'Heading to Pocono with optimism'
This weekend, Jeff Green and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team head to the 2.5-mile Pocono Penn. Raceway for Sunday's Pocono 500. The triangular-shaped oval is one of the most uniquely shaped tracks on the circuit. Green will be making his 14th Nextel Cup start at the track.
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 Pocono:
"I haven't had the success that I've hoped for at Pocono, but I feel pretty good getting back there. We have a lot of well-founded optimism for a good run. We've been running a lot better the last few weeks, and hopefully we'll carry some of that momentum into Pocono. We've been consistently stronger this season than last season, but we really haven't had all the results to show for it.
"There has been a lot of improvement, but you can't see it all on paper. The Evernham Engines have been great. The communication within this Cheerios team has been great too. I think we proved that at Lowe's in the Coca-Cola 600. We stayed on the lead lap all night and were running up front right there at the end. We were one of the few teams that did that. We've had our high points, and now we just need to eliminate some of our low ones.
"We're further ahead than we've ever been with this team. We've got some steps to take, but the new Charger and the new engines have really helped. I think we're still trying to figure out the balance to our cars. The new body gave us something new to work with. Pocono is a big handling track, and we need to make sure that we have a good handling car. We've been doing a lot better job in the races making the adjustments we need to be fast. That's important for a long race like Pocono.
"The Coca-Cola 600 was a long race, Dover is always long, but Pocono is really long. I don't know if 500 miles is too much or not, but it's time consuming. A 500-mile race at Pocono takes awhile to finish. It's not like 500 miles at Daytona or Talladega. We average a lot higher speeds there. Pocono is relatively flat and we're not running as fast. The average laps are slower and it can make for a longer race. It's still 500 miles, but it can feel closer to 600 miles than the Coke 600 can sometimes.
"Pocono is going to be a big race for us and everyone else too. It's right there in the middle of Dover and Michigan. This little three-race swing is pretty important for the month of June. We close the month with Infineon, and anything can happen on a road course, but the next three races are really crucial to points. If we can stay consistent, and turn these top-25 finishes into top-15 and top-10 finishes, then we'll be in good shape.
"It's 'go' time for everyone. The summer is here, and it's time to really show what you've got. We all seem to be chasing the Hendrick and Roush drivers right now. They really seem to be on top of their games. We're looking to step it up and put our best foot forward. This Cheerios team is looking for some good runs, and hopefully we can have another one this weekend."