Texas II: Kahne - Dodge Friday interview

KASEY KAHNE (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE POSSIBILITY OF MOVING A CHASE DATE TO LAS VEGAS?"I think it would be cool. I think we need to go to Vegas twice. We need to go to tracks twice where you can fill up...

KASEY KAHNE (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE POSSIBILITY OF MOVING A CHASE DATE TO LAS VEGAS?"I think it would be cool. I think we need to go to Vegas twice. We need to go to tracks twice where you can fill up the grandstands and where you can sell souvenirs. Where you can put on a good show and the people watching on TV can look and see that the place is packed and they want to come to that race next year. Like Bristol and Daytona -- some of the places that we go to where you get great crowds. I think going to Vegas would be awesome."

WHAT ABOUT LOSING ONE RACE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE? "I like New Hampshire, but we've got to look at what makes the series stronger, and I think going to Vegas (twice) makes the series stronger. There's other tracks you could look at maybe pulling a race from also that definitely aren't helping right now."

WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THE FINAL THREE RACES OF THE SEASON? "We've really stepped it up. The team has, I think that I have, the team definitely has and things are going good. We have the same group of guys and we are starting to run better like we knew we could. Atlanta felt awesome to run. I think we started eighth or tenth a few different times and drove all the way up to third or second, or second and third, and led a couple laps under caution and the crew got me in and out of the pits quick. We're close. I think we're getting closer. We have this week and we have Homestead and then Phoenix is a COT race, so you never know there. I think here and Homestead if we get to run the same car; we have a shot to win either one."

CAN YOU TELL A DIFFERENCE WITH RAY EVERNHAM BACK IN THE GARAGE AND MORE HANDS ON WITH THE CARS? "I can tell the difference with Ray being back. I can tell the difference with some of the people that Ray's hired. The Gilletts have taken over and given us a better foundation and given Ray a better opportunity to get out there and help the teams and put the right people in place. I think it all goes back to when the Gilletts bought the team. It's opened up some more doors for us and for our company. It's going to get better as time goes."

HOW WAS THE TWO DAY TEST IN ATLANTA? "Really good. It was our best COT test, probably one of our best tests of the year. We're making gains. We started off the first practice and weren't very good. I thought that by the end of the first day we were better. The second day we made some pretty strong runs, so we're definitely getting better with the COT, the regular car, everything that Kenny Francis and our whole Dodge Dealers team and been working on lately is getting better."

WAS IT A MATTER OF BEING TOO TIGHT? "Oh man, there was all sorts of things. It was two days of testing. You go through everything -- tight, loose, out of track, four tires out, four tires in -- it's a two day test. Its 16 hours you're not going to just be tight."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE BAHRE FAMILY AND WHAT THEY HAVE MEANT TO THE SPORT? "They've meant a lot. I don't know them very well, but they're definitely a good family. They've done a lot. They've done a lot for Ray this year. They do a lot for every team that comes up there, and for all the drivers. They take care of you. It's a first class place and I really enjoy racing there, but as far as what makes sense for them and what makes sense for NASCAR and how to keep growing the sport, I'm not sure. That's a good family. You don't get too many families like that in the sport."

WHY ARE YOU SO GOOD AT HOMESTEAD? DID YOU JUST TAKE TO THAT PLACE RIGHT WHEN YOU STARTED? "I don't know. I've always liked it. It worked well the first time that I got on the track in the Busch car and then the Cup car. We've always been good there."

DID YOU HAVE WATER IN YOUR FUEL SYSTEM FOLLOWING THE LAST RACE? "All our cars had some water. It didn't affect us on the track. It didn't affect to where I could feel it from sitting behind the seat, but all our cars had water when we got home."

HAVE YOU HEARD NASCAR'S EXPLANATION? "I'm not sure. I just think that the good thing is it's happened. We'll probably keep a closer eye on it, so we should be fine for a long time."

ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE OFF-SEASON? "I can't wait. I feel pretty good right now. I mean we've had a good month. We've gained some points. We've started to get better results. The year is about over, but I'm still ready. You know it's like man this has been a long year, get through the next three and have some long runs and head to the Bahamas."

ARE YOU GOOD AT NOT DOING ANYTHING FOR A WHILE? "Not really. I always find something to do. I can't just sit at my house. I can find things to do and hang out at my sprint car shop."

HOW HAS THE COT IMPACTED THE SPORT? HAS IT CHANGED THINGS?"I think it's changed things a lot. I think it showed what team has the most resources, which teams can run a COT car strong and their other cars strong and not get behind throughout the year better than the other ones. It showed the big teams and the teams that aren't as strong. It showed how tough it is to make it work and from a driver's standpoint, how bad it feels when it's not right. As things get better like they are for us now, it's like man this isn't too bad of a race car. It's still not as good as what we have, but it's not too bad and I think as time goes on, it'll just keep getting better and better and pretty soon we'll enjoy driving it."

THE CAR WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DESIGNED TO SHOWCASE DRIVER ABILITY, AND EQUAL OUT THE EQUIPMENT, BUT YOU JUST MENTIONED THAT IT IS THE BIG TEAMS THAT ARE BENEFITTING FROM IT. "I think in the future that is going to be good. It's good. They had to do something to keep the bodies and some of these things, everyone running similar stuff to where it is more the setups, and the drivers, and the communication -- that kind of stuff. I think that's the good part, but when you throw something like that in with another racecar, it's who has the most resources, who has the biggest teams and who has the most money. That's who's going to win and that's who's won all year long."

IS THAT STILL GOING TO BE THE CASE NEXT YEAR? "It'll start opening up more and more, but as far as this year goes, that's what it's all about this year."

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING THAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO AFTER HOMESTEAD? "Well I'm not going to New York. I wish I was going to New York, but I'm not going to New York. As soon as Homestead is over, I'm going to go race Turkey Night. I haven't raced it in three or four years. I think four years. I'm going to go race that in a midget and a sprint car and then I'm going to go on a boat trip for a week."

WHAT IS THE COOLEST THING YOU'VE EVER DONE DURING THE BREAK? "Whatever with my family. Either going on vacation, going skiing, going snowmobiling, going to Australia -- I always do it with my family, so those vacations have been the best."


WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO GO DURING THE OFF-SEASON? "One of my favorite times of the year, if I didn't race, would be the snow. Whether it's skiing, snowmobiling, building a snowman, I mean I don't care as long as it's something kind of exciting and fun. There is always something you can do in the snow and have fun."

WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR PHOENIX NEXT WEEK? "I don't know. Really, we are just trying to get our COT better and trying to work on that and get it to turn. We have Manzanita two nights. Sprint car racing out there that my cars will be at. I don't take my motorhome, so we stay at hotels and eat good food every night and go to restaurants. I look forward to all that stuff. I look forward to eating out in Phoenix."

ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT COMING HERE TO TEXAS - A PLACE THAT YOU'VE HAD SUCCESS IN THE PAST? "I'm excited to race here. Last week was our first week where we really turned things around and felt like we had a car that was capable of winning. We brought that same car here. It's the best car that we've had all year by a long, long ways. It gets you excited. You feel like you've got a shot."

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO WIN TWICE HERE AT TEXAS? WHY HAS THERE BEEN ONLY ONE REPEAT WINNER (Jeff Burton)? "I don't know. We came close here last year. We still weren't going to do it. We ran second here to (Tony) Stewart. We ran first in the first race and second in the second. I think it's definitely something that can happen again. It'll happen."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton