NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: DUEL #2
February 22, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
KERRY THARP: Let's now hear from our second? and third?place finishers in the second Budweiser Duel at Daytona. Our race runner?up is Kasey Kahne.
Kasey, talk about your run out there today and how you think things are shaking out for your team on Sunday.
KASEY KAHNE: Well, I thought we had a great run today. I was able to get right to Jeff in the first four or five laps there. From that point, just trailed him and tried messing with the lanes of choice and things like that.
But once we had the pit stop, we were a little ways behind and kind of got in with Paul Menard, back up into the leaders. There were only six, seven cars in the line, so it made it tough to make a move. At the end we were able to get a couple cars on the last lap.
But Kyle was fast. So was the 20. The 33 pushed me really well. I think the 15 was right in there, too. It was a good run for us.
KERRY THARP: Let's go to questions for Kasey Kahne.
Q. After watching Kevin Harvick's dominant run last Saturday night and then again today, does anybody have anything for him on Sunday?
KASEY KAHNE: I think Kevin looks really good. I always think Kevin is one of the guys to beat, when we come to Daytona especially. He's got this place figured out, for a long time he has. He showed that they're really fast. He understands this type of racing really well.
I think he can be beat, yeah. I felt like my car, Jeff, the 18, there's a few of us in the second race there that had really good cars, I could move around really well, similar to what Harvick looked like in the first one.
It will be interesting. But, yeah, Kevin's going to be good.
Q. Both races and Saturday, it looked like it was really difficult to pass a leader. Kyle even said once you have track position, it wasn't too hard to keep it. How are we going to see any passing on Sunday?
KASEY KAHNE: Well, I feel like the only way is if there's a bigger pack and if there's more cars together, you know. Right there, you can pass some of the other guys as long as you have a car pushing you.
When you get to the leader, I was in line behind Jeff forever, and there was no way I was going to pass him. We need to keep working, keep trying to get the cars better to suck up a little more on that front car and then hope for bigger packs come Sunday if we want to pass.
Q. If it becomes more of a track position game than this years past, how will that change the strategy of the race? Do you think people will have to make a winning move with two laps or three laps to go instead of the last lap?
KASEY KAHNE: I think it's tough because you don't know when you get that push. You don't know when it plays into your time. Maybe it's 20 laps to go if there's no cautions at the end. Maybe 20 is when you get the opportunity to make the pass. I think you need to be ready at any time to get to the front, to second, to third, try to move up. I don't think waiting till the last lap is a ticket the way things are right now.
I remember my first couple years here, the fields were really spread out throughout half the 500 or more. Handling played a factor. Just kind of where you were on the racetrack. It might be more similar to how those days were.
KERRY THARP: We're also joined by our third?place finisher, Austin Dillon.
Austin, talk about the anticipation, the excitement about running in your first Daytona 500 on Sunday.
AUSTIN DILLON: It's pretty exciting. I'm glad my grandfather can sleep now. He was wearing me out before the race, especially when those three cars got in.
It was fun. We kept it out front with Kasey and some of those guys all day. Worked well together. It was a blast out there. Pretty tough to pass, you got to be patient, and that's what we were.
KERRY THARP: We'll continue with questions for Kasey or Austin.
Q. Austin, a lot of the veteran drivers have been saying these cars drive like they did eight, nine years ago. You weren't racing them then. Isn't it maybe an advantage that you have no preconceptions of these car? How is your learning curve?
AUSTIN DILLON: I don't know if it's an advantage. These guys have been in the draft for a long time and any experience is good, in my opinion. You can take a little bit from everything. After the race, me and Kasey were talking about kind of when we got runs, when we could use 'em. It was kind of tough.
I think you'll see more guys using what they got out there Sunday just because when you get a run, you got to use it. There were certain times when I felt like we could have moved. It's just so hard because when you get sucked to the back, it's tough.
Q. Kasey, considering that Kevin is going to be leaving RCR at the end of the season, are you surprised he's so dominant early in the season?
KASEY KAHNE: I think Kevin is always really good here. RCR is always really good at Daytona. He's going to put in a full effort all season long. He's a racer. He wants to run well. RCR wants to run well for their partners and everything else.
I don't see them slacking this year. I think Harvick is going to be one of the guys to beat all season long.
Q. Kasey, I want to ask you about your teammate Jeff Gordon. Do you see him energized by where he's starting on Sunday?
KASEY KAHNE: I think he knows he has a fast car. When I was out there with him early in the race, I could tell his car was handling and he had the speed, probably very similar to what my car had. I'm really excited for Sunday.
I'd imagine Jeff is also. I mean, he's won a lot at Daytona over the years, so this is a place that he knows he can win and he has a great shot at winning when he's here.
KERRY THARP: Thank you Austin, Kasey. Good luck the remainder of the weekend.