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May 11, 2014 - 07:07 AM
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2014 Kansas: Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne NASCAR Sprint Cup Post-Race Press Conference
Posted by: ASkyler on May 11, 2014 - 07:06 AM
NASCAR News
2014 Kansas: Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne NASCAR Sprint Cup Post-Race Press Conference


KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS - FINISHED 2ND

KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 JIMMY JOHN’S CHEVROLET SS - FINISHED 3RD

POST RACE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:

KERRY THARP: Let's roll right into our post‑race for tonight's 4th annual 5‑Hour Energy 400, benefiting Special Operations Warrior Foundation, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here at Kansas Speedway. First NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race under the lights here at Kansas. And our third place finisher is Kasey Kahne. He drove the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Bank Million Teachers Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.

Also joining him up at the front right now is our race runner‑up, our Coors Light pole sitter, and that was Kevin Harvick. He drove the No. 4 Jimmy John's Chevrolet for Stewart‑Haas Racing. Let's hear first from Kasey. Third‑place finish. You ran up front most of the evening, led some laps. Just talk about the race, how you thought the race went for you and how things unfolded there towards the latter stages.

KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, it went really good for us. We had a fast Farmers Insurance Chevy throughout the race, worked our way up. Some of the pit strategy and things, sequence more than anything. We got to the front there for a little bit, led some laps, felt really good at that point in time, and then we got a little tighter later and didn't free up or tighten up enough there at the end when we put four tires back on. We just tried to run rights for too long.

It was still a really solid run. Nice to run up front and be able to race hard the whole night. It was good for us.

 

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KERRY THARP: Kevin, certainly this was one that you led a lot of laps, and certainly had a very fast race car. Just talk about how things unfolded for the 4 car and your outlook on how things went from your vantage point.

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, the car was really fast. We just had to overcome a lot tonight, getting caught on pit road both times under green flag pit stops.

Then there at the end, we ran out of gas coming to pit road there, and I was looking at the fuel pressure gauge instead of the tach and lost a bunch of time down pit road and off of pit road, wound up getting stuck behind the 24.

The car was really tight, and then I found a groove that worked for me way up the racetrack, and I caught him, and then I slipped and lost everything I had gained and then gained it all back and just ran out of laps at the end.

Q. So much of this race seemed to be dictated by pit sequence. Did you know going in, okay, it's going to be tough to pass, so this is how we're going to work our way through, or did it just unfold that way?

KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, I mean, I felt like it was going to be tough to pass at times tonight. If you were ‑‑ it was tough to pass a fast car, but if your car was perfect, you could kind of pass later on in a run or right there at the start of a run.

It was tough, and then you just ‑‑ you have to pit at certain times, and you don't know when someone is going to spin. So more than anything it was just people spinning that I think got the sequence off that I saw, that I remember, so you don't know when that's going to happen, and it happened a couple times tonight.

KEVIN HARVICK: I think after the last race we saw here was exactly, probably not to the extent that everybody expected, but I think that everybody kind of knew it was going to be hard to pass.

Q. Kevin, as you probably noticed, Danica had one of her best, if not her best career finish tonight. A lot has been made of a conversation you and her had this week. Can you shed any light on that conversation what you might have told her and how you might have helped her this week?

KEVIN HARVICK: We talk a lot, and I think for her it's just the confidence in knowing exactly what the car is going to do. Obviously, she's run well all weekend, qualified well, raced well all night, and it's just ‑‑ there's a lot of hurdles to overcome for her to make up that experience. I feel like we can help her speed that process up by just telling her some of the things that she should expect and do.

As she went through the weekend, she kept her track position on the restarts. That's probably the biggest thing. But I guess the one thing I did tell her was just to quit thinking about it and smash the gas. Sometimes your car is never going to be perfect, and you just have to take what it'll give you and expect that every time you pit it's going to be better, and if it's not you adjust and move on.

Q. For each of you, where were you when the lights went out, and just what kind of effect did that have on the race or the driving?

KASEY KAHNE: I think I was on the front stretch or something, because the lights were good and the next time we came through it was dark on the back. And once it went green from that point, I didn't even remember that they were off the rest of the time. It's way darker back there, but you can still see just fine, and you just kind of forget about it.

KEVIN HARVICK: I think we've both probably raced at a lot darker racetracks, but I don't know where I was.

Q. Did you feel like you were in danger?

KEVIN HARVICK: No, if it was dangerous they wouldn't have let us go.

Q. With the weather delay, was there much concern at all that you'd be able to get this in tonight? Were you worried about having to come back here and run tomorrow?

KASEY KAHNE: I don't even know if there needed to be a weather delay. Once we left pit road it was raining as hard as it had the entire time, and then we went right to green pretty quick. I think we probably could have started right on time, maybe had a caution or five laps, but I don't think it would have been much more than that.

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, you know, you can't control that kind of stuff, so you just sit in your car and sweat, wait for them to tell you to go.

Q. Kevin, is it as simple as if you don't run out of gas, you win the race?

KEVIN HARVICK: I can't say that. I mean, even though it was out of gas, with these EFI units it still runs, and I should have been paying attention to my pit road speed lights and should have got off of pit road better.

I think, to win the race, I just needed to execute on pit road better the last time down.

Q. How do you come out of this knowing you had a car that was dominant in spots, but then got back in traffic? How do you feel about the night overall?

KEVIN HARVICK: I think we had a good night. You can't win them all. For me, I made a mistake at the end and felt like that's probably what cost us the chance to stay in front of the 24. But the 24 was good all night, and the 48 was good when he was out front, and we got in the back of the pack and couldn't go anywhere. It came down to track position, and those guys executed a little bit better than I did.

Q. What mistake did you make?

KEVIN HARVICK: When we ran out of gas coming to pit road, I was looking at the fuel pressure gauge instead of the tach, so I wound up just going too slow.

Q. Kasey, it's been a rough start to this season for you guys. What did this run mean to the team?

KASEY KAHNE: Yeah, well, our biggest deal is we've just been slow this season. Really haven't been inconsistent or anything like that, we've just been slow each week. We tested here, we had that Goodyear tire test, and I felt like from that point on, we've actually had really fast cars.

Richmond we were good, we had some things go on late in the race on pit road that we ended up 14th, but we had a top six or seven car, I felt like, that entire race.

Ran well at Talladega and then came here and ran up front. We were good in practice. I think the Goodyear test here, for whatever reason, we were able to try some things and just look at stuff a little differently than what we had been, and it helped the 5 team, my guys, myself and Kenny and Chris, our communication together. It's helped us a lot since then. I feel like that's been the key, and ever since we tested here, we've ran much better and been a lot more competitive.

Q. Kevin, you mentioned running out of gas there at the end of the race in the pits. Was that the moment it was over or did you still have a chance to catch the 24 after?

KEVIN HARVICK: It was my mistake, coming down pit road too slow. I had caught the 24 and then made another mistake getting up out of the groove and lost everything that I had gained. I made too many mistakes at the end to get by.

Q. Did you think you had a chance on the last lap to get him?

KEVIN HARVICK: It wasn't out of the question, because I knew that when we got to traffic that his car was not very good. I just needed to time it right, and I just had too much ground to make up at that time.

KERRY THARP: Kasey, Kevin, thank you for coming in and putting on a good show this weekend.


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