'Daytona Is Still Daytona' This weekend, Jeff Green and the ...
'Daytona Is Still Daytona'
This weekend, Jeff Green and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team head to the 2.5-mile Daytona Fla. International Speedway for Saturday night's Daytona 400. Green is coming off his best finish at the speedway after this season's Daytona 500. He will be making his eight Nextel Cup career start at the track and his fourth Daytona 400 start.
Green is the only driver to have raced for the sport's biggest names. Throughout his career, he has driven for Cup's most legendary names, such as Junior Johnson, Felix Sabates, Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt, and now Richard Petty. Green is in his second full season driving the legendary Petty Enterprises #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge. The 2000 NASCAR Busch Grand National champion, he holds the record for the largest point's margin after winning the championship by 616 points. He is also a two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup pole winner, winning poles at the Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and the pole for the 2003 Daytona 500.
The thoughts of #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker driver Jeff Green heading into Daytona:
"This race in July is totally different from the Daytona 500. They are two different races. The Daytona 500 is the 'mecca' of our sport. It's the ultimate race that we have, and it really can't be compared to any other race. You can't put a comparison against the Daytona 500. That race is so special that nothing can stand beside it. The Fourth of July race is its own race. It's at the same track, but it's not nearly what the Daytona 500 is.
"It's a difference race too. The Daytona 500 is run right during the middle of the day. The track is hot and it's slick. The 400 is at night and its cooler. The track isn't as slick and it's a faster track. It's a big difference. The track is completely different in July. It's still Daytona, but it has day and night difference in characteristics.
"I think it's easier to get our cars set up in July. Daytona is more about handling than Talladega. You need to have a good car here in July, but the night race helps. The track isn't as slick and that's a big deal. It's hard to get a handle on the speedway with the sun beating down on it. The temperatures are warmer in July, but once the sun settles it tames the speedway. It really helps us. That's one of the biggest differences between the February and July races at Daytona.
"Daytona is still Daytona. You want to win there. You want to win anywhere, but if you had to pick a place to win, Daytona is a darned good start. Daytona has a lot prestige to it. Everyone knows that, and that's why everyone looks at Daytona differently. It's the same reason the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is looked at differently. Daytona is a track that stands out. Everyone has at least heard of Daytona, and racers know what Daytona means to NASCAR. If you can capture a win at Daytona, it's a really big deal.
"Everyone wishes that they could win the Daytona 500, but it doesn't mean that we give up for the Fourth of July race. No way. This business is about winning races. We're preparing as hard as we can to win this one. Anytime you win it's cool, but anytime you win at Daytona it's even more special. I think that's the way we look at it.
"We're preparing to win this race. We have a good base. We know what we have after looking back at the Daytona 500. Hopefully we can take what we learned there and get our car a little better for this race. Daytona is all about aerodynamics and it's a lot of science before racing. The racing is just drafting and who's going to help you. The guys will help you if you have a good car. You get a good car from engineering and developing a car that glides through the draft. That's all the science of Daytona. It's a race that starts back at the shop. It might not necessarily give you the win, but it gives you a big head start.
"We can control the cars on the speedway, and it's our job to work the draft. The end of the race is when you want to be in that lead draft. Anything, and we've seen 'anything', can happen then. The fans love it and the drivers cringe. It's what the restrictor plate racing does, but it's the same for everyone. We're just going to prepare our Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge the best we can and hopefully be in position at the end of the night. A win at Daytona is what we are looking for."