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Q&A: Kasey Kahne

Most drivers spend a portion of race day visiting with sponsors before they are called to “Start your engines”.

But Kasey Kahne is known around NASCAR circles as perhaps the busiest of them all, visiting anywhere from five to eight sponsors each race day and close to 200 for the year.

Some of those visits are simple meet-and-greets, which include a few handshakes, autographs and photos with members of the sponsor party outside his hauler or motorcoach. Others are more formal in front of hundreds of fans, where he'll typically take a microphone and talk about the race and field questions from the crowd.

Kahne, who won the June 21 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, recently sat down with SportsBusiness Journal staff writer Michael Smith in the new Mooresville, N.C., home of Kasey Kahne Racing, where he owns two dirt-track teams.

Q:
What influences shaped the way you approach those sponsor relationships?

Kasey Kahne:
The sponsors are the ones that are spending the money and they know what they need to help their business, so I tell Budweiser if you see something I'm not doing right, talk to me. Our relationship with Budweiser, with Allstate, has grown and they've helped me get to where I'm at with the fans and with racing.

The relationship with Budweiser has been similar to any other sponsor, but there's just a lot more reward that comes from working with Bud. You get so many bonuses because of the brand, as far as football, basketball, baseball, concerts. You can do anything you want, if you want.

A lot of people maybe thought of Kasey Kahne as a certain way, and the great thing is that I haven't had to change who I am at all to be the Bud driver. I'm still that same person. I didn't have to change my clothes or my hair or start drinking beer. I was already that guy, even though I might not have looked that way to certain fans.

Q:
You're sitting in this sparkling new race shop, where you run two World of Outlaw teams and a USAC team. What's the vision for this place?

Kasey Kahne:
My vision has always been to stay involved with short-track racing, stay involved with the type of racing I grew up in. It had to become a business to make it all work, to get the right sponsors and the right people.

As far as a business goes, it hasn't been a good business or a profitable business because there's not a lot of money to be won each night. You're pulling (money) out of your own pocket or looking for partners to help support you. But we've sold some really nice deals on these cars because of where I'm at on the Cup side.

Q:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a good friend of yours, but do you think he gets a free pass because of his popularity?

Kasey Kahne:


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Related Pictures

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Kasey Kahne [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet, leads during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Hellmann`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Hellmann`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Hellmann`s Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane with Jared Fogle of Subway after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance/Thankamillionteachers.Com Chevrolet SS qualified 3rd Thursday, May 22, 2014 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Kahne is 16th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by: HHP/Alan Marler for Chevrolet)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet, leads Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Coatings Chevrolet SS won Saturday, May 10, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Teammates Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance/Thankamillonteachers.Com Chevrolet SS finished 3rd. Gordon continues to lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Coatings Chevrolet SS celebrates his win Saturday, May 10, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Teammates Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance/Thankamillonteachers.Com Chevrolet SS finished 3rd. Gordon continues to lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Coatings Chevrolet SS celebrates his win Saturday, May 10, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Teammates Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance/Thankamillonteachers.Com Chevrolet SS finished 3rd. Gordon continues to lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS finished 1st, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS finished 37th Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Harvick  is 22nd, Kahne is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished 3rd.(Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, is hit by Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, as he pulls into his pit box during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS finished 8th and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 24th Sunday, March 16, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Kahne is 11th, Earnhardt, Jr. is 2nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)
Kasey Kahne, Jr., driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS qualified 10th Friday, March 14, 2014 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Kahne is 15th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: HHP/Garry Eller for Chevrolet)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Mountain Dew Kickstart Chevrolet, leads Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 9, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Three-wide racing with Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota; Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet; and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota; leading the pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Michael Annett, driver of the #7 Pilot/Flying J Travel Centers Chevrolet, spins into Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. Kahne was issued a penalty for too fast on pit row. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, croesses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Budweiser Duel 1 in front of Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet , and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, at Daytona International Speedway on February 20, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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