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February 6, 2010
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
KERRY THARP: We'll roll right into our post race press conference for the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. We're pleased to be joined by tonight's race runner-up, that is Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Budweiser Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports.
Kasey, talk about the race out there tonight, how you thought things unfolded for the No. 9 car.
KASEY KAHNE: I thought it was a great race. I really enjoyed it. From the time it went green, we started 19th, just kind of marched our way up to the top three or four cars and raced there for the majority of the race. It was a lot of fun to have a Budweiser Ford that fast.
The Roush-Yates engine, the way it comes up through the gears, the way it races, the way you can get pushes and push other cars was something that was new to me and I enjoyed it. I thought it was pretty awesome.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for Kasey Kahne.
Q. Through the allowance of bump-drafting or through the new plate, whatever other changes made on the car, did it feel any different out there?
KASEY KAHNE: Well, to me, my car slid around a lot. But it always turned. You can't really get tight off these corners, or you can't push, because it kills your straightaway speed to me. The way ours was, it slid around a lot, but it was fast that way.
I thought it was some pretty exciting racing. I was on edge from the time it went green. Even the first 25, in intros, there were guys saying, Should we take it easy, we do this, do that. I felt it was on from the time the green flag came out tonight.
Q. Did you feel like you received more bump-drafting than normal?
KASEY KAHNE: I felt like I was getting hit and I was hitting cars. But I thought it was pretty similar, the way the packs get caught up. The thing is, you can get some huge bursts of speed and get some big pushes. More bump-drafting or any of that, I thought it was pretty similar to how it's been.
KERRY THARP: Let's hear from tonight's third-place finisher, that is Jamie McMurray. He drives the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi. Congratulations, Jamie. A good run for you. Talk about your run.
JAMIE McMURRAY: We had a great night. It's a wonderful way to start my relationship back with Chip Ganassi and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. You never know when you start out if you're going to like the setups that they give you or the cars, if you're going to have to work on all of that.
We unloaded pretty much with the setup that they built at the shop, and didn't change anything all night long. Pretty much the way we unloaded the car. We got caught up in that wreck. It kind of worked out to benefit us because the backup car drove a lot better than what the primary car did. Kevin explained to me after practice that they chose the third best car for the Shootout. Our backup car was the second best car. So it wasn't surprising to him.
But feels great to be back. It's just a really good way to start that relationship again.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions for either Jamie or Kasey.
Q. Kasey, what could you tell from the Roush-Yates horsepower? How did it compare?
KASEY KAHNE: The way the car handled was fairly similar to what we've done in the past. I still have the same team, so we're still doing a lot of the same things, which was really nice. I understand the way our cars feel and the way they're set up.
The biggest difference was just the engine. From the time it goes green up through the gears, second, third, fourth, it just pulls hard. You can get nice, you know, good -- I can bump a little bit and get bumped a lot. That to me was really good.
I was pleased. I was really happy with it. You come down here and you always see how well the Roush-Yates engines run in the past. They've won a lot of races at this track over the years. Yates has back. I feel like it was something to look forward to and I was real happy with it. Look forward to next week. I think it's going to be a great week for us.
Q. Jamie, did you feel you had one of the fastest cars during the race? You mentioned Matt did as well. Who did you think was really capable of being up front much of the race?
JAMIE McMURRAY: I thought the 99 had one of the best cars because we ran the first 25 laps and nobody could really clear him. He could work both lanes. It looked to me like, whether it was Stewart or Harvick or me, or even Kasey, if you got to the lead, you could only hold it for a lap. Carl was able to hold onto it quite a while. I don't know exactly what happened to him.
But I thought that Carl and Matt had really good cars. And honestly I thought that we had one of the better cars tonight. You know, the ECR engines run really well. They did a really good job at making the car drive great. That's what Daytona is all about. You know, when you can drive in the corner and the car doesn't wash up, you can run wide open on the bottom with guys on your outside, it's really hard to do that. I could run pretty much flat out the whole night. The car was really loose, but you were able to hold it wide open. That's what you work for in practice, is to be able to do that.
I'm hoping I can make some Twitter page at this point, too, so you know. If you want to send the highlight out, I'd appreciate it (smiling).
Q. Tony made a pretty aggressive pass between y'all near the end of the that first segment. Is that more of the kind of passing we are likely to see next week? Are the cars able to make that move a little better now?
JAMIE McMURRAY: Like what he said, with the package they have right now, you get stalled out when you get two cars kind of side-by-side. You're just able to get huge run behind the guys. It's not necessarily because your car is handling better. It's like the cars in the front get stalled out. Whoever is behind him, Tony got a bunch of those tonight.
I think it's just kind of a product of the environment we have right now with the plate and the endplates and the wing.
Q. Jamie, you talked a little bit about the engines. Given how strong you've been on restrictor plates in the past, with this new package, what do you think your chances are for next Sunday?
JAMIE McMURRAY: I feel really good about it. I mean, every race I finished at Daytona and Talladega, I finished pretty good. Just have to stay out of the trouble. Honestly, we had a little bit of a debate before this race even started about riding around in the back to start because they wrecked twice in practice within 10 laps. You know, I told them, This will be wild tonight because everybody is going to be amped up and ready to go.
But we elected to just race all night. Glad we did because certainly nobody likes to ride around in the back. But I think I know our other car has a little more speed in it. I think the aero numbers are better even on downforce, so. They tell me that other car is going to drive as good, if not better. Obviously we have a good setup for this track. Yeah, I mean, I feel as good about this year as ever.
Q. Jamie sort of answered my question. But for Kasey, every time rules change, even in a subtle way, you see something new when you watch the races. Is there anything in particular that you noticed about this package that you couldn't do with the previous package here?
KASEY KAHNE: Well, I think it's kind of tough. That's a tough question for me because my engine is so much different. My car runs so much different than it has in the past. It's hard to say that it was this that made you feel this way, the plate, the endplates. There was a lot of changes for myself at this type of a track.
I like everything that's been changed. I think it's more exciting. Definitely in the car tonight I was excited the whole time. There were a lot of times we were on edge. So I think the changes were good.
Q. Did the racing turn out like you expected it was going to be? First night out, people are amped up. New rules package. Were people racing like you expected? And, Kasey, were you worried being a sitting duck there not pitting like that? Biffle said he was.
KASEY KAHNE: I was a little bit nervous because I saw one stay. You would think more would stay out. The whole field came in. I was definitely nervous. My car handled good on the bottom. I needed to stay in front of cars. When we got one lap to go, who knows what was going to happen. It would have been pretty wild.
But, you know, we made it. It worked out well for us. Yeah, I don't know about the rest. I think it was good, pretty exciting. I liked the way the cars handled tonight.
Q. Kasey, as far as everybody starts with a clean slate next week. Does this win give you a couple of nicks on that slate or does it go away when you crank the engine up next week?
KASEY KAHNE: I think it goes away. This is a great night for us. We ran well in the Bud Shootout. We were up there all night with our Budweiser car. We had some things we learned. We didn't get a whole lot of practice. We didn't run that second practice because of the fender bender a little bit in the wreck with Kurt. We didn't run a whole lot in there. Tonight in the race I feel like I learned a lot. Talking to Kenny, there's things we're going to be able to make our Daytona 500 car even better than what it was tonight hopefully and have just as fast of a car throughout the whole week.
Q. There's a little bit of confusion. Might just be me. Did you think this race was supposed to end under green? Regardless, if you did or didn't, would you have liked to have seen it end under green?
KASEY KAHNE: I'm happy I'm right here. I mean, I don't know. I thought it was 'green-white-checkered'.
JAMIE McMURRAY: I'm the same way. On TV it said it must end under green. There wouldn't have been anything left. They would have just kept wrecking.
KASEY KAHNE: In the drivers meeting they did say one attempt at a two-lap 'green-white-checkered'. That's what I understood. The way it ended was normal.
Q. Jamie, can you talk about the problems you had that forced you to drop back in the middle of the race.
JAMIE McMURRAY: They told me to save fuel. The easiest way to save fuel is to push the clutch in, turn the ignition off. So I did that. When I turned the ignition back on, there was no power. Lost everything. I don't know why.
