Twenty-three-year-old Kasey Kahne will step into some big shoes in 2004 when he takes over for Bill Elliott on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. He also will drive for Winder, Ga., businessman Brad Akins on the NASCAR Busch Series. He talked about how everything fell into place to land two premier jobs at the same time.
Question: There was a lot of speculation about your status because you had a contract with Ford Motorsports. How did that get cleared up so you could drive a Dodge at Evernham Motorsports?
Kahne: I've completed all my obligations to Ford. I'm just really looking forward to being a part of Evernham Motorsports right now and being a part of working with Jeremy Mayfield and Bill Elliott. I've completed all my obligations. I'm just looking to the future now with what we've got set up.
Question: What are the plans right now?
Kahne: That's a big jump, especially for me. Bill is still going to run some races, just not as many. That seat opened up and for Ray Evernham to pick me as his driver and want to work with me is the biggest jump I could ever have in racing. I'm really excited to be able to make this jump and be part of Evernham Motorsports and Bill Elliott. I wouldn't have believed this would have happened half a year ago. Being in the Busch Series and doing the things we did with that team that hadn't had such a good year the year before and neither had I I think that was pretty appealing to some people. I'm looking forward to racing the Busch car next year, too, and making the jump. That's really the biggest thing I keep thinking about.
Question: Will you run the full NASCAR Busch Series season for Brad Akins?
Kahne: We're going to run it as much as we possibly can. Not counting weather and different things that can happen throughout the season, I think we can do every race. Milwaukee is going to be really tough with the Cup cars being at Sears Point.
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