KASEY KAHNE-38-Great Clips Ford Taurus (Finished 1st) "It feels great. To do it here, this new facility is awesome. It's a great race track and I'd imagine it'd only get better as races go on it. It's really exciting for myself and this whole...
KASEY KAHNE-38-Great Clips Ford Taurus (Finished 1st)
"It feels great. To do it here, this new facility is awesome. It's a great race track and I'd imagine it'd only get better as races go on it. It's really exciting for myself and this whole team, we've been working real hard all year. We had as good a car as anybody today. There were a few cars in the front that were real hard to pass because they were about the same speed and you'd get real tight behind them, but other than that, our car was awesome. In the open it was really good."
SUM UP YOUR SEASON.
"It was a good year. It was much better than last year. I learned a lot last year, and coming into this year I've been with a better team, better sponsor, better owner. It's been awesome. It's just really worked out good for myself to learn things and we've had a lot of good races and a lot of bad races and we ended the season on a good note, so hopefully that will carry into next year and we'll have a lot of momentum going into next year."
CAN YOU CLARIFY WHO IS YOUR ENGINE SUPPLIER?
"We've had Pro Motors all year long. I've seen a few different times, there's been articles and different posters or magazines that say Robert Yates engines, but it's been Pro Engines all year and they've done an awesome job. We've had really good horsepower, especially on a lot of tracks similar to this."'
YOU SEEM TO ADAPT TO NEW TRACKS QUICKLY, WINNING ON YOUR FIRST TIME OUT.
"That's what I did in '99 when I moved to the Midwest and raced Sprint cars. We pretty much raced all over the place and every track I went to basically was new. I think it was real cool to come here this weekend; there isn't anybody here who has more laps than I have. Nobody knows this track more than I do. I think it helps myself and helps our team. It's something we've been doing all year long because this team hasn't had many notes, so we pretty much get our own notes when we get to the race track. Some races we've taken off real quick and other races it's taken us a while to get where we want to be. This is big for nobody to be here and be the first race."
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO WIN YOUR FIRST RACE ON A DAY WHERE MOST EYES WERE FOCUSED ON THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
"It feels good. It's the last race of the year and our team has got as much momentum as any team going into next year and everybody will be real excited all winter long preparing cars and building new cars for next year. It feels real good, and Brian Vickers and that whole team, they deserve that championship, they deserve everything that is going on out there. That's cool that they were able to do that, and that's good that we won to go out on a good note."
WHY DID YOU PIT EARLY IN THE RACE AND TALK ABOUT WORKING YOUR WAY THROUGH THE FIELD.
"I thought that I had a tire going down. This track, for some reason, our tires picked up a bunch of rubber, more rubber than I've ever picked up on a tire under caution. And, I was going back and forth and just felt like there was nothing there so I thought that I had a tire go down, but it was just a bunch of tire buildup. It did it the rest of the race, but I got them cleaned off better the rest of the race. I screwed up there. We passed a bunch of cars, but then we had real good pit strategy to take no tires just fuel on that stop 35 laps in and that got us back in the front where we belonged."
AT WHAT POINT DID YOU FEEL YOU COULD WIN YOUR FIRST RACE?
"The last month or so, every race that I went to I felt hat we could win. After practicing here on Tuesday and practicing again on Thursday I knew that we had an awesome race car. Every time when I got back into it it was just as good as when I got out of it and that's not always the case. I felt pretty good going into the race today."
WAS TIRE WEAR EVER A CONCERN?
"Yeah, Wes Ward told me about 35 laps till we pit, and I think that was about 70 or 80 laps on those tires, and I was like, 'Man, I'm trying to take it easy on that right front.' That was when we were running third. I wasn't too nervous because we've had really good tire wear all weekend, but other guys haven't, and it was about building a lot of tire heat. I was a little bit nervous, but the tires felt good and never started shaking and nothing ever happened. They felt real good."
WITH GUYS POINTS RACING, WAS IT EASIER TO EXPERIENCE SUCCESS HERE TODAY?
"I think it might have been a little bit. I was wondering at one point in the race, David Green, I don't why they were a lap down, but David Green was a lap down, Brian Vickers was a lap down and you never see that. I was kinda thinking back, it was under a long yellow, I was thinking back, man, I remember Tony Stewart last year here when he was racing for the championship, he was a lap down and he just had to beat Mark Martin by so many positions, and I think they really had a lot of pressure in them coming in, so I doubt that they drove their cars as hard as they could every single lap like I could. It didn't matter as much for us, we were just going for a win, that's all we wanted."
WHAT YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU SAW OR HEARD THAT MATT KENSETH WAS FALLING BACK?
"I was kinda happy at the time. It happened and we were faster than him. I would get to him and then I would get tight and start getting tight and my car would slow down a little bit because I would heat my right front up a little bit, so I would fall back and then I could reel him back in if I wanted. It was just a matter of passing him. It was a good car like that, and Matt was running the track. Matt actually taught me a little bit of where I needed to run if somebody caught me at the end of the race. I was remembering that just in case the 8 or somebody did catch me. When Matt slowed up there in one and two, it was kinda nice to be out in the open and my car was way faster after I passed him."
HAS IT BEEN TOUGH TO CONCENTRATE ON RACING WITH ALL OF THE RUMORS ABOUT NEXT YEAR?
"I knew this would come up sooner or later. Really, when I'm in the race car, even thinking about racing, I don't think about all of that other stuff. The only thing when I was leading, that was probably the longest 20 laps of my rain career. I was just really focusing on hitting my marks and running as fast of a lap as I could every lap and we were running pretty consistent."
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR?
"My situation, I really don't know now. Seriously, I wish I knew more. It's been the same thing I've been saying for the last month and a half, and it's kinda getting old. I wish I knew exactly what I was doing but I don't. I definitely want to be in the Great Clips car next year in the Busch Series."