaway. At Sonoma, you go into that race not thinking fuel mileage but fuel strategy. You have to pit at the right time to be up front at the end of the race. It's happened here, but it won't happen this week."
DO YOU NEED MORE CUSHION IN THE POINT STANDINGS?
"I want more cushion. You never know what's going to happen later in the season. It would be nice to get more cushion and keep working our way up. I feel like we're a top five team right now. These guys are doing an awesome job. We've stepped up communication, and I haven't been tearing up racecars. I think we're right there. We need to have a good run this weekend, keep it on the road at Sonoma and go to Daytona and try to have another great run there."
KASEY KAHNE AND OTHER NASCAR DRIVERS WILL COMPETE IN THE MOPAR D1 ALL-STAR DUEL ON AUG. 31 AT IRWINDALE SPEEDWAY IN CALIFORNIA TO BENEFIT THE KASEY KAHNE FOUNDATION. KAHNE COMMENTS ON THE DRIFTING COMPETITION.
"I think it's going to be a great event. Bill Elliott and Greg Biffle are confirmed and so is Robby Gordon. It's going to be a lot of fun, but we're going to need to practice to keep up with these guys. We've got to figure out how to slide these cars all around. We're proud to have Mopar be a part of this. We're going to have Vipers and hopefully we'll have our Dodge Chargers ready by then. We're going to all go out in the parking lot somewhere and try to learn how to drive these Vipers and Chargers sideways. It should be a great event. Hopefully we'll get all the drifting fans out there and raise a lot of money.
"It'll be fun to slide the cars around for three or four hours with the drifting drivers. I just asked Greg Biffle about it and he said yes, but that's the way Greg is. He's sideways all the time on our racetrack. He's definitely the kind of guy that will like it. Bill Elliott is all go on it. The other guys are checking their schedules. My dirt track days were sideways, but it'll be so much different on pavement. I watched it last night and they got real crazy. I know the NASCAR drivers will be able to do it. The D1 drivers are very good and they'll more than likely beat us, but it'll be fun."