CHEVY NSCS AT DAYTONA MEDIA DAY — Kasey Kahne Press Conf. Transcript

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
DAYTONA SPEEDWEEKS MEDIA DAY
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 16, 2012

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET, met with members of
the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed his recent
surgery, Hendrick Motorsports and snow in his home state of
Washington. Full Transcript:

IN REGARDS TO HIS RECENT KNEE SURGERY: “It is tight and swelled up but
it is a lot better today than what it was yesterday. Each day it gets
better, it’s crazy how quickly our bodies heal.  I have had my right
knee done a couple of times so I kind of knew what I was getting into
when it happened.  I just knew I needed to get it fixed as quickly as
I could. It’s probably not the ideal situation to head to Daytona
with, but I think it’s better now than any other time of the year.  It
should be fine it won’t affect my racing at all. “


YOU HAVE A LOT OF EXPECTATIONS ON YOU.  WHAT WOULD CONSTITUTE A
SUCCESSFUL YEAR FOR YOU THIS YEAR? “For me I would say successful
would be consistency and to win races.  We have been close for a
little while now.  I just feel like we have a really good team.  We
have the best engines we have ever had.  There are a lot of parts and
pieces that are going to be there for us and we have a lot of great
guys to lean on as well.  It’s going to be an awesome year, but I
think consistency, winning races would be great for us right now.”

DO YOU PUT ANYMORE PRESSURE ON YOURSELF BECAUSE OF THE SITUATION OR AS A NASCAR DRIVER ARE YOU ALREADY UNDER PRESSURE?: “I  always come into
each year and have my own idea of what I want to do, work hard and get
that done.  It doesn’t always happen that way, but try to do the best
we can and when you go to Hendrick Motorsports you know you have the
car and the engines and all the opportunity to succeed.  We just have
to be sure that we communicate really well throughout the season and
stay on top of it.  We will have a great year.”

IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU HAVE COME ACROSS IN THE SPORT LIKE ANOTHER
DRIVER OR A CELEBRITY THAT LEAVES YOU STAR STRUCK?: “Maybe when I
first came in, meeting some of the drivers, the first time I ever met
Jeff Gordon, it was at a sushi restaurant.  I had dinner with him,
Jimmie Johnson and Jason Leffler, it was 2002 or maybe event 2001
somewhere around that time and I was just kind of in awe of those guys
at that point in time.  Now we are teammates a lot changes in 10
years.  As far as celebrities goes, meeting anyone that you are a big
fan of, I met Aaron Rogers a few weeks ago and I think he is pretty
much as good as it gets right now at the quarterback spot.  I have met
several musical guys that were really cool guys like George Strait,
Eric Church, Blake Shelton just different guys you meet over time.
It’s pretty awesome to actually get to say hi and shake someone’s hand
and go listen to them for an hour or so.”

WHAT WOULD IT DO TO YOUR LIFE IF YOU WIN THE DAYTONA 500? “I think it
would change my life some because the race is such a big race.  NASCAR
does so much with it and there is so much media involved in winning
the Daytona 500 that it would definitely be a huge boost in someone’s
career even mine at this point.  It would be something great to have,
a race that you won that is as big as it gets for us.  I would love to
do it.  I don’t know when or if it ever will happen, but I would
certainly love to win the Daytona 500.”

DO YOU EVER THINK IN ADVANCE OF WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO WIN THE
DAYTONA 500?: “I never have of Daytona.  I have a lot of other tracks
that I think a lot about and things as you go throughout the season
that are difficult to drive and stuff, but I never have, but it would
be the biggest race that I could win.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE IMPACT THAT KENNY [FRANCIS, CREW CHIEF] HAS
ALREADY HAD AT HENDRICK? “He is just a thinker.  He is just spot on
with a lot of things, he just thinks about it for a long time and
really looks into it and figures it out before he talks about it or
before he tries it.  He brings a lot to the table, so it is neat to
see how much Hendrick Motorsports welcomed Kenny to the organization
and how much he thinks of those guys as well.  It’s been a great
position that we have been in this off season.”

HE WAS SAYING AT MEDIA DAY THAT A LOT OF THE GUYS AT HENDRICK, NOT
ONLY THE CREW CHIEFS BUT THE EMPLOYEES HAVE THEIR OWN WAY OF DOING
THINGS AND HE HAS A DIFFERENT WAY OF DOING THINGS: “Yeah and that is
just something he has come up with over the years.  He raced, so how
he looks at stuff maybe a little different, but he has been with a lot
of different teams, so he has had to figure those things out.  Why
this works here but it didn’t work there.  He has had the opportunity
to experience a lot of change and some of those other guys haven’t.  I
have too and I think sometimes that can help in certain situations.  I
think he is just a really good fit for Kenny to go over there and work
with the guys there.”

