NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
AUTO CLUB 400
AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 22, 2013
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media in Fontana and discussed his new tattoo, racing at a 2.0-mile track and many other topics. Full Transcript:
WHAT WAS THE TIMING OF THE DECISION TO GET A TATTOO? IT’S YOUR GRANDPARENTS INITIALS RIGHT?
“Yeah, it’s my grandpa’s initials. I’ve thought about it. For a while there I wasn’t really into tattoos. Then over the last probably year I’ve thought a lot about it. It’s been really the only thing that I wanted up to this point. I was thinking about maybe doing it in (Las) Vegas or something a few weeks back and then figured out how to do it here in California. A good friend of mine out here set it all up with one of the guys that he works with. It was great. It was first class and I enjoyed every bit of it. Tim Hendricks the guy that actually did the tattoo was a stand-up guy. A great guy to talk to I laid down, laid there, he drew it on my arm and that was it.”
WAS IT PAINFUL?
“It was little bit. It kind of just pulls. It’s like sharp and then it just pulls for 30 minutes or however long it took. Then probably the next two hours after that it stung a little more. Right now it just feels like a bit of a scab or something it’s not a big deal.”
WAS THAT AS KIND OF OUTSIDE OF THE LOW KEY PERSONALITY THAT YOU HAVE AS ANYTHING YOU HAVE EVER DONE TO GET THAT?
“No, I think I have probably done stuff at that level maybe other things over the years, but this is a first tattoo. I don’t know I felt good about it. I’m glad I did it. I saw it this morning when I woke up and I was like ‘man I like that.’”
WILL YOU BE GETTING MORE TATTOOS’ IN THE FUTURE?
“That was my first one. I liked it, so who knows. For now though that is really it. I just kind of enjoy the part of good memories, lots of memories. It’s just right there something I will see all the time now and think more about some of those memories. I like what I did.”
ARE EITHER OF YOUR GRANDPARENTS LIVING?
“No, they both passed over the last… it’s been a little while.”
WHAT WERE THEIR NAMES?
“Well, it was Kenny and Richard.”
WHAT WERE THEIR LAST NAMES?
“Kahne and Peterson.”
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW CAR ON A 2-MILE TRACK WHAT DID YOU SEE, WHAT DID YOU FEEL DURING PRACTICE?
“We battled ours for a while there. Just trying to get it right, get it to drive right, the track is rough and keep the grip. I felt like you could drive into the corner a little further; pick the throttle up a little more similar to some of the other tracks. It wasn’t near the adjustment or change that I expected. It was less than I expected for this track.”
ARE THE SEAMS STILL A BIG DEAL HERE?
“They are and they weren’t quite as bad in the first practice, but the track was also pretty green, pretty clean. So, I would say the longer it goes the seams will just keep getting worse and worse like they always are. You just have to battle them and drive over them the right direction and just use them to your advantage. You can’t put yourself on top of one at the wrong time.”
HOW IMPRESSIVE IS WHAT (BRAD) KESELOWSKI HAS DONE SO FAR WITH FOUR STRAIGHT TOP-FIVE FINISHES?
“He’s been great. He’s been really good. Every week he’s… I never even saw him at Bristol until however they got to the front then he stayed there the rest of the race. There is something that they do and they are really good at doing. I think probably him and Paul (Wolfe, crew chief) and the way they look at things and work together on stuff. They know what they need to do. I have been impressed with it. I think he is going to be right there all year.”
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO DO THAT?
“I think that is pretty difficult. I would say that is why he is leading points and nobody else has really come close. Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) has started off really strong with top-10’s, but four top-five’s is tough, it’s good.”
THIS IS THE FIFTH DIFFERENT TRACK YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN TO WITH THE GEN-6 CAR WHAT TRACKS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GOING BACK TO WITH THIS NEW CAR AND WHICH ONES ARE YOU GUYS WORKING ON AND MAYBE STRUGGLING A LITTLE BIT?
“Well, I thought Las Vegas, to me so far as the driving and things I have enjoyed it the most there. You can drive so hard the entire race and things. Tracks similar to there, Texas I think is going to be really good in that car I’m really looking forward to that. When we go to Loudon and Martinsville and places like that it will be interesting to see how it drives. I think the 1.5-mile, high bank stuff, I look forward to all of those.”
YOU’VE GOT A WIN; JIMMIE (JOHNSON) HAS A WIN THAT IS HUGE TO GET THAT WIN OUT OF THE WAY EARLY. HOW IMPORTANT WOULD IT BE FOR JEFF (GORDON) AND DALE (EARNHARDT, JR) TO GET A WIN? FOR ALL FOUR TEAMS TO GET A WIN EARLY AND OUT OF THE WAY?
