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

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
MEDIA DAY
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 16, 2016

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Media Day at Daytona International Speedway.  Full Transcript:

DO YOU FEEL ANY KIND OF PRESSURE GOING INTO THIS YEAR?

“I feel like I want to run well and we need to run well. It all goes to preparation and I’m working with the team and the team is preparing, and things like that. So I don’t feel any pressure, but I have to run well if I want to stay in the 5 car for a long time. But you can only do what you can do at the same time. We’re working hard to have the team be where it needs to be and myself, the crew chief and the engineers communicating the right way. If we do that, I don’t see why we wouldn’t run really well.”

DO YOU FEEL THAT EVERYTHING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO ME HAS HAPPENED AND THIS IS GOING TO BE A GOOD YEAR?

“I would hope. I feel like there have been plenty of ups and downs, wrong place and wrong time so often – probably since 2012 – as much as anything or at least since I left Red Bull. Hopefully those days are somewhat behind us. Bad luck is part of racing. We all have it. Some have it more than others. It’s about where you’re at on the track, the places you put yourself in and who you’re racing around, and how they respect you. Which, to me, that respect level changes with different drivers. Hopefully, it’s the same on their side as it is on mine and then we won’t have any issues.”

CAN YOU COMPARE THIS YEAR TO OTHER YEARS?

“I would say it’s been fairly normal. I thought we were OK in practice, qualified OK. For a Hendrick car I felt a little slower than what I’ve been the last year, year and a half qualifying for these races. So I wasn’t pleased with that, but it is what it is. I know my car will race really well. And then in the Unlimited we had a great car, moved up through and got spun toward the end of the race. Things were going really well, and I would say that’s fairly normal for a SpeedWeeks for me.”

HOW MUCH HAVE YOU AND THE OTHER DRIVERS HAD TO GO BACK TO THE AGENTS AND LOOK AT THE CONTRACTS?

“I think there are a couple areas we have to look at that the owners come to us and say these are changing so let’s look at it and figure it out. To me, basically we’re not trying to renew any contracts, we’re not trying to change any of the stuff in them other than the things that are changing on the owner side. To me, some of that is just point fund money and race winnings. It hasn’t been too big a deal for us, but I have paid close attention to what’s going on and hopefully this week we get our deal completely done.”

ANY SENSE HOW THIS IS GOING TO WASH?

“Just going off of averages — which I think a lot of the owner money, the whole charter system, all of it, the purse money – a lot of that stuff is set up off of averages over the years to make the most sense for all the teams. And if I run similar to who I’ve ran probably over the last 10 years, I would say I’ll wind up making a little bit more money.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO RUN TRUCKS THIS YEAR?

“I don’t have any plans to run in trucks. Last year kind of came up late as well, and we were in that race at Charlotte and were able to win. That was cool. It was a highlight of my season. But I don’t have any plans to run at this point in time, but I’m going to pay attention to the truck race with their new rules. I have one Xfinity race this Saturday, and that usually changes to add one or two more. Last year I think I ran 10 NASCAR races other than Cup, and this year I plan on running one. I actually would like to spend a little more time with my Sprint Car teams. If I get an opportunity to race there, where it doesn’t affect my Cup deal, I’d like to race more Sprint Car races and things like that on the dirt. I would rather do that at this point in time and full in on the Cup stuff.”

YOUR NAME COMES UP ABOUT RUNNING THE INDY 500, ESPECIALLY WITH THIS YEAR BEING THE 100TH.

“I actually thought it would be really awesome to run the 100th and be part of that. I’ve always wanted to be part of that and do some IndyCar stuff. I worked on a couple of deals, but nothing really played out. Maybe in the future there still would be an opportunity to do something. I loved watching Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon, AJ Allmendinger and then Kurt Busch what they’ve done over the years. And then Jeff Gordon going back and forth with what he did last year driving the pace car. I’ve always been a huge fan of what those guys are doing.”

DID IT GET AS FAR AS TALKING WITH TEAMS?