I've never had that happen. At Roush we did not run the kill switch on the steering wheel. So I didn't know if I hit that. I didn't know how you even know if that's on or off because I spent four years of not having it. They came on the radio and said, Just turn the master switch off and turn it back on. As soon as I did, all the power came back on. It worked fine.
I told them, I'm like, I didn't know that was going to happen. They acted like they didn't either. I don't know if we had something broke or what happened. But that's definitely not normal because everybody does that at the road courses and stuff. I can't imagine they have to reset that every single time. Something wasn't right.
Q. Jamie, can you also talk about that slingshot move you pulled with eight laps left.
JAMIE McMURRAY: Slingshot? Pretty cool. I didn't know I did that.
You just are able to get really big runs. The racing is not dramatically different, but it is in that way because we never were able to get runs without having two guys hooked up, you were never able to get those runs before. I like the package they have. I think it's going to put on a great show Sunday.
I tell you one thing nobody has brought up, that everybody writes about when it's bad. It rained really hard, and we haven't had any tire problems since we've been here. That's always been the story at Daytona the first few days in practice, that everybody has issues with tires. I think Goodyear should get their -- they're back. You know what I'm trying to say.
KERRY THARP: Pat on the back?
JAMIE McMURRAY: I think it's a really big deal they were able to bring us a tire. All the drivers like the way their cars drove. There weren't any tire issues at all. I haven't heard anybody even bring that up. And the cars are running faster. I know they were really worried. We're running about a second a lap faster than we have, so they've done a great job.
Q. Even with the subtle changes, are you sensing you're going to have a different strategy or have to think things through any differently come the Duels, the 500, when you can make your move? Can you make them later, earlier, work harder, not as hard on making moves now?
JAMIE McMURRAY: You can have that one.
The 150s are going to be different because it's going to be running in the daylight. The cars are going to drive really bad with the sun on the track. I know from the first Shootout practice to the second, it was a big difference in the amount of grip.
I think the 150 is going to be a little bit unique. The 500 is going to end around the same time as this one or dark.
KERRY THARP: Probably around 4, 4:30, 5.
JAMIE McMURRAY: Never mind. I'll have to rethink my question. It's always ended in the dark from what I remember. But it will be different running in the sunlight than what it is running at night.
KASEY KAHNE: Have to make some adjustments.
Q. Can you talk about how competitive the racing was. Was it more or less?
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, I thought it was really competitive. I thought, like I said earlier, when it went green, you know, I was two, three-wide for the 75 laps. I thought throughout most of the race there was action. At least where I was, there was action. I felt like I was in the mix and had runs going. I just felt like there was a lot going on. It was exciting.
So I thought it was a little more than usual and I was happy with it.
JAMIE McMURRAY: I agree.
Q. DW keeps saying with the bigger plate you're able to get out of the throttle a little bit if you have to, modulate a little bit more than you used to be able to. Is that true?
JAMIE McMURRAY: I never let off the gas. I don't know about him, but I ran flat out. The only time I had to let off is if I had a huge run, and I knew pushing the guy in front of me that I was going to shove him through whoever he was behind. I for the most part I didn't let off the gas.
I will say that I think the huge runs that everybody is getting is because we have a bigger plate. I don't think that a smaller plate would benefit anything. I mean, I think that's great they keep opening that up. It seems to give the cars more acceleration. I think what he's referring to more than anything, with the old style cars and everything, it took a long time to get everything wound up. If you got out of the gas, it would slow down and take you like a lap to get wound back up. Where with this, it takes one straightaway and you're kind of back to where you were.
KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, I agree with that. The thing about it is, like Jamie said, I drive like Jamie, I guess. We do similar with our feet. But there's guys out there that, you know, I've always known of Harvick to lift. You hear him lifting a lot. He's lifting tonight. He was lifting three years ago. I think it's a driving style. It's however you learn to race these types of tracks.
But he's definitely right on the plate. You can get speed up quicker than what you could in the past.
KERRY THARP: All right, guys, great show out there tonight. We'll see you next week. Thank you.
End of FastScripts