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October 12, 2013

Kasey Kahne

Matt Kenseth


KERRY THARP:テつ We're going to roll right into tonight's Bank of America 500 post‑race, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race No.5 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.テつ Our race runner up is Kasey Kahne.テつ He drove the No.5 Quaker State Oil Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, and Kasey, certainly had a very, very competitive race car out there tonight.テつ You led a lot of laps, contended for the win, and just fell a little short.テつ Just talk about your run out there this evening.
KASEY KAHNE:テつ Yeah, we had a really good Quaker State Chevrolet throughout the whole race from the time it started, and it was really solid until about lap 160 or so, it changed a little bit, and then we had to‑‑ (inaudible) just got it back.テつ At that point we lost our speed and was then kind of second to Jimmie.テつ We took two at the end.テつ That was a great call to stay on the front row there and have a shot.テつ I was able to clear Jeff.テつ I thought I did pretty good, but as soon as I got to Turn 1 my left side was a little bit‑‑ I could feel they weren't working quite as well.テつ They were just rough, kind of bouncing a little bit, so I knew I was in trouble at that point.テつ So I just tried to run good laps, and Brad caught me and I tried to switch it up and find momentum and find speed.テつ He got by me in 3 and got back by him the front stretch and then he came up again.テつ He ran a really good race and they were close, but felt really good, felt strong the whole night.テつ I wish we could have won, but this was a good race for us considering the last four races.

Q.テつ Given the struggles you had in the last few laps, did you ever get a sense that you were going to be able to catch him, or did you kind of resign yourself that it was going to be a challenge?
KASEY KAHNE:テつ Yeah, he got by him, he got back by him and he was able to keep with me on the corner and I knew what his car felt like compared to mine because of tires.テつ I was trying to find speed, and after he got by me I found a little bit up high in 1 and 2 (inaudible) still could get through there pretty good, and Brad ran a strong race and did a good job and we fought until the end, and I got into the wall in 4 coming to the white (inaudible).

Q.テつ I know it's not quite the finish you wanted but what kind of momentum boost is this?
KASEY KAHNE:テつ Yeah, it's a good boost.テつ Charlotte always gives us a pretty good boost.テつ We always seem to run pretty well here.テつ We always have, and hopefully we always do.

Q.テつ Kasey, Brad was talking about how he felt comfortable racing with you even though you guys raced so hard.テつ He said there's other guys who freak out when he gets that close to them but you have a good respect for each other.テつ Can you talk about that?
KASEY KAHNE:テつ Yeah, I think we do.テつ I could feel him a lot, not too much the first half of the straightaway but towards the end of the straightaway getting in he'd really put pressure on me, on my left‑rear quarter or my right rear depending on which side he was.テつ I could feel him.テつ It would move my car.テつ He did it down the whole backstretch once and I tried chasing him and just about lost it in the middle of the back straightaway.テつ So we ended up playing kind of the air game and trying to give our cars as much speed as we could.テつ But neither one of us ever came close to wrecking each other.テつ It was just about racing hard.テつ He drove it into Turn 3 way far to clear me, and I got back under him, so it was a great battle.テつ I had a good time racing with him.テつ We came out on the wrong side of it.

Q.テつ On the restart were you wondering, where is Jimmie, why isn't he coming up behind me?
KASEY KAHNE:テつ Well, I saw Jimmie.テつ He started right behind me, and we went‑‑ I was racing Jeff, so I didn't look in my mirror until I cleared Jeff off of 4, and then I didn't see Jimmie once I cleared Jeff.テつ So I was coming to complete the first lap after the green flag.テつ I had no clue where he went.テつ I didn't know if something happened or what.テつ And then I saw him again later in the race.テつ He came back through I think to fourth or fifth.テつ Either way I was surprised.テつ I don't know what happened to him.テつ He was strong the last half of the race.テつ He was really strong.

Q.テつ Kasey, intermediates seem to play well for you but you mentioned that Charlotte always gives you an extra big boost.テつ What is it about this place that brings out the best in you?
KASEY KAHNE:テつ I don't know, we just always have ran pretty good at this track.テつ I wish I knew how to get my car to drive like it does here at other places.テつ I don't know if it's the tire or the track itself, what it is.テつ But we just always run pretty good here.テつ It's a confidence, kind of always gives us confidence when we leave here.テつ So it's nice.テつ Hopefully we can run to Texas to test and hopefully we can run pretty strong the rest of the year.テつ I don't want to finish last in points, so we'll see what happens.

