Dodges clinches 2004 NCTS Manufacturers Championship with Kasey Kahne's win KASEY KAHNE (No. 2 Team ASE/Carquest Dodge Ram) -- First "Just to win at Darlington Raceway -- this is definitely one of my favorite tracks if not my favorite track.
Dodges clinches 2004 NCTS Manufacturers Championship with Kasey Kahne's win
KASEY KAHNE (No. 2 Team ASE/Carquest Dodge Ram) -- First
"Just to win at Darlington Raceway -- this is definitely one of my favorite tracks if not my favorite track. It's a lot of fun to win here. It's a tough track. It's pretty neat to race underneath the lights tonight. The Dodge I drove tonight was just awesome. We had great pit stops, and the truck was perfect.
"I would have rather went back to green and just finish the race off. Yeah, I'll take a win any way I can get it for sure, but I really feel we could've held him off. The truck was really good. I could've run flat through turns one and two and strong through three and four. I think we could have run two laps really good and just won under racing conditions.
"I've wanted to run a truck for a long time, and I saw Jamie McMurray and P.J. Jones were the two guys going in and out of the No. 2 Dodge, and I asked Jim Smith (Ultra Motorsports, team owner) if I could drive it, and he said yes. I thought that we could run good. I didn't know how good. I had never drove one, and I wasn't really sure what to expect. But, I knew the truck was a great truck. (Ted) Musgrave always runs good, and (Ultra Motorsports) runs good here. So, I thought we had a pretty good chance to run up front and win the race.
"This was the first thing I drove today that was actually in the racetrack -- this truck. The Cup car was really loose. We pitted a couple of times, tried to tighten it up, but I just lost it. I should have either taken a little easier or came back in and tried to work on it some more. In the Busch car this afternoon we were showing cords on the right-rear at the end of the run. That thing was probably more loose than the Cup car, but we just never crashed. So, we didn't start out really well today, but we definitely had a good ending."
Will your brother, Kale, get a haircut now that you've won a race?
"My brother, I've heard people say that he said he's cutting it after I win a Cup race, so I doubt he'll cut it now. But, when I do win a Cup race, hopefully sometime in the next couple of years, hopefully he'll cut it.:
Were you aware of the Hamilton crash?
"On restarts the tires, I mean, you just barely touch the throttle and your tires are spinning. I was just trying to be as smooth as I could to pick up the throttle and shift to third. So, yeah, I saw it in my mirror, I saw it happen. I guess it was just a missed shift, and Hamilton, Sr., was right on him. There was really no room for the No. 4 to go. Bobby Jr., was definitely the second-best truck tonight, though."
Was it really different, racing under the lights?
"It didn't seem a whole lot different. It's tough to say. These trucks definitely drive different than a car. But, there may have been a little bit more grip under the lights. But, your tires still fall off really just as quick. You just might run a little quicker at the start of a run or a little quicker at the end of a run. But, they fall off just as quick. This track just eats 'em up.
Does this victory tonight give you confidence for tomorrow?
"Yeah. I'll definitely feel better waking up tomorrow, knowing I've won my first race of the year. As much as we race and test and try to win races, it sure is nice to win a race no matter what it is. I'll wake up happier in the morning, and hopefully we'll be able to take some of that and run really strong in the Cup car.
About the caution flag tightening up your late-race lead...
"I thought about it a little bit each way, just trying to figure out what was going on. My spotter was letting me know where the No. 59 was because he was on fresher tires. He was definitely moving up on us, slowly. I stepped it up there at the end. I think we definitely had a big enough lead to hold on at the end. I wasn't sure what was going to happen on that final restart. The crash didn't come up until the front stretch on the second... I don't know, but we had probably opened up a three car length lead on the No. 59 with seven laps to go, or whatever it was. I think we definitely had them covered tonight."