MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
PLAYOFF MEDIA DAY
NASCAR HALL OF FAME
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 13, 2017
KASEY KAHNE, #5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Playoff Media Day. Full Transcript:
IS THERE A CONCERN THAT YOU ARE GOING INTO THE CHAMPIONSHIP AS A LAME DUCK?
"Actually, there is really no concern for me about that. I know that I'm going to give everything. We talked last week, myself and every guy on my team and they all want to do the best they possibly can in my final 10 races and I want to do the best I can for them during my final 10 with them. Yeah, I feel like we have as good of an opportunity to run well in these final 10 that we've had all season long. And look forward to being back in the Playoffs something I hadn't been in a couple of years. Excited to be here today (at Playoff Media Day) and excited to go to Chicago and get it started."
IS HENDRICK HOLDING THEIR TOP OF THE LINE STUFF FOR THE PLAYOFFS?
"Yeah, I feel like definitely been a little slower compared to the fastest cars this year than we want to be. And I remember last year they seemed to have a little more speed for the final 10 races than earlier in the season. So, hopefully they have been holding a little bit. I don't know. We will see, but I think we are all... Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) was a little better than us at Richmond, but I felt like the other three cars were right around in 10th place car, 10th to 12th somewhere in there. So, yeah, we want to be a little better than that."
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING NEXT YEAR? IS THE #10 AN OPTION AT ALL?
"Yeah, I don't really think the #10 is an option. It hasn't seemed to be throughout ... you know I've talked to them and things, but they've obviously been working in other areas. And I don't know exactly what I'm doing yet, but I hope to figure it out pretty soon. I think it will be nice once I do know so I know kind of what my next season looks like."
WILL IT BE NASCAR OR WILL YOU GO BACK TO JUST DRIVING SPRINT CARS?
"So, it was just like three or four days ago I had this great plan to like do sprint cars and see if I could do an IndyCar race or two and do a couple of NASCAR races like the 500 and Brickyard, things like that. I thought that would be quite a dream and pretty awesome to do. That has been on my mind, but I also want to, if I can come up with a strong deal for next year then I would like to do that because I enjoy racing in NASCAR and feel like I don't want to get too far away from it because I think I still have some strong years left in me racing in the Cup Series."
DO YOU HAVE TO BRING SPONSORSHIP FOR YOU TO BE IN A CUP RIDE NEXT YEAR?
"I don't think so."
IS THE NO. 95 STILL AN OPTION?
"I think the No. 95 is still an option."
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR A DEAL THAT IS A ONE OR MULTI-YEAR DEAL? WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD BE BEST SUITED FOR YOU?
"I could see either way. I think a one-year deal would be okay. I think I would rather do... I think multiple years would be pretty nice, just to kind of know where you are at for a little while. But, I could handle a one-year as well because the next year who knows what that brings and what I want to do at that point either. I would say between one and three would be probably something to shoot for."
IS THERE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A TEAM WITH MAYBE A ONE OR TWO CAR TEAM TO MAYBE EXPAND AND PUT YOU IN THAT? IS THAT SOMETHING THAT IS BEING LOOKED AT AS WELL?
"Yeah, I mean I've looked at everything and I've talked to everybody. There was a good bit of interest in different areas, but it's all up to the teams and manufacturers and how they want to align and what all they can do and want to do. So, that is the tough part and I'm just the driver who fills in. Yeah, trying to figure it all out and work with everybody the best that I can. Ultimately, I would just love to race and have a ride and be able to try to perform and ultimately win races."
HOW MUCH OF A DISTRACTION IS SILLY SEASON TO THE AVERAGE DRIVER? THE RUMORS WERE ALREADY SWIRLING ON YOU LONG BEFORE HENDRICK CAME OUT...
"Like two years ago (laughs)... Yeah, it's actually kind of miserable at times and things because of the way that it's went down with some of my stuff and that doesn't help anybody. It doesn't help the team, doesn't help the driver, doesn't help anybody, but that is the way that it went. So, at this point in time I actually feel as good as I have about anything knowing that I'm in the Playoffs, knowing that we are going to swing for the fences and do the best job we possibly can these final 10 races and then move on to hopefully a great place, a happy place and enjoy that."
HOW MUCH STOCK DOES IT GIVE YOU IF YOU MAKE IT TO HOMESTEAD?
"I don't think it really matters at this point. I feel like for myself and my team that matters and my sponsors, that matters and that is what we want to do and we want to do everything we can to just run well from here on out for my guys. But, I don't think that changes what I do next year, what opportunities I get next year, how any of that gets played out. I think that long-term that would be amazing to make it to Homestead, win a championship, but I don't think that changes my 2018 season."
HOW CAN JIMMIE JOHNSON RUN SO PEDESTRIAN DURING THE SUMMER AND COME OUT AND WIN A TITLE LIKE HE DID LAST YEAR?
"I don't know. It's wild. I mean he's got seven, but usually he dominates all season long back when he had those other ones, I thought he was always good, but yeah, last year wasn't like that. If he did it this year it would be the same. He's the guy you have to watch for no matter what, no matter what track you are at, especially when it's late in the season they come up with ways to win and be up front and Jimmie always has. It's pretty awesome what he can do and what they figure out to do. He just keeps proving it. It's pretty wild."
IS IT BIZARRE EVEN BEING ON THE INSIDE SEEING HOW THAT PLAYS OUT?
"Yeah, I mean you know how last season went too... they definitely weren't the fastest last year, but they made it work and Jimmie figured out how to win the championship and that is really all that matters."
THEY WEREN'T THE BEST CAR AT HOMESTEAD EITHER:
"No, they were probably the fourth, but then Jimmie wins the thing. Like he just figures out how and he always has. He is something else."
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO WIN ONE OF THESE RACES OR ADVANCE INTO THROUGH THE PLAYOFFS? WHAT TRACK IS...
"We just need fast cars. We need something to work on. I think that is preparation and just having the speed when you start the weekend and then you've got to make the right pit call, the right strategy, you have to be in the front. Indianapolis was the first time I've seen started on the front row of a race in I don't know how long, maybe two years, like I really can't remember and we made it happen. If you are not in the front you just don't win a Cup race anymore. You can't start 10th in that final run and win. It's way too competitive, everybody is way too close in speed, but it also comes from a fast car. If you have a fast car and you get that track position late and we have as good a shot as anyone to win at that point."
HAVE YOU TALKED TO PEOPLE IN THE PAST ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES IN INDYCAR?
"You know I drove an IndyCar a couple of times. I really enjoyed it and I've talked about doing the Indy 500 a few times it just never was able to work with other team owners and things. Yeah, it just never worked out, but it's always been something on my mind. It just hasn't worked with the NASCAR deal and the teams and owners that I've driven for and it just hasn't ever been able to put it all together. Yeah, if I wasn't racing full-time Cup that would be like top priority. How can I figure out how to be part of a couple of races there?"
AT THIS AGE YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET TOO MANY MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO DO INDY AND NEXT YEAR COULD BE KIND OF A FUN YEAR OF RACING IN A SENSE DOING THINGS THAT YOU NEVER GOT TO DO BEFORE. HOW DO YOU BALANCE THAT WITH THE DESIRE TO DO CUP?
"I think it's the situation. There are a few things that play into that and I know what they are and it has to make sense to me or I can't do it. Yeah, I mean that it's all about the situation and once I figure that out then I will know kind of where I stand for the following year."
SO, YOU HAVEN'T SIGNED ANYTHING YET IS WHAT YOU ARE SAYING:
"Oh no, I definitely haven't signed anything."
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM INDY ABOUT RESTARTS THAT YOU CAN TAKE INTO THE PLAYOFFS?
"I think it changes track to track. I thought my last restart was perfect and those are really tough to come by. The first one was also pretty good, not quite as good, but pretty good and I was able to get away and lead the next seven or eight laps pulling away from the field which felt good. The one before where we ended up side-by-side off Turn 2, Brad (Keselowski) did a really good job on that one and stayed with me and I didn't get enough separation from us to really get away from him, so we ended up three-wide in Turn 3. I think I did three or four of them right there, so it was interesting, but each track kind of dictates where you want to be, how you want to approach the corner with the other car beside you and the lane that you want to be in. I thought the way it worked out at the end just worked out perfect for us."
DO YOU KNOW HAVE FURTHER APPRECIATION FOR THAT RESTART?
"Absolutely, I think actually the further I've gotten away from that win the better it's felt. Like at the time it was great, I wanted to celebrate and I really couldn't do anything because my body was so messed up, but yeah, the further I get away from that win the more I feel really good about the win and feel really good about the restart. It just all was perfect and that doesn't happen all the time like I was saying. It's tough the gears, not spinning the tires, using the air correctly, it all just worked out."
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF MOTIVATED AND FOCUSED ON THE PLAYOFFS?
"Well, I think the thing that I kind of figured out a week ago is that it's really what I want to do and it's what I want to do with the group of guys that I have. They have put a lot into it, I've put a lot into it and we still can have a great season because of these final 10 races. So, I just feel like I talked to them and all of us agreed that we put everything that we have into it and if we finish first, fifth, eighth, wherever that is, as long as we all put it in the final 10 races we are going to feel good about it. So, that is where we are at."
YOU WANT TAKE A RIDE NEXT YEAR UNLESS YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN HONESTLY WIN RACES IS THAT CORRECT:
"That is correct. I just don't really feel like I would want to or need to at this point in time. To do something that I didn't feel was capable. So, yeah, you are right."
YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO GET IN A RIDE JUST TO RUN 15TH TO 20TH EACH WEEK?
"Well, I've been running 15th to 20th every week in a Cup car. I know how it feels. But I know what you are saying. I wouldn't have thought that racing for Hendrick Motorsports I would be running 15th to 20th every week and that is why I have a lot of confidence going into the Playoffs because I still feel like we can run top 10 every single weekend from here on out. And that gives you motivation, it motivates me and that is why I'm excited. I think everybody can be excited. It's kind of like the start of the season just about. I'm not at zero, I guess I'm 11th in points, but have a good shot to really have a great ending to a not very good season."
ON HIS TWEET THIS WEEK:
"People kind of think whatever they want, but I thought that I was supporting Smithfield for staying in the sport. And I thought that was cool that they are still in NASCAR. Me and Tanner do eat bacon a couple of days a week and it's Smithfield and I think that is how it should be. Just with all of our sponsors in the sport, like you try to ... when I see the different sponsors if I see them and I'm at the store to get something I'm going to go to that sponsor. I'm going to go to that store. To me that make sense. I don't know I just thought that people were kind of saying a lot of stuff that they really don't know what they are talking about and I was just thanking them for staying in the sport. That was really it. I thought people might take it that way, but I knew that the No. 10 was not my car so it wasn't about that. It was about thanking Smithfield for being a part of NASCAR."
--- Team Chevy ---