'How Talladega and Bristol Meet' This weekend, Jeff Green and the ...
'How Talladega and Bristol Meet'
This weekend, Jeff Green and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team head to the .533-mile Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for Saturday night's Sharpie 500. Green is a former pole winner at this track and qualified sixth here in April. Green will be making his 11th start at the track this weekend.
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 Bristol:
"I've have some good luck in qualifying at Bristol, but it hasn't necessarily transferred to good finishes. We are hopefully going to change that this weekend. We want to have a good race and stay out of problems. That's just easier said than done at Bristol. Everyone wants to stay out of trouble, but Bristol just produces it wholesale. It's tight, short track racing, and things are going to happen.
"It's pretty frustrating. It's almost like a restrictor plate race because there are some factors that you have no control over. It's where Talladega and Bristol meet. Both tracks you can very easily be a victim of circumstances. You can just as easily be in the 'Big One' at Bristol as you can at Talladega. A wreck at Bristol can damage a lot of cars, not to mention the fact that the 'Big One' happens about a dozen times in 500 laps at Bristol. You just hope you can avoid the wrecks and keep going.
"There is really no art to Bristol. There is basically one fast way around the track, and that is the bottom. You just get the car on the bottom and keep it there. At Talladega you just line up with someone and hold on. It's just a different sort of racing. You are playing the percentages. You are hoping that the guys around you get in trouble, but you don't. You hope that they slip out of the groove and you don't. If these two things happen you will have good odds for a high finish.
"I just haven't had good odds the past few races at Bristol. We have had some good cars, but we have been hit, or spun, or something. Hopefully we can change that this weekend. Bristol is a pretty hard place to turn any sort of luck around. It's a race where you are either in trouble or out of it. We just want to stay out of it and get to the end. It's a long night, things are going to happen, but we don't want this Cheerios car anywhere around it. If we can just sneak up there at the end and be there for the win that will make us pretty happy.
"We want to qualify strong again. That really helps at Bristol. You get to pick your pit stall and that's critical at Bristol. The pit procedures are a little different and pit road wraps around the entire track. It's a different strategy and track position is like gold at Bristol. A good qualifying run allows us to pick a good pit stall. Qualifying really makes a difference at Bristol.
"We want to qualify up front and stay there. It's a lot easier to stay out of trouble if you are leading the race. It's a lot easier to avoid spinning cars too. This Cheerios Dodge is really good looking and I hate to see anyone touch it. Hopefully nobody will and we'll have a good night this Saturday."