JEFF GREEN (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge) NOTE: Green qualified 10th fastest for Sunday's race and was fifth fastest in the first practice session Saturday morning at Martinsville. "We're getting closer. It's a lot tighter now than...
JEFF GREEN (No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge)
NOTE: Green qualified 10th fastest for Sunday's race and was fifth fastest in the first practice session Saturday morning at Martinsville.
"We're getting closer. It's a lot tighter now than when we tested here, and everybody is having a problem getting it to turn. Everybody I was behind was too tight through the center. You always fight that here, but we didn't real fight it in testing. The track was clean I guess. I don't know how good of a race it's going to be. It's going to be really tough to pass. Everybody is running about the same speed and if you ever get off the bottom, it seems like there's so much stuff on the outside it takes a lap to get your tires cleaned back off. It's going to be tough to pass I think.
"We had a great test, and that really helped us get a jump on the guys. We qualified well, and with the track conditions and the way passing is going to be, qualifying became even more important. We really needed to qualify well. I think we've got a good enough car to run in the top 10 all day. We'll get a good pit stall and try to stay out of trouble. Any time you come to a short track you have to think about the whole situation. It takes more than a fast racecar to win. Hopefully we'll get around some people that will get a lap down and we can get in and out easy."
WILL RUSTY WALLACE HAVE THE CAR TO BEAT SUNDAY?
"I think he'll definitely be one of the guys you have to beat. There's so many of them. I don't know if you can single out any, but Rusty knows how to get around here and he knows what it takes at the end of the day to stand up over there in victory lane. With winning the spring race here, he's got the momentum from that, but a lot of guys that can step up and do the same thing. We've just got to get our Cheerios Dodge driving as good as we can and hopefully we can be there to race those guys."
WILL THE 43 TEAM BE IN A POSITION TO GO FOR BROKE TOMORROW?
"Oh yeah, we don't have anything to lose. We're just trying to gain for next year, get our cars better and our motor program is coming around a little bit since we've changed. All that stuff is working together. We've just got to make sure we take advantage of it and benefit from the things we can learn this year. Hopefully we'll have something to lose this time next year. The King has won so many races at Martinsville, and I think this is the last race the 43 car won. We can win anywhere. We've just got to put the whole day together. I don't think I come to Martinsville saying this is our opportunity because we have an opportunity to win every week."
DO YOU HAVE EVERYTHING WORKED OUT FOR 2005?
"We're working hard on our motor program so we know going to Daytona that we have that situation out of our mind. We had an option and we renewed for next year, so that's out of the equation."
ARE YOU RACING THE TOP 10 DRIVERS ANY DIFFERENTLY THAN YOU NORMALLY WOULD?
"I think you've got to tip toe a little bit around them. The last thing Jeff Green wants to do is take something away from one of those guys who can win the championship with a stupid mistake on my part. I can't take anything away from Cheerios or Dodge or anybody that helps Petty Enterprises. I can't step down from the job I'm paid to do in the 43 car. I don't want to hamper anyone's day championship wise, but some of those guys are already out of it. You look at those guys different, too, but around the 8 and 97 and those guys, you want to do the best job you can. Hopefully they respect me for that."
WHAT'S YOUR OPINION OF THE CHASE?
"Everybody looking in at the first of the year thought it was a crazy situation, but I think the end result is pretty exciting. It's definitely gaining some excitement for our sport with 10 to go that we wouldn't have had. Being the leader with 10 to go and having a 300-400 point lead upset me, but you've got to put a whole season together to win. You can have a great season for 26 races, but if you don't have that next 10 you're not going to win. We just want to get in that situation in years to come with the 43 car."
WHAT WOULD YOU BE SATISIFED WITH TOMORROW?
"I think a top 10 would be good. We've got to walk before we can run. We've got to start knocking down some top 10s. You'll never win one of these things if you can't run in the top 10 and top five consistently. You might luck into one, but I couldn't swallow that. I want to be able to go out there and dominant and run in the top five and run in the top 15 on a bad day. I think all of us would be satisfied with a top 10, but hopefully we're not going to end there. I think we're close. If we can get in the right situation we can win. I think as a team, we're a little young for that, but we're working on it. The guys are working hard and they never let down."