“It actually was more about the team and being in the right spot and things like that. It’s definitely on my radar. It’s something that could happen in the future. It didn’t really get off the ground, but I did some talking to see what was out there.”

HOW IS THE OUTLOOK FOR THIS YEAR?

“I think it looks really good. The guys put a great off-season in, put a lot of work in. We ended pretty strong. Through August, we weren’t very good. Then the last two months of the year I thought we were pretty quick and pretty close to where we needed to be. We’re still working to get better, but we’re in a much better place today than we were a year ago at this time.”

WHO WOULD YOUR PICK BE OF WHICH OF THESE YOUNG DRIVERS WILL HAVE THAT STAR POWER 15 YEARS DOWN THE ROAD?

“That’s tough; there’s a lot that goes into it. I think my teammate, Chase Elliott, as far as where he’s come from, where he’s going, the car he’s in now, the opportunity he has, and the person he is, I think he has as good an opportunity as anybody to do this for a long time and very successfully.”

HOW DO YOU THINK HE’LL NAVIGATE THROUGH THE WHOLE FAME THING?

“I think he’ll handle it really well because that’s who he is. I think he’s grown up right. He’s had his parents behind him in a lot of ways. Bill was a fan favorite for so many years and a great race car driver. He did so much for the sport. I think Chase will be just fine with whatever is thrown at him. He just has his head on his shoulders. Not everybody has that, so it’s good to see that.”

ARE YOU SURPRISED HE HASN’T WON A CHAMPIONSHIP?

“I’m not really surprised because I think that championship is so tough to win. You can have a great season all the way to the end and not win it. He’s run well, he won at a lot of the big races, he’s a great teammate. He’s right there so it could be this year. It’s not an easy task at all.”

HOW GOOD DO YOU THINK HE COULD BE THIS YEAR?

“We’ll just have to wait and see. He’s ready for it. He’s had a lot of laps prior to being in a Cup car. It’s big shoes to fill. It’s been one of the best Cup cars that has been in the sport in my opinion and he has it now. He has a team behind and has a lot going for him. He might do really, really well or he might just do good. Seems like rookies run really well, the ones that are prepared. I could see Chase doing that. He definitely has it all right there in front of him.”

HOW HAVE YOU FOUND THE DIGITAL DASHBOARD?

“It’s been good. It’s definitely different. You look down once in a while and you’re looking in the wrong spot. I wouldn’t want the old gauges after running it once or twice already. I like it. Keep working on it to make it simple on pit road. That’s the biggest change for me is just getting down pit road and try to be really consistent with my numbers and the speed that I want to run. Once we get that down, I see it being really good.”

SOME HAVE SAID IT LAGS AND OTHERS HAVE SAID IT’S TOO RESPONSIVE.

“I think it’s too responsive at this point in time compared to my old tach. That’s just on pit road stuff, so I changed colors and lights around after the Unlimited to be prepared for the 150 on Thursday. I think we’ll keep tweaking until you get it right where you want it.”

WHY WOULD YOU CHANGE THE RESPONSIVENESS?

“Your foot and your eyes, you’re looking up and looking down and you’re trying not to run over the car in front of you. Your RPMs change so quickly that it’s just a little tougher to run super close to that speed limit of 55, but you don’t run 55. You run 59.5. So to not speed and not go back down to 56, it’s just a little tougher because it jumps around a little quicker. There’s just a lot going on. Our other ones were a little slower. It’s just a matter of getting used to it more than anything.”

HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND AT THE SHOP?

“On the Cup side, it’s definitely the sponsor stuff and some of the other commitments you have changes the amount of time you have working with the guys on the race car. There is a little more what a driver will do at a sprint car shop than at a Cup shop.”

WHO IS YOUR GO-TO GUY TO SPEAK TO?

“One thing I like to do is work out hard and get my mind off things. I would say the guy I would talk to the most is my buddy Brad Sweet. He’s raced some NASCAR stuff, some sprint car stuff and he understands what I have going on at times.”

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