Q.テつ In victory lane, Brad said there are a handful of guys you can't race hard with in this deal because they freak out, but Kasey Kahne is not one of them.テつ I know you kind of addressed this a little bit, but do you kind of agree with Brad's assessment, and do you agree that if so, are you guys among those that seem to not have a problem racing hard?
KASEY KAHNE:テつ Well, I think there's a bunch of guys like that myself, that I've raced with.テつ But yeah, I don't feel like me and Brad have a problem racing.テつ I think we've raced hard in the past and we'll race hard for a while.テつ But tonight was a good battle.テつ He had four tires and I had two, and I did all I could, and he just got by me and cleared me.
I don't know, I always race him pretty good, and we raced hard.テつ I don't really know what else to say about it.

Q.テつ With the testing coming up on Monday and looking at rules for 2014, with all the slicing and dicing you were doing out there but then a bunch of people bitching about the cars being tight and everything else, where is the balance that we're looking for moving forward with what changes, modifications need to be made to these cars?
KASEY KAHNE:テつ I don't know.テつ I heard they have a lot of ideas and some different things to try, I think, I'm pretty sure here Monday.テつ We're not part of that test, but I would imagine they'll learn some things.テつ I had a great car tonight and I could race pretty good, but everybody is just so fast.テつ All the cars, all the teams do a really nice job, and if you look in practice, the speeds are so close, we qualify and are all within I think the top six or so, within half‑a‑tenth or a tenth or somewhere in there.テつ When everybody is running those types of speeds, it's going to be tough to pass regardless of‑‑ it just is.テつ Hopefully they keep looking at stuff.テつ I think the tire is a big part of it, and I think Goodyear definitely gave us a better tire this week to race on than last week, so I definitely thank them for that.テつ But I think the tires can always get better and help the racing and the cars, as well, and hopefully we learn some things in the next week to keep gaining.
But tonight's race wasn't too bad, I don't think.
KERRY THARP:テつ Kasey, thanks for putting on a great performance tonight, and we'll see you at Talladega.
Next up is our third‑place finisher in tonight's 54th annual Bank of America 500, and he retains his points lead in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Matt Kenseth, four‑point lead over Jimmie Johnson.テつ He drives the No.20 Dollar General Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.テつ Certainly another solid, consistent performance for you.テつ You were up front most of the evening.テつ Now we're halfway through the Chase, you go to Talladega as the points leader.テつ Your thoughts about tonight and maybe also about the fact that you're the points leader halfway through?
MATT KENSETH:テつ Yeah, I mean, you want to be the points leader after the second half is the most important.テつ But yeah, certainly glad we're still leading.テつ Tonight was a big positive for us.テつ It was a little bit of a struggle this weekend more than we anticipated.テつ I didn't get a good lap qualifying, and that was really the start of us being behind tonight.
About our second or third adjustment, Jason and our group really hit it and really found something that I liked, and our car started driving really good.テつ I could pass really good, start working our way up through the field.テつ It was such long runs and long greens that they got really far ahead of us.テつ Overall I was really proud of my whole Dollar General team.テつ They had a great pit stop there at the end, did a great job with adjustments.
The way the night went, it was crazy.テつ We fired off that last restart and the two cars in front of me had two tires, and I couldn't believe that they figured out how to give me a chance to win again, and I am kind of disappointed that I didn't figure out how to win it with the position he put me in and the good restart I had coming out of Turn 2 in second.テつ I thought for sure I'd have a shot to go around Kasey, and just couldn't get it done.

Q.テつ What's your main takeaway from the weekend?テつ Are you happy with where you finished and holding onto the points lead and that Jimmie kind of‑‑ that team gave it away, or are you disappointed you didn't come in here more competitive at the start?
MATT KENSETH:テつ I'm not disappointed at all right now.テつ It's hard to answer this.テつ This is a tough deal.テつ It's hard to run up front every week.テつ It's hard to win races.テつ It's hard to do all that.テつ And I felt like tonight the 48 probably had us beat.テつ I'm not sure about the 5 overall because I didn't race with him that much and hear lap times and we were coming from the back.テつ But I felt like we had in between a 2nd and a 4th or 5th place car at worst.テつ We finished there or a little better so I'd call that a successful night.テつ Like I said, they put me in a chance to win there at the end and being greedy of course you want to win and you go out and do everything you can do and I couldn't get it done but yet for where we started and how we were the first two runs of the race, I thought my whole team did an incredible job.テつ I was happy where we ran, happy where we finished.
I feel like you've got to be able to run in the top 5 every week to have a shot at this deal.テつ I know you're not going to finish there every week, but I think you have to be good enough to finish there every week and not make mistakes and hopefully get good finishes.

Q.テつ After the race Jason Ratcliff said something along the lines that he learned something on that last run.テつ Did you guys have time to discuss it yet?

