'Geezer Guard' still going strong in NASCAR Busch Series DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 21, 2004) -- The young, 20-something stars of NASCAR are called "Young Guns." Where, exactly, does that leave guys like David Green (No. 37 Timber Wolf Pontiac)...
'Geezer Guard' still going strong in NASCAR Busch Series
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 21, 2004) -- The young, 20-something stars of NASCAR are called "Young Guns." Where, exactly, does that leave guys like David Green (No. 37 Timber Wolf Pontiac) and Ron Hornaday (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet), who both turned 46 this year? Or 45-year-old Mike Wallace (No. 4 GEICO/Sport Clips Ford)?
Call them the "Geezer Guard" or something to that effect, but these veteran drivers are still as successful as they ever were, if not more so. Hornaday and Wallace have both won races this year -- Hornaday on June 26 at The Milwaukee Mile and Wallace July 2 at Daytona International Speedway -- Green was also a very close second in last year's battle for the NASCAR Busch Series championship.
"I'm very proud to be a part of the NASCAR Busch Series and competing for championships 10 years after my first one," says Green, who won last year's race at New Hampshire International Speedway. "As I hear the word, 'veteran,' I'm quick to remind people that I've got plenty of years left.
"It's special to me when we do the rookie meetings, and they come to you to ask questions, or they want a ride around the track in the pace car. But I guess the worst part/good part is when we are racing on the track and they do what you discussed with them and they wind up beating you on the track."
Hornaday readily admits that it's tough to do well on the track.
"The competition we have in the NASCAR Busch Series is the best it's ever been," Hornaday says. "Not only do I have to battle proven winners like David Green, Jason Keller [No. 22 Miller High Life Ford] and Mike Wallace every week, but now I have to worry about all these young guys. I think the early season success of Martin Truex Jr. [No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet] and Kyle Busch [No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet] woke the veteran guys up.
"We have to be thinking about a total game plan for every race. These kids are as fast as we are, so we have to be smarter. I know that none of the veteran guys forgot how to drive. But we can adapt to anything, and I think that is why the veteran drivers are starting to win races. It just took a while to get it into our stubborn heads."
For Wallace, winning at Daytona was a huge boost.
"There is nothing like a win," Wallace says. "I don't care whether you are a veteran or one of the new kids on the block. Winning a NASCAR Busch Series race is extremely difficult, so any time you can win one of these things, you are in seventh heaven. I don't really look at it as a veteran beating a young guy. I look on it as a win in one of the toughest series in the world. Winning is still what it is all about, whether you are a veteran or one of the young guys."