KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) -- Finished Second, Top Rookie "It (last 10 laps) went by too fast, I know that. I was hoping there was more at that time. Matt got out a little bit on us, and I was trying to reel him in. It got down...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) -- Finished Second, Top Rookie
"It (last 10 laps) went by too fast, I know that. I was hoping there was more at that time. Matt got out a little bit on us, and I was trying to reel him in. It got down to the last couple of laps and I wanted to start looking high in one and two around him. I kept seeing the 42 on the bottom. I didn't want to leave that open for him, either, and run third, but it was a great finish for us. We had some great pit stops all day, and it was fun to run second in a Nextel Cup race.
"I don't know how it's supposed to work. We'd lost contact with the spotter for a couple of minutes during that pit stop. I had nobody telling me where to go or what to do or anything. Finally they said go behind the 17 and that was fine with me. I think the fastest cars end up up front. I don't know how all that stuff worked out. I don't know when the yellow came out or anything. I didn't have any clue about it at the time.
"I was just trying not to make any mistakes, trying not to overdrive the corner. The tires kept going off more and more and you can overdrive the corner so easy. If I had done it once, it would have probably ruined our shot at winning the race or taken away the shot at winning the race. I was trying not to make a mistake and watching the 42 behind me, trying to close in on the 17. He got out a little bit there. As the 6 car got in between us and held us up for a minute and held us up just for a little bit. Then we got by him and the 17 was out by a good margin by then. We just had to start trying to reel him in. I wasn't sure. I couldn't tell. Coming off the corner I didn't think I had a shot at him, but the car kept coming, creeping closer and closer to him. If they had told me I had won, I would have thought I did for sure. They said I didn't, so I guess I didn't, but it was definitely too close to tell from where I was sitting.
"I still wasn't sure who won. Nobody told me. I was going through turns three and four and they said 17-9. I guess that meant 17 won and I was second. I wasn't sure until I got on the frontstretch and they said I ran second. Then we didn't get to go any burnouts where Matt ended up.
"Bill helps out so much. To have him around and have him helping. He came here and helped me out when we were testing. It's great to have him and Ray Evernham, and Tommy Baldwin made awesome calls all day in the pits. We just kept getting better and better. We'd lose track position and get it back by racing. We had a great racecar. It was just a matter of getting up front and staying there. That's what we were able to do at the end. I don't know if Bill was here or not today (Elliott was not at the track Sunday). He was here yesterday. He said he was coming back today, but I never saw him.
"I wanted to starting trying to see if I could work higher in one and two. The car was best on the bottom, but that's where Matt was running, too. I was going to try to get on the outside of him and keep him from running on the outside and three and four and that's where he was real good. We came close, but it was a matter of watching McMurray too, because he was good on the bottom. If he hadn't been there I probably would have tried a lot harder in one and two to get on the outside, but it was a great race. I think McMurray got under me once off turn four with two or three to go. It was close between all three of us.
"When I got the car turned and started to come under Matt in three and four I was trying to give it more and more throttle, but you can only give it so much. If it had got loose I would have lost my run. I kept feeding it and feeding it. Tommy Baldwin gave me an egg yesterday and told me to guard it and not to break it. I had that until the race started. I never broke it, and he was on the radio all day telling me to treat the throttle like an egg. I had to be real smooth on it. I had to do that off turn four and game up a little short.
"He brought it (egg) over to the motorcoach yesterday after the Busch race. It said 'your friend, the egg' or something like that. It was pretty cool and I never broke it. He was happy.
"I just didn't know what to do. I wanted to be excited. I'm as happy as I can be to run second, who wouldn't be at Rockingham? It's such a tough racetrack, but anywhere is in Nextel Cup. I didn't know how to think. I just kinda pulled over on the backstretch. They were talking on the radio and I was quiet. I decided to wait and see what was going on before I decided how happy to be.
"I'm a little bit surprised to run second. We beat so many good guys today, and that's a credit to the team. The Dodge Dealers team does a great job. They gave me a great racecar. To run second in our second Nextel Cup race together is definitely a surprise and a big accomplishment for us.
"I don't know if it made a difference (to have Mark Martin in the way) late in the race, but I definitely could have caught Matt three or four laps earlier if Mark wasn't there, but that's teammates. Hopefully me and Jeremy will be able to do that sometimes and give Ray Evernham a win."