“I think it’s a big deal to get one early and then hopefully we can get more as the season goes. I think Jeff and they both are fast so they will get their wins eventually whenever they hit on it perfectly. I feel really good about getting a win early in the season. I don’t know if it is the soonest I’ve ever got one, but it seems like it. It’s nice.”
DOES (DALE EARNHARDT) JUNIOR SEEM LIKE HE IS ON THE VERGE? HOW CLOSE DO THINK THEY ARE?
“It’s tough to say. I mean I think when you run in the top 10 each week the first four weeks I think you are close. They are right there. They probably just need a little bit here and a little bit there to make it happen and get that win, but I know that they have been racing in the front too. I would say they are probably pretty close.”
HOW DOES THE NEW CAR SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED TO WORK FOR THESE 1.5-MILE TRACKS? WHY DOES THE NEW CAR MAKE THESE RACES BETTER?
“I think as a driver it just gives you more overall grip so you can just push harder. You can push harder on entry, pick the throttle up, be underneath another car and not be so worried about losing it, getting loose, sliding, spinning out any of that stuff. I think it just gives you just a little bit more security with what you are doing.”
DID ANYBODY TELL YOU NOT TO GET THE TATTOO? DID YOUR MOM SEE IT?
“I told my mom I got it after I got it. I didn’t really tell anyone else about it. I just kind of did it on my own quietly. I don’t know. I haven’t had too many people get mad or anything about it yet. I think it’s fine. I think that if it’s meaningful and something that you want to do then go for it.”
WHAT DID YOUR MOM SAY ABOUT IT?
“She actually really liked it. She thought it was pretty neat. I didn’t know which direction she would go. She was pretty happy about it. She said it brought a little tear to her eye so it was good.”
IS KENNY FRANCIS (CREW CHIEF) NEXT?
“I don’t know if Kenny even knows I have it. (Laughs) And no he will not be getting a tattoo.”
CAN YOU EXPERIMENT AT ALL WITH THIS CAR CONSIDERING HOW STRONG YOU HAVE BEEN? CAN YOU DO SOME EXPERIMENTING DURING A RACE?
“I don’t think so. I think we just need to give all we can. The last two weeks I felt like we had one of the best cars each week. Then today we were 15th at best in first practice. It’s definitely you need to just put everything you’ve got into it and keep tweaking. Hopefully, we will hit on something even
a little bit better for tomorrow. It’s kind of a learning curve everywhere we go right now I feel.”
DOES THE FACT THAT THE BUMPERS DON’T LINE UP MAKE A BIGGER DIFFERENCE AT A 2-MILE TRACK?
“I would say probably bigger than maybe a 1.5-mile just because 2-mile, there are times here where you will bump and push a little bit. Not near as much as other places, but yeah, I think this place you will see it some. Our bumpers aren’t far enough off that I don’t think it would be too big of a deal at this place as little as we do push.”
THERE SEEMS TO BE TWO SEASONS AT FONTANA EITHER REALLY HOT OR RAINING YOU GUYS HAVE SEEMED TO HAVE DIALED IT IN AS FAR AS THE WEATHER GOES:
“It’s a nice day I got here yesterday afternoon and went to the beach and was down there. The weather is great out here right now. It seems like it’s going to be like this all weekend long.”
A LOT OF PEOPLE DO NOT THINK OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AS REALLY A NASCAR PLACE. YOU HAVE A LOT OF FANS HERE:
“It’s good. I enjoy coming out here once a year. I think it’s good when they cut it to one rather than two. Just have a good race here. I really enjoy racing at this track it’s wide, there is lots of room, you have to move around some in order to find the grip or get on the part of the race track that works best for your car. It’s a good place.”
YOUR CREW REALLY HAS TO BE THERE FOR YOU DON’T THEY?
“The crew is a huge part of this. The whole team thing, preparation things like that it’s all about them and how well they prepare and my guys do a really nice job so it’s a lot of fun driving the car I drive.”
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT GOING TO MARTINSVILLE?
“Just having Jimmie (Johnson), Jeff (Gordon) and Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) as my teammates. I think those guys run really well there. Being part of Hendrick Motorsports they bring a really nice package to that track. Last year was the best I’ve ever ran there, the most comfortable I’ve been and I feel like it will be like that again this year just because of the guys I’m surrounded with. That was one of my hardest tracks and now I’m feeling like I’m figuring it out and I think it’s because of those guys and listening and learning from them.”
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO WITH THE OFF WEEKEND?
“I’m going to race my sprint car. I’m going to race a couple of nights in Ohio Friday and Saturday next week. So that is what I’m looking forward to. I’m excited, I haven’t raced it in I think since the Charlotte race last year maybe. It’s been awhile.”
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