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CHARLOTTE -- Kasey Kahne has enjoyed success at Charlotte over the years with three victories at CMS. Of the three, two came in the Coca-Cola 600. Kahne took time today to unveil a special red camouflage paint scheme in honor of Memorial Day and talked about his success at Charlotte, his Kasey Kahne Racing team and what it will take to get back to victory lane this weekend.
Q. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FLY THOSE COLORS HERE ON MEMORIAL WEEKEND?
A. I am definitely looking forward to it. We unveiled the car at Fort Hood a month ago and there were a lot of people excited about it. As a driver, I am excited about it. To have the camouflage and be able to represent the Armed Forces and what they do for us each year is great. We will run it this weekend and then the July 4 race at Daytona. I am just really looking forward to it. I am excited that Budweiser and the U.S.O. put it together. I am hoping that we can win again here. We have run really well here in the past, so hopefully we can keep it up Sunday night and make that car look really good.
Q. YOU HAVE CONTINUED TO SUPPORT SPRINT CAR RACING, WHAT IS THE IMPORANCE OF THAT SUPPORT AND HAVING THAT PROGRAM AT KASEY KAHNE RACING?
A. I really enjoy that type of racing and I still try to do as much of it as I can because I like it so much. We have people at our shop that do a really nice job of preparing our car. It is really nice for me to pay attention to what they are doing it week, whether at the shop or at the races. It is exciting for me to stay involved with it and see how well they run. To have Budweiser on our Sprint Car is really big. There are a ton of short track fans that follow Joey and the No. 9 car and Budweiser.
Q. YOUR SUCCESS HERE IS WELL DOCUMENTED, WHAT IS IT THAT YOU LIKE ABOUT THIS PLACE AND WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO TO GET BACK IN VICTORY LANE THIS WEEKEND?
A. I know what I need at this track and I know what the car needs to feel like. We have been able to hit on that a few times, both on the Nationwide and Cup side. We really missed it last week, but hopefully we learned from that. When we hit the track for practice, we will be able to tell if we made the right gains or not. It has been a good track for us. It has a lot to do with momentum, keeping your speed up and not slowing the car down. We have always run up front here and that is exciting when you are coming to a track on a big weekend like this and you feel like you have a shot.
Q. IS IT TOUGH IN THIS ECONOMY TO PUT RESOURCES AND MONEY INTO THE SPRINT CUP TEAM?
A. There are a lot of people that do a really nice job with it. We work really hard to have our cars run well. Travel is a really huge part of it. When they are running two time or three times a week it makes more sense because they are bringing in money and don’t tear cars up very often. They have a really good team and do a really nice job. It helps to have that type of a team, but I think with this deal if you can run 80 to 90 times a year would be better than 60 because it would be less travel and make more sense.
Q. CAN YOU COMMENT ON THE DEATH OF JESSE HOCKETT LAST NIGHT?
A. He drove for me for about a month and we have always been friends. He was a good guy … a good person. You would see him around and he was just always a good guy who was excited and loved to be racing and do what he does. As far as I know it was just a freak accident. It is really sad for his family and friends. He was getting ready to go racing because that is what he does.
Q. HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT DRIVERS AND TEAMS ARE DOING MORE NOW THAN THEY DID THE LAST FEW YEARS FOR THEIR SPONSORS?
A. Yeah, we need to take care of them. We have to keep them happy and keep them excited about what they are doing. We bring a lot of Budweiser distributors to the track and they really enjoy that. I am really excited that Budweiser wanted us to put the same paint scheme on our Cup car over on Joey’s Sprint Car as well. It has been really neat to work with those people and I have made some really good relationships over the years. We try to take care of them and keep them happy, but you have to do it with them and with fans too. We need to just keep everyone happy and keep them coming back, that is what it is all about.
Q. THERE ARE FOUR WOMEN RACING IN INDY THIS WEEKEND, BUT NONE HERE. FOR SOMEONE THAT PICKS UP THE PAPER CASUALLY AND SEES THAT, CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY YOU THINK THAT IS?
A. I don’t know why. I don’t know how that exactly works. I know that the 500 is a huge weekend in Indianapolis and the 600 is a huge weekend here. To have four women qualify there is great. Hopefully they run well. We just haven’t had as many women drivers in NASCAR. Danica has worked on it a little bit, but I think it just takes time to learn how to run here. You just need that time. If she puts that time in then maybe she will be in this race at some point. It just depends how much time she wants to put into it I guess.
Q. YOU HAVE HAD SUCCESS HERE AT THIS TRACK. WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST PART ABOUT RUNNING DURING THE DAY AND THEN SWITCHING OVER TO NIGHT?
A. The biggest part is that if you are going to be fast at night, you won’t be the fastest in the day also. At least that is the way it has been for my cars here. Usually we start off too loose in the day and you bide your time. 600 miles is such a long time that you can make little adjustments throughout. You try to stay calm and make your moves later in the race. I have been lapped early on here and come back to run well at night. You just have to be patient and work hard.