'Good Run in May on 'New Track' ' This weekend, Jeff Green and the ...
'Good Run in May on 'New Track' '
This weekend, Jeff Green and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge head to the 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway, located in Concord, N.C., for Saturday night's Charlotte 500. Green, who will be sporting a Fan Fest paint scheme this weekend, finished 11th in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's earlier this season.
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 Dodge driver Jeff Green heading into Lowe's:
"The track's characteristics are a little bit different than they ever have been before. I guess that's to be expected anytime you make a change to the track's surface like they have at Lowe's, and that goes for any track. You just can't expect the racing surface is going to stay the same. You just hope the changes make the surface better and the racing better.
"This process, 'levigating', that they tried at Lowe's had never been done before, but I think they had the right idea. The Third Turn and parts of Turn One were like riding on rumble strips on the side of the highway. They just wanted to smooth that out. I think that was a good move, but now we've changed the surface. This is almost a new track. You have to take a different approach to the turns. This isn't the same Charlotte that everyone is used to. I think we all should have learned our lesson after 600 miles in May.
"The track didn't change from May to September or October. It has pretty much stayed the same. I know they plan on paving the track for next season, but really nothing has been done differently to the track since the last Cup race. I just think we have to take a different approach to it. You can't race the track the way you want to. You can't rely on habit anymore. You have to adjust to the changes.
"There have been changes all around too. The way the cars are handling is different this season, the speeds are still incredible at Charlotte, and the tires have made the cars react differently. You add all these factors together and you have to take a different approach. I guess, in this case, you just have to teach the old dog a new trick.
"I don't know if we figured out the track in May or not. I'd like to think to we did. We had a strong run (Green finished 11th) and we ran strong all night. Lowe's is a very tricky track. It always has been and it's always going to be. A good run makes anyone feel good, and we felt pretty good leaving Lowe's in May.
"We hope we can have another good run this weekend. It's a night race, and I think the track will be a little bit different, but it's not going to be too different. It's going to be cooler, and it's probably going to be a little bit faster. We'll be cautious and see how things play out. We want to be around at the end.
"The Coca-Cola 600 turned out to be a matter of survival, but I think you'll see some smarter drivers this weekend. I don't know how many guys will be too daring early in the race. Hopefully guys will just settle in and see how the race unfolds. We don't want to see what happened in May with a lot of wrecked cars. That's not good for anyone.
"We just want to have another good run. This Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team is going to be in front of a huge Charlotte crowd this weekend. We all have a lot of family and friends that will be with us and watching us. It's a big weekend. We are hopeful for another good finish on Saturday."