'Pit Strategy Important at Kansas ' This weekend, Jeff Green and the ...
'Pit Strategy Important at Kansas '
This weekend, Jeff Green and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge head to the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway, located in Kansas City, for Sunday's Banquet 400. Green will be making his fourth 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 Dodge driver Jeff Green heading into Kansas:
"I am just happy to leave Talladega. That race is too much of a circumstance-and-chance race for me. I'm looking forward to get to Kansas and get back to some real racing- a track where we can dictate a little of our own outcome. Kansas is a new track, but because it's so similar to Chicagoland, Lowe's, Atlanta, and Texas it's not really hard to get accustomed to. We're pretty much used to racing these mile-and-half tri-ovals. We know what we're getting into this weekend, and we don't expect any surprises.
"The track and the racing surface are still probably growing a little bit. The track is only five years old, and I don't think it has totally matured yet. It's definitely not a one-grooved race track anymore, but it's not really a three or four groove track yet either. It's getting there, but it might take a few more years. It's a lot better than what it was the first two seasons, and we've seen better races, but it's a process that takes a long time. Kansas will eventually be one of the great tracks, and it's pretty good right now, but like any new track it takes some time.
"It's a really fast track, and I like that part of it. The bottom groove is where everyone wants to be. That's still the fastest way around. There is a ton of grip on the bottom that the cars stick like glue. The outside grooves are coming in, but everyone still prefers the bottom. It's better to have your car handling well on the bottom, but you still need to use that outside groove to pass. Later in the race we will see guys move up higher on the track. We'll eventually break in two fast grooves, but it's going to be later in the race before it really becomes affective.
"These races and tracks like Kansas have really become more about track position. It has become really hard to pass on some of these aerodynamic tracks. We've had a lot of good cars this season, but you can't see the results because of track position. If you get stuck in the middle of the pack it takes pit strategy to get up to the front. If that means taking only two tires during a pit stop in the middle of the race, that's just stuff that we have to do this season. The package that we have this season with aerodynamics, tires and the spoiler, it's all making passing more challenging. Kansas is going to be the same deal. The track is hard to pass on and that track position will be critical. We'll probably see pit strategy play an important role on the outcome of the race.
"It has been a tough call all season for a lot of different crew chiefs. There probably hasn't been one team that hasn't been affected by track position all season. The crew chiefs are getting a lot of added pressure to make the right calls on pit road. You just can't afford to make a mistake on the strategy. I think we'll see some of that again this weekend. The end of the race, and who wins, it might be the guy that takes only two or maybe no tires at all. We've seen that a few times already.
"I have a lot of confidence in my Cheerios team. Greg (crew chief Greg Steadman) and I have worked together all season on different pit strategies during the race. It takes a lot of trust and communication between the driver and the crew chief to make the best decision. We're hoping that we'll have good judgment this weekend. A good call on pit road can lead to another good run for this Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge."