KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON RACING AT POCONO THIS WEEKEND? "We've made some nice gains on our car the last few weeks. This is a track that I've run really well at in the past, so hopefully (Pocono)...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON RACING AT POCONO THIS WEEKEND? "We've made some nice gains on our car the last few weeks. This is a track that I've run really well at in the past, so hopefully (Pocono) will be good for us."
HOW MUCH HAVE YOU HAD TO THINK THROUGH THE DOUBLE-FILE RESTARTS THAT NASCAR HAS IMPLEMENTED THIS WEEKEND? "Truthfully, I really haven't thought it through. The biggest thing that I've thought about is the benefits (of the new rule) and how it's going to make (the racing) better. Certain things can happen throughout the race and no matter if you have double-file (restarts) or single-file or lapped down cars, whatever can throw your race off. Last week we ended up a lap down because we pitted when some of the other cars pitted and the debris caution came out and we were a lap down. The way that I look at it is, now we're racing with the cars that we are racing. Whether you're a lap down and you're racing with the lap down cars or you're on the lead lap and racing with the lead lap cars, it's so competitive right now...cars are all so equal...that it takes your tires to fall off...it takes your car to slow down and things like that before you can pass a car. If you sit there and race...if you restart 10th and you're racing with lap downed cars... or the guys inside of you...or the two in front of him for 20-25 laps, you may never even see the car in ninth (position) or eighth to try and pass them. To me, I just think that it's going to be more competitive for us in a good way because you're racing the cars that you're racing. You're not having to pass guys that are just as fast and ended up a lap down because they had one bad run."
WHAT HAS BEEN THE FEEDBACK THAT YOU'VE HEARD ON THE PERFORMANCE OF THE R6 ENGINE YOU USED LAST WEEK IN DOVER? "I drove it last week, I'm the only (Richard Petty Motorsports) one that's been able to drive it so far because we just haven't had enough (engines) done (built). We don't have it this weekend, we have the R5. From what I felt last week, it was a big improvement. I think the engine runs better off the corner and it gets you down the straightaway better. To me, the biggest problem with the R5 is we just could never get off the corner as good as the other cars. Whatever brands they were, they would beat us. I thought (the R6) was a huge improvement. I felt equal to anyone last week. It's not as big of a deal at Dover as it might be at Charlotte or a track where its momentum when you're coming off the bottom with lower RPMs, especially when there is somebody on the outside with momentum. I still felt like we were much better. Around my teammates, I was definitely better than them just straight-up engine wise. I think (the R6) is an improvement. I can't wait to get it some more."
CAN YOU TALK ABOU THE TIRE TEST THAT YOU PARTICIPATED IN THIS WEEK AT INDY? "I really thought that the tire test went really good. I've been at a bunch of them the last year and to me, the tire drove as good as any tire that we've had there with this car. It actually probably drove the best that we've had with this car. They (tires) didn't blister. They didn't cord. They looked really good. I was real pleased. I think that it's going to be a great tire to race on if it's the tire that we'll race on. I'm pretty sure that it is...everybody was happy with it. I look at Goodyear and think that it has been tough, difficult for them to figure it all out. I think that they finally found something that's going to work really well there and it's something that they can use to make our tires better at other tracks as well. You feel like you're in the race track and the tires fall off, so you're losing speed at the same time. Last year was terrible to have the Brickyard 400 the way that it was, but I think that we're going to gain something out of it. Goodyear's doing a good job to make those gains and make the tires good everywhere and not just Indy."
WHY DO YOU NOT HAVE THE R6 IN THE CAR THIS WEEKEND? "The biggest thing is that it took us a while to finish it up and to have it ready for Dover and we just don't have enough of them (built). I was the only one there (at Dover) out of the teams (four Richard Petty Motorsports teams). They all had the R5, just because we don't have enough of them done and this week we don't have enough of them ready. I think Michigan is the next race that we'll run it (R6). I'm looking forward to that because that's definitely an engine track."
WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ON THE NEW RESTART RULE? "It's going to change it. It's going to make it interesting. We really won't know until we get out there and race with it...just the All-Star race (was it used in the past) where there is no points, nothing on the line other than just going for it. We probably won't know exactly what's happening, it will take a couple weeks of racing it this way. Just looking at it, I really think that it could be better for all the teams, drivers and the sport."
WHAT ABOUT GOING UP HILL AT SONOMA; DO YOU WANT THE INSIDE OR OUTSIDE LINE? "I've seen it both ways there on the start of the race because the guy (pole sitter) gets to choose (which line he wants). I don't even remember which one that I choose, whatever one we took it worked, we led for two laps. Having the leader be able to choose is a big part of it because the leader should be in control; should be the one (in control) regardless of single-file or double-file. (The leader) should be in control of the race. So for (the leader) to choose it's a good spot."
WITH DODGE POSSIBLY COMING OUT OF BANKRUPTCY THIS WEEK, DOES THAT GIVE YOU ANY MORE CONFIDENCE, ANY LESS CONFIDENCE OF THE FUTURE OF DODGE'S INVOLVEMENT IN MOTORSPORTS? "I like what we've been able to do with Dodge in the past. They've treated us really well. They've done a lot for me and Richard Petty Motorsports. I don't know what the future holds."
-credit: dodge motorsports