'Two Reasons Richmond Succeeds' This weekend, Jeff Green and the ...
'Two Reasons Richmond Succeeds'
This weekend, Jeff Green and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge head to the .750-mile Richmond (Va.) International Raceway for Saturday night's Rock and Roll 400. Green finished third in this race in 2002. He also qualified in the top 10 twice last season at the track. He qualified 18th in the spring and finished 24th.
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 Richmond:
"Everyone loves going to Richmond. The drivers and the fans love the track, love the racing, and they love the Saturday night atmosphere. Richmond really has it all together. I think they have two big things going for them. The first is the lights. One of the smartest things they ever did was starting running both of their races on Saturday night. That is just what short track racing is all about. I think it really brings a lot more excitement to the racing and the fans really enjoy it.
"A Saturday night event really brings more to the table for the fans. They can make a day out of it. They don't have to work, they don't have to get up early to get to the track, but they can still get an entire day of seeing the sights and enjoy the racing. They then have the next day to drive home and enjoy Sunday with their family. I think it makes for a better schedule and Saturday night races seem the way to go. I think it's possible to even do a one-day show. It's asking a lot logistically, but it's a great value for the fans.
"The second best thing that ever happened to Richmond after installing lights was have the opportunity to host the 26th race of the season. That was like finding gold or striking oil for Richmond. The final race before the 'Chase for the Nextel Cup' has generated this speedway a ton of publicity and a ton of interest. It's really exciting for the fans and the drivers involved. Everyone comes to this race knowing that this is it. Everyone knows that this is the last chance to qualify for the championship. That just makes this race rocket up the scale of importance and interest. I'm sure the speedway is jumping up and down knowing that they host this race. There is not another better hand to have right now.
"Richmond offers a lot for those two reasons alone, but for us it's about racing. There really isn't a better track that we race on that allows us to really race. That's the difference. We can race each other at Richmond. It's a short track, but it's not like Martinsville or Bristol. Richmond is still big enough and wide enough for us to race several different grooves. We can bump each other if we have to, but there is no reason too. We can race clean, and should race clean, at a track like Richmond. We are in control of these cars and there is no excuse for not racing clean here.
"I've been wrecked there before and there is just no excuse for it. It's really frustrating when that happens there. Hopefully it won't happen to anyone, and hopefully it won't happen to a guy trying to get into that final spot for the championship. I don't know how you can explain it if you wrecked a guy that was going for that final spot. I don't want to be that guy.
"I just want to have a good race, and I think we can do that here at Richmond. We've qualified really well here in the past with the Cheerios car. