– Shannon, another piece of the 2018 season is in place. Kasey Kahne will race right here at Leavine Family Racing. Why was this a good fit for your career going forward?
– Well, it’s exciting. It’s much different than what I’ve been doing. It’s a fresh start. I’m looking forward to the, you know, working hard and doing all that I can to help improve this place. They’ve been improving each year, and it’s been fun to watch the improvements that LFR has made, and to be part of that, I think will be really exciting and fun to work with this group.
ALAN CAYANNA: What do you think you can bring to a team like this, that’s on the come up?
– I feel like, you know, I’ve been doing it a long time. So a lot of experience from a lot of different directions, and I just, I hope that I can bring some driving to it. I hope I can bring some good communication, a good work ethic to join the team and be proud to be here and all of us work together to make it better.
ALAN CAYANNA: We never really know what’s happening behind the scenes. Were you ever worried about your career going forward, and if you’d be in a race car in 2018?
– I wasn’t worried about being in a race car, because I own race cars. So I knew I was going to be in a race car, but which race car, the Cup Series, you know that was definitely a little bit of a worry at times. Like, man, maybe I won’t have a full-time ride. Once we finished this up, it was nice. You know, really nice to know that I will. I’ll be at the track every week, you know, trying to get better. And I still have my Sprint car team, still have everything that I do on the side, and enjoy that stuff a lot. So we’ll keep doing that as well.
ALAN CAYANNA: We can’t look too far forward. You are still in a playoff, and you’re going to be going forward with a new crew chief. What will that be like the next nine weeks now?
– Well, it will be really interesting. I’m headed over there after this to, you know, start communicating and working with Darien and the team. I like my guys, always have. We have a good group. I think with Darian’s help and just working hard, hopefully, we can really run good throughout the rest of the playoffs.
– Well, again, congratulations on this move. Shannon, they have a lot to look forward to, but a lot left to do for Kasey Kahne in 2017.
– Thanks, Alan, Congratulations, Kasey. So, you know, I mean, there are a lot of drivers, or a handful of drivers, right now that don’t really know what the future holds for them next season. Kasey now does. What do you guys think about this move?
– Well, I think him, like you said, knowing that he’s in a car for next year, I think we’ve seen that 95 car make some gains over the last few years. I mean, last year they didn’t even run a full-time season. And they’ve run pretty well this year with Michael McDowell behind the car– or behind the wheel. He’s done a good job getting some solid finishes out of that car. So I think it’s going be a good thing for him.
– Yeah, I look at the 95 car, and I can’t help but think about the parallels between it and the 78 car. Five years ago, the 78 car, if I would have told you would go on to win five or six races a year, lead a lot of laps, be the car to beat, you would have looked at me, and said, I’m not so sure about that. But I look at the 95 team as the same way as the 78, or what they’ve done. The 78 built every year. They brought in a veteran driver to help the team kind of learn and establish itself, and they added resources every year. The 95 team, to me, has the same potential.
– The 78 car went to the final four in 2015 with Mark Truex, Jr. behind the wheel. Who were they affiliated with? Do you guys remember? How about Richard Childress Racing? That’s where the 95 has its affiliation. Martin Truex, Jr. Is 37, Kasey Kahne is 37. I’m just trying to build on the foundation related to that.
– I love the stats.
– They should bring us in, give the fire ’em up speech to the new situation over there.