Richard Childress Racing (RCR) named Jeff Green as full-time driver of the No. 30 America Online Chevrolet Monte Carlo beginning in 2002. Here are the highlights of that press conference: Richard Childress, Owner of RCR: "There have been a lot...
Richard Childress Racing (RCR) named Jeff Green as full-time driver of the No. 30 America Online Chevrolet Monte Carlo beginning in 2002. Here are the highlights of that press conference:
Richard Childress, Owner of RCR: "There have been a lot of questions throughout the year about what we were going to do with the America Online team, and today we're here to announce that our driver is going to be Jeff Green. He's going to be with us three years. He's a great pick. We're going to have a great time and a lot of fun. America Online is a great company, as everyone here knows. We're proud to be affiliated with them."
Jeff Green: "I have to give it to you all. You all even had me wondering if I was going to drive this car or not. We've known this for a little while. This is a big accomplishment for me career to be associated with RCR and with AOL and the 30 million customers they have. Hopefully we can add millions to them on the racetrack. I think that's what our whole plan is. We want to win races for Chevrolet. I'm happy to be back in a Chevrolet again too. My job is fun right now and I'm looking forward to every minute of it.
"Dale Earnhardt gave me an opportunity in '95 to drive his Busch car. Unfortunately he's not here, but this is an opportunity I got again from him. And with Richard (Childress) being a great friend, and what we have done the past couple of years in the Busch Series have gotten me another opportunity. I'm looking forward to it. I think we can win races and be competitive every week and sell customers on AOL. And that's what it's all about."
Chris Geisler, AOL's Director of Promotions and Sponsorships: "From the AOL standpoint, we're just excited. We're excited to be at the Winston Cup level of NASCAR racing. We're excited to be with Richard Childress Racing; we're excited to be with Jeff Green. We think he's going to do a great job of bringing NASCAR to our 30 million members and helping us add members to that all the time. We're going to run four more races after Chicago with Jeff. The next one is the Brickyard in August and then we'll go to the night race in Bristol. And then we have a great event the first week in September in Richmond, the Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 with the Looney Tunes. Jeff is going to be donning the "Daffy Duck" logo on the side of his car. And then we're going to run the race at Charlotte the first week in October. So for right now, it's just excitement for AOL."
For Richard Childress: How did you select Jeff Green as your driver
"I've watched Jeff's career for a long time - even before when he was in Winston Cup. I've seen some of the things that he's accomplished and seen how he's handled himself and I felt that he has all the potential to be a champion in Winston Cup. That's what RCR is all about. We want to build championship race teams. And to do that, you've got to have a championship caliber driver. Well, he won the championship last year in the Busch Series and he's a proven winner. I like the way he drives. If anyone saw the Charlotte race he won there his year, that was the thing that really sealed the deal I think."
For Jeff Green: Can you comment on the fact that you'll be driving quality equipment
"Well, that's the only way I'd ever come back to Winston Cup. I was there before in equipment that wasn't championship equipment. With RCR and what they've done over the years, and with a great sponsor in AOL, I think that we have the quality in people surrounding me and I think I can get the job done as a driver to win races every week. You have to be consistent and you have to be competitive. That's what you have to do to win a championship. If you can do that, run in the top 10 every week, the top five's will come and the wins will come. There is no way that I would ever leave what I had to run 30th. This is an opportunity to win and that's what it's all about."
For Jeff Green: After your last experience in Winston Cup, did you worry that you might never have another opportunity?
"I didn't worry about it. I thought I was pretty happy where I was. But I think every driver in the garage area will tell you they want to be in Winston Cup and they want to win races in Winston Cup. I was tickled to death winning Busch races and winning championships but I'm just like an amateur golfer. He wants to win a PGA Tournament. It's the same in racing. I want to win a Winston Cup championship and win races for RCR. There are only two or three teams that I would ever drive for in the Winston Cup Series and RCR was right at the top of them. I was blessed to be picked for this."
For Jeff Green: Now that this announcement has been made, do you think your Busch Series ride will become a lame duck situation for the rest of the season?
"I don't think it will hurt my situation there. We're all professionals and we're all grown-ups. We can with this race today and we can win next week. We have that attitude. They'll definitely go on with their lives after I leave. We're trying to win another championship. We've gotten behind. But we're not going to give up until (after) Homestead, and we think we can win every race between now and then. And if we can do that, we'll have another shot at the championship."
For Richard: What is tough about expanding from a two-car to a three-car team?
"Give me a year and I'll tell you. I think a lot of it is the talent pool. We were one of the very last teams to go to a three-car team. Today, I think that was a mistake. If we would have gone to a three-car team earlier, I think we could have maybe accomplished more at that time. It just gives you so many more resources and engineering and R&D. Just the hours we'll have on the racetrack today, for example. When you've got drivers like Mike (Skinner) and Kevin (Harvick) and Jeff (Green) that can share a lot of information, it really helps. Jeff came up here and tested and gave that information to the other cars and we were automatically fast the whole time. We see a tremendous amount of benefit. I think you're going to see more three-car teams next year. I'm sure there will be another announcement or two on some more teams. I think it's a trend. This time we didn't want to be on the tail-end of the trend. We wanted to be up-front with it."
For Jeff: What influence did Dale Earnhardt have on your career up to this point?
"Well, he tried to teach me patience. He was the first one that gave me the opportunity to have a first-class ride and do it every week. Dale Earnhardt took a chance on me, got me the experience, and gave me the opportunity to win a championship last year. We didn't win races in that car. We were supposed to win every week with that No. 3 on the side but we didn't. We were second a bunch of times, but didn't win. But he did give me the opportunity to be here every week - to learn the race track and learn the people and get the experience to win a championship last year."
For Jeff: Who is going to be your crew chief?
"Harold (Holly) has been a class act. He's a great crew chief and the best crew chief I've worked with up to this point. Todd Berrier is going to be my crew chief and a bunch of those guys from the No. 2 Busch team. We'll let Richard put those guys in place. But they're doing a great job right now on the AOL car."
For Jeff: What made you make the move to Winston Cup after basically deciding you could stay in Busch and maybe even retire there?
"I learned that I couldn't do it on m own. You have to have all the right things surrounding you. You've got to have all the pieces of the pie to make it happen. I don't think any driver can get in a 30th place car and win. You've got to have a winning team. You've got to have people that give 110% to try to make that car win. You've got to have the right people surrounding you; you've got to have the right sponsor, and the right equipment. I think we've got the whole package right here."
For Richard: Can you tell us how soon you will announce any changes with the No. 31 car?
"We have another year with Mike Skinner and another year with Lowe's. What we're doing now is just revisiting our whole RCR organization. We're in the mix of trying some things that I don't think other teams have done. We're going to put all three teams together. We're going to have all the crew chiefs together. Right now, we've got several other things that we're trying at RCR and this was a huge step to go with AOL and all. After us putting Kevin Harvick in the car, we started looking (for another driver). AOL was so good to work with through what happened in Daytona and us taking Kevin out of that car and putting him into the No. 29 car and put Jeff into it. We have a lot of things like that to work out. We might be able to make more announcements like that (regarding the No. 31 team) next month."
For Chris Geisler: Did you consider having a 3.0 number on the car?
"We're at our 6.0 version now and we're probably going to make another announcement with a new launch later in the year. So no, we don't want to go backwards. We've done that before in the ARCA Series where we had a 3.0 car and a 4.0 car, but I don't believe we'll do that with Winston Cup."