KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE NEWS THAT RPM WAS MOVING TO FORD IN 2010? "I was a little bit surprised with that, but I think that it's better for Richard Petty Motorsports in the long run. They're...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE NEWS THAT RPM WAS MOVING TO FORD IN 2010? "I was a little bit surprised with that, but I think that it's better for Richard Petty Motorsports in the long run. They're trying to build our company and make it stronger and I think that it will be a good thing."
HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING BACK TO FORD? "I think that it will be a bit different because of the way that our relationship ended last time. We'll have to figure out how to get through that and go on with it. What Ford's done in racing has been really good with Roush and Yates over the years. I'm happy with Dodge and what we've done here, but it will be a bit of a change next year.
"I think it's going to be beneficial for RPM. I think we're going to help them out too. We have some things that I feel are better than Roush-Yates have. I think their engines are really strong and they have a lot of people to work hard on both programs. If we work hard, it could be a pretty cool deal."
ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT YOU COULD END UP BEING A TEST DRIVER FOR ROUSH? "We have too many good people here...Kenny Francis...the way that our deal is run...we're no test team for Roush. We going there to work with Roush, help Roush, and Roush is going to be a part of Richard Petty Motorsports or however all that works out. I don't really know how it all works out. We're definitely not their test team."
YOU'RE CONFIDENT THAT YOU CAN BUILD ON THIS MOVE? "I'm confident that we do really well with what we have and when we get to work with a company like Roush, it should only make us better."
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST REACTION WHEN YOU HEARD THE NEWS? "It was Wednesday when I found out about it. I kind of knew that it was coming. A lot of you guys knew that it was coming before I did, so it got back to me before I was told. It was kind of crazy. Like I said, I have a good relationship with Dodge. We've won some races and feel like we can win some more races before it's over."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR MOVE BACK TO FORD DESPITE THE CONTENOUS WAY THAT YOU LEFT THEM IN THE PAST? "It really wasn't about me; it was about building Richard Petty Motorsports. Obviously I left Ford...we went through that whole lawsuit...I wasn't a big fan and they weren't a big fan of me. Time heals and I think some of those (Ford) people are gone that caused all that. They have new people there. Ford is really excited and I can work through things. I can figure how to get by and hopefully use those guys and work with those guys to become a better racer and help our company."
WILL LEAVING DODGE NEXT YEAR HURT YOUR ABILITY IN THIS YEAR'S CHASE? "It's not going to hurt us in the context of support. The people that we have that have worked hard to put us where we're at...putting the 9 car where we're at...are a lot of good people. They still want to win races. I want to win races and we want to run as well in the Chase as we can. Hopefully it doesn't affect us. It could, hopefully it doesn't."
DO YOU THINK ABOUT IT MUCH? "I've thought about it, but you really can't be concerned about it and hopefully it doesn't affect us and we just win some more races, run up front, run well, try and be consistent and get as many points as we can get."
HAVE YOU LEARNED TO LEARN HOW TO TUNE THINGS OUT? "I've had too. I've had to learn to tune things out and it's just not me, it's out entire team. Kenny Francis (crew chief) and this whole 9 team, when the pressure is on they're really good and when it's time to tune things out, whatever it may be since I've been here, they've been able to do that. We just go on with our races and our days and figure out how to be the best that we can. It's tough to do, but we've done a good job at it and I think that we can do that for 11 more races this year."
WITH ALL THE OWNERSHIP CHANGES THAT YOU'VE HAD SINCE YOU'VE BEEN AT RPM, DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR DECISION FOR 2011? "This final change is to make us stronger and to give us a better chance to race with all these teams and all these four and eight car teams that you basically have these days. It's tough. I'm going to look at everything and decide where I want to go. I've been a part of a lot of ownership changes. It can happen again."
THIS HAD TO BE A BIG SURPRISE? "Yeah, I just heard a little bit here and there, but I didn't really know until Wednesday and it happened Tuesday night, so I was surprised."
"I just feel good that they're working hard to make us...try and build our company and make it better. I think that's what this is all about...trying to make us better as a company. The Dodge deal was up and the Gilletts wanted to do something different. As far as RPM goes, they're just trying to make it better."
THE WINS THAT YOU'VE HAD THIS YEAR HAVE BEEN VERY TIMELY: "It's been nice because they have been well timed. It has given us momentum at the right time of the year. I've liked it. The team is a huge part of it. They are the ones that stepped up at Atlanta with the pit stops and Sonoma, giving me the car they gave me there. It's just nice to have those types of race cars once in a while and have shots at winning races."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE UPCOMING CHASE RACES ARE FAVORABLE FOR YOU? "We have to make the Chase first. I've always liked those last 10 races, those final 10 tracks. I've been good at all of them; I've been bad at all of them. You never know."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT NEW HAMPSHIRE NEXT WEEKEND? "It's a great track for us. I had a top-four car there last spring and the rain came and we ran 10th because of track position. If it hadn't rain, we'd have run top four; maybe even a chance to win the race. We were pretty strong there. It's a great track for us. Like I've said, we still have some more win to go with Dodge. Dodge has been great to me since 2004 and I feel like we can still win some more race with them before this year is over."
DO YOU THINK THAT WE'VE SEEN ALL YOUR POTENTIAL IN CUP? "I think so. We won six races one year and won poles, won at Sonoma...Atlanta when the pressure is on...California when the pressure was on. I think we can perform when things are right. If the team's doing a good job and my feedback is good and our communication (is good)...we've had that at times...not enough...but at times."
HAS RPM EXPLAINED TO YOU THE ANGLE THAT ROUSH WILL PLAY? "I don't know a lot about it either. I think it just kind of showed up on the radar this week. They way that they've explained it to us, it's going to benefit us. We were out a manufacturer and now we have one and that's a big part of Sprint Cup racing. At the end of the day, it's better for Richard Petty Motorsports and that's where I'm driving."
ROUSH HASN'T WON SINCE THE SECOND RACE OF THE SEASON. DOES THAT CONCERN YOU AT ALL? "They definitely haven't run as well as they have in the past. They're a strong team over there and they'll figure it out and run well in the Chase. Carl Edwards always does a pretty good job."
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD IN RUNNING WELL HERE AND MAKING THE CHASE? "I've thought about it. We need to figure out how to run well this weekend, and if we do that, we'll be in a good position come next week. It should be pretty awesome going into the Chase. We just need to get through tomorrow night, run good and we'll start off good in the Chase."
-credit: dodge motorsports