Q.テつ And?
MATT KENSETH:テつ Yeah, I'm going to tell you what it is.テつ That's why I started laughing before it got out of your mouth.テつ Yeah, we talked for about five or 10 minutes on pit road, a couple things about the car and a couple things we did for adjustments for what we'll maybe do next time, just those kinds of things.テつ They did an incredible job tonight.テつ I'm sure I had him frustrated by run 2, because I was getting cranky that I couldn't get my car to turn, and man, they did some really nice adjustments to really wake it up.テつ That's hard to do on pit road these days, and they did a good job of that.

Q.テつ And your pit crew has been pretty spot on most of the season.テつ They stumbled a little bit tonight.テつ You think it's just a night race or is everybody just going to have an off night, or for you to come back the way you did was pretty stellar.
MATT KENSETH:テつ I'd have to look into that a little bit more because I didn't really think they had an off night that I know of.テつ There was a couple stops that were a little slow and we lost a couple spots, but I know we were pulling spring rubbers on at least two of those stops, and that's always going to slow it down.テつ I think one time we put a rubber in and only lost two spots which I thought was pretty incredible.テつ And then at the end there, they nailed it there at the end.テつ I was the second car out on four tires, but the first car out on four tires was three spots ahead of me coming down pit road, and they beat the 18 off pit road that last stop and got me in a position to have a shot at it.
They've been really on it.テつ They've been doing a great job.

Q.テつ Complexion of the race changed greatly with that debris caution with 26 to go.テつ Jimmie said it seemed to indicate he didn't really see it.テつ Did you see the debris that brought out that yellow?
MATT KENSETH:テつ I didn't really look for it, so I don't know.テつ You know, for us we were going to‑‑ where we ended up finishing was where we were going to finish on green today.テつ Obviously with Jimmie dominating, and he didn't get the win, you know he's going to have‑‑ I'm sure‑‑ I don't know the right word to say here, bother him more, but you know he's going to think about it more.テつ I honestly didn't look and I didn't even think about it, because the caution came out, I more tried to get caught up and got on the radio to Jason immediately and started talking about what my car was doing and changes and what we wanted to try to lead, how my car was on the lead lap, those kinds of things, just to get ready for our pit stop.

Q.テつ If it doesn't come out (inaudible)?
MATT KENSETH:テつ Honestly I couldn't see the 48 and I couldn't see second place.テつ I could see third place and I was running 18 down by three tenths a lap, and I have no idea how far down first and second‑‑ I don't think I was going to catch first, but I don't know how close him and Kasey were.テつ If they were close to battling or what.テつ I couldn't see that far.テつ I don't think I was going to catch everybody and beat them, but I thought we were going to run third.

Q.テつ A lot is made of Jimmie and their team and the golden horseshoe that they seem to have.テつ I'm curious if you feel fortunate that you were able to beat them on a day when they were so dominant?
MATT KENSETH:テつ Yeah, I'd feel more fortunate if we would have won, for sure.テつ But yeah, I mean, that's a hard one to answer.テつ I guess if you're talking about points, you always want to finish ahead of the guys that are close to you and that you're racing.テつ For sure you want to finish ahead of them.テつ But for me, like I said, I think the finish was the same with or without the caution for me, but obviously it looked like he was leading all laps and out front there at the end when the caution came out.
That's part of the sport.テつ You just don't know when the caution is going to come out, and these restarts are crazy.テつ You've got to be good on long runs and restarts and all that.テつ Some nights are easier to restart than others.テつ Last weekend, for instance, we could do okay under green but got all those restarts.テつ Man, I would lose four or five spots every restart we were so loose.テつ Every weekend is a little different.テつ You're never sure what's going to happen.

Q.テつ It was a positive night for you, good night.テつ Does all that go completely out the window when you go to Talladega because it's so random?
MATT KENSETH:テつ No.テつ I mean, not really.テつ Certainly it's a lot different.テつ I mean, there's really nothing I can do to make the car go faster.テつ When you qualify and all that, and if you don't have the speed in a race there's not a lot you can do.テつ But man, our car was really fast the first Talladega race.テつ We just led all day and disappointing finish, that last green‑white‑checkered I didn't do the right things and we kind of got freight trained and didn't finish as good.テつ But I think it all depends how you want to look at it.テつ You can sit and be nervous and think about crashing and think about losing points or you can look at it as an opportunity and look forward to going there.テつ Anything can happen, but go there and try to work hard and try to keep your car positioned up front somewhere and lead some laps and go try to win the thing.テつ That's kind of the attitude I go with.テつ You never know what's going to happen.テつ You might be disappointed when the day is over, but to be nervous about it and disappointed about it and all that before you even go is probably a waste of time.テつ So I'm just going to look at it as an opportunity to go there and hopefully we can be up front like we were in April and hopefully we can figure out how to do the right things at the end.
KERRY THARP:テつ Matt, we'll see you at Talladega.

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