KERNERSVILLE, N.C. - Kasey Kahne recently participated in a teen safe-driving program hosted by Allstate Insurance, one of his Gillett Evernham Motorsports teamâ€™s NASCAR Sprint Cup sponsors.
As part of the program at East Forsyth High School in Kernersville, junior class members were given an opportunity to question Kahne, with Speed TVâ€™s John Roberts moderating. Hereâ€™s a transcript of the question-and-answer session:
Q: What kind of car do you have?
Kahne: I have a Dodge Durango, and I have a truck also, a Dodge Ram.
Q: Have you ever been in a wreck besides on the track?
Kahne: Yeah, actually, when I turned 16. It was about the second month [of having a license]. When is volleyball season? Not that I played volleyball, but I was going to a girls volleyball game at a school about an hour from our town, me and a couple friends. On our way back, a drunk driver hit us. I swerved enough to not get in a bad wreck, but it tore the left front corner of our car off. My buddy, he got taken to the hospital. Everybody else was OK, except the drunk driver. He was injured also. But that was the only other wreck Iâ€™ve been in.
Q: To Roberts: How old is he?
Roberts: You can ask him. Twenty-seven right? Not necessarily too old, if thatâ€™s what youâ€™re asking.
Q: What kind of car should you buy? Should you look at the safety of the car or just the style?
Kahne: Are you look for safety or style or gas mileage? I think gas mileage is key right now. It seems like everybody is talking about gas mileage, that and safety, obviously. A lot of the manufacturers these days build very safe cars. Itâ€™s more, what are you looking for as a person? Two doors or four doors? SUV? Personally, I like SUVs and trucks because theyâ€™re safer, theyâ€™re stronger.
Q: What made you want to be a race-car driver?
Kahne: When I was growing up, my dad worked on Sprint cars in Washington, so I grew up going to races with him. I had motorcycles, four-wheelers. I just enjoyed that kind of stuff. I wanted to since I was 8 years old. When I turned 14, I got a little mini-Sprint that I raced on dirt for a year, and then I slowly moved up to different ranks. I was the first one in my family that wanted to do it. The right opportunities and the right times, the right people watching us is kind of how you get to NASCAR. Itâ€™s just wanting to race. I like the excitement and just have a passion for driving.
Q: Do you own a motorcycle?
Kahne: Yeah, I have a couple motorcycles, four-wheelers. My favorites are snowmobiles. We have Polaris snowmobiles, which are probably the most fun â€“ if we had some snow.
Q: Where was your worst wreck?
Kahne: I think my worst wreck, probably the one that hurt the most was Indianapolis. I just kind of hit straight in and felt like it was going to take all the air inside me and everything else and pull it out. That was my worst one in NASCAR. But when I used to race Sprint cars a lot, that was on dirt tracks. One night, I hit another car and flipped for a long ways. It blew all the blood vessels in my face and my knees. I donâ€™t know, maybe just from the impact so many times. I had bloodshot eyes.
Q: What are your favorite tracks?
Kahne: I would say Atlanta for driving. The race track is fast and real slippery, so to me, thatâ€™s one of my favorites. And Charlotte, because thatâ€™s probably my best track.
Q: Do you get nervous?
Kahne: Thatâ€™s a good question. The first couple races each year, I get a little bit nervous, but any more, Iâ€™ve done so much that you feel itâ€™s your job, youâ€™re at work. You probably get nervous the first couple times you go to work. You just start getting used to it. It becomes second nature. But there are situations each week that get your heart rate up, for sure.
Q: Do you get bored driving in circles all day?
Kahne: When things arenâ€™t right, when your carâ€™s not handling right, thereâ€™s times you get bored and just wish the race would end. Thereâ€™s always plenty to focus on, the speed and all the cars around you. But there are plenty of times when I just wish the race would end.
Q: Whoâ€™s your biggest rival on the race track?
Kahne: I think when Iâ€™m racing Tony Stewart, thatâ€™s probably the guy Iâ€™d like to beat the most.
Q: What about Kyle Busch?
Kahne: Well, Kyle Busch, I think heâ€™s the guy you want to beat the most because heâ€™s the one winning. Kyle, Tony Stewart. Itâ€™s always nice to beat Jeff Gordon, too. - scenedaily.com
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