IS IT A RELIEF FOR YOU TO GET TO A SITUATION LIKE THAT? GIVING THE
TURBULENCE THAT YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED AT DIFFERENT POINTS IN YOUR
CAREER TO GET TO A SITUATION THAT IS THAT STABLE? “Yes, for sure, you
just feel really confident.  You know what you have.  You know what
your owner expects and he can expect it because he gives his employees
and all the guys that opportunity to build and prepare cars capable of
doing what he expects out of it, when you are in that situation as a
driver you just can’t not be happy about it.  It is really exciting to
hear Mr. Hendrick talk about what he expects for the season.  We are a
part of that now so we need to step up and show him that we want to
make him happy.”

YOU WERE PICKED EIGHTH IN THE NASCAR MEDIA POLL. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE
BETTER THAN THAT? “I feel like that is probably a good start.  You
never know how long it will take to get used to some of the new
changes, some of the new parts and pieces that we haven’t worked with
in the past on the cars and things.  You just don’t know how long that
could take.  I think eighth is a pretty solid spot for us.  At times
last year we were better than that, at times last year we were worse.
Hopefully, we are eighth early in the year and we keep getting better
as the season goes.”

WITH ALL THE NEW FOR YOU DOES THE SHOOTOUT TAKE ON ANY EXTRA
SIGNIFICANCE AND WHAT ARE YOU MOST INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT IN THE
SHOOTOUT?: “I’m really interested in seeing how the engines run and
how hot they run and how much we can push and how much we have to get
in line.  Usually it is a little bit cooler during the Shootout than
what it will be during the Daytona 500, we will have to think about
that also, but just how the cars are going to handle with the smaller
spoilers and different aero package.  Everything is a little bit
different this year.  I think it is going to be a lot of fun. It is a
little bit bigger deal since I’m with a new team, but we had a really
good test down here so I think we will be off to a good start right
away we had a fast car at the test.  We just have to try to learn it
and figure it out; ultimately we want to win Saturday night.”

HOW IS THE CHEMISTRY WITH THE TEAM? “Good.  We brought four of our
guys that have worked together for about six years now and then we
have some of the five guys that were there.  We were out at the sprint
car race last night and half of our team is out there.  We had some of
the guys who hadn’t been on the team before they are out there
watching our sprint cars.  I think the chemistry is good everybody is
racers and they all want to win races and that is exactly what I want
to do.”

HOW ARE THE KNEES AT THIS POINT?: “The left one is sore, the right one
is really good.  Last year at this time the right one was sore and the
left one was really good.”

WHEN DID YOU DECIDE YOU NEEDED THE SURGERY THIS TIME?: “Last Thursday
night.  I went in Thursday night.  I had torn it before and it wasn’t
a big deal, but I tore it worse last week, so I went in because it
swelled up really bad.  I just knew I needed it.”

HOW DID YOU TEAR IT?  “The first time I tore it at the same time I
tore my right knee.  But then the other day my legs were exhausted I
was doing intervals on three different machines in the gym and I was
running and kind of twisted my knee and tore it further.  After I did
that basically I tore it more and it fell in between my joint a little
bit and it starts getting irritated.”

ALL TOTAL HOW MANY SURGERIES HAVE YOU HAD?  “I have had two on each
now. In 15 months I’ve had four surgeries. Before that I had never had
any broken anything, it has just been a crazy 14 months as far as that
goes.”

IT DOESN’T AFFECT YOU IN THE CAR THAT MUCH? “No, I don’t think it
will.  I sat in it yesterday and I felt pretty good about it. I think
as fast as our bodies heal, by Saturday night it will probably feel
pretty good.”

ARE YOU CONCERNED IT WILL BE AN ONGOING THING THAT YOU WILL HAVE
ISSUES WITH YOUR KNEES? “No, because what we did was first time I did
it we tried to fix it.  Then I re-tore that so what we did was cut
20-25 percent of the inner meniscus out.  You don’t need it.  I don’t
feel like I’m going to have any more issues both knees are now exactly
the same.  They were hurt the same way and now they are both trimmed
out, so I just have less meniscus there.  In order to hurt it again it
would have to tear the other side, I don’t know it must be stronger
over there.

YOU SOUND LIKE A BASKETBALL OF FOOTBALL PLAYER WITH THESE INJURIES:
“Well I like working out, I like playing basketball, I like being
athletic and running around and doing stuff.  It just caught up to me
a little bit I guess.”

DID YOU HAVE ANY RELATIVES THAT WERE HOME DURING SNOWMAGEDDON IN
SEATTLE? ” No I wasn’t there but my Dad, his power was out for four or
five days.  My Dad said he had 10-11 inches.  I haven’t seen snow in a
couple of years.  I don’t even know what it looks like anymore.  I
love snow.  I haven’t seen it in forever.”

WHAT TO YOU IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HENDRICK AND EVERYONE ELSE? “I
think it’s the people and it’s the owner.  I think everywhere I’ve
been, I mean Red Bull they spent a ton of money, but that didn’t make
them the best team or even close to it.  I think it is the management,
the people, the owner and how badly you want to work for certain
people.  You want to work for them because they are good to you and
they make you feel like you are part of it and that is the biggest
thing over there everybody loves what they are doing and they want to
make Mr. Hendrick happy.  The atmosphere is good and you feel good
about what you are doing.  I think a lot of that has to do with
stability also, having a stable place that has great sponsorship and
has a great owner.”

DO YOU FEEL LIKE ANOTHER PLACE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN WHERE THE ATMOSPHERE WASN’T SO GOOD THAT AFFECTED YOU?: “I never thought it did, but you
get in situations where I think it does a little bit.  I never really
thought it did then you do something good and you feel like man maybe
I was down a little bit or maybe I wasn’t at my highest level. But
when people are uncertain about their future, it is an attitude
adjuster.  You have to be in a good strong steady environment for
people to really perform and I think that is what Hendrick Motorsports
gives you.”

DO YOU THINK THIS IS GOING TO BE A TWO CAR RACE?  I KNOW TESTING HAS
BEEN IN TANDEM LIKE IT WAS LAST YEAR: “I don’t see how it could be
like that.  You have to switch way too often, but I think until
Saturday night we really won’t know.  Then if it is Saturday night we
will have new rules Monday. Then we will have to figure it out again.”

HOW MUCH IS THE WEATHER GOING TO PLAY INTO THAT? “Well it’s just
cooler, that will help the two-car tandem for sure, but I think NASCAR
realizes that and they know there is going to be some of it.  You are
going to have to do some of it once in a while but I don’t think there
is going to be near as much as what there has been.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT THAT AS YOU MAKE THE CHANGE TO HENDRICK
MOTORSPORTS YOU HAVE YOUR CREW CHIEF KENNY FRANCIS AS THE ONE
CONSTANT?: “I think the crew chief spot is really important.  We talk,
we communicate and that is how the car gets set up is kind of through
that communication.  The engineer is really important; I’ve had the
same engineer with Kenny.  We have a few other guys our car chief, we
have four guys total that have been together for about six years now
and all that stuff really does help.”

IN REGARD TO STARTING A NEW TEAM FROM SCRATCH: “I just feel like it is
kind of difficult to catch up to some of that if you just build a new
team, with a new crew chief, a new engineer, all that stuff.  I just
don’t see right at the start how you can be quite as good as those
guys who have worked together.  If you hit on some things right away
then that is awesome, but I think it takes time. The best thing about
change sometimes is that everybody is kind of relieved.  You have been
under some situations where you feel like you are over it. So you get
change and then it helps.”
CHANGE FOR THE SAKE OF STABILITY IS THAT WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR NOW
THAT YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH SO MUCH CHANGE? “Not really searching
anymore, but I have been, I found it.  I have been searching for
that.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BRIAN VICKERS NOT HAVING A RIDE IN 2012? “I
think Brian at some point will get something.  He is a good driver.
He will get something if he really wants to if he wants to be in the
sport.  I think he can.  I think he’s a really talented driver,
understands the cars and things really well.”

TO HAVE BEEN WITH ALMOST EVERY MAKE IN THE SERIES DOES IT GIVE YOU ANY
INSIGHT? ” It definitely  gives you a little insight on how
everybody’s engines run and what they feel like and where there RPM
range might be.  Then you get the fuel injection and it changes
everything.  I don’t know.  I don’t think I’m going to be any better
because of it but I think it’s kind of neat to drive all the
manufactures.”

IT SEEMS LIKE IN NASCAR DRIVERS WITH SLIGHT INJURIES DO BETTER-HAMLIN
DID WELL, EDWARDS DID WELL, DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE AN ADVANTAGE WITH
YOU INJURY? ” I don’t know I hope we run really well.  I don’t think
it’s going to affect me a whole lot.  My knees heel really quick, last
year when I hurt my knee we ran third at Richmond.  It wasn’t that big
of a deal.  My left knee I don’t think is going to be as big a deal as
my right knee. I don’t know you still just try to focus and do
everything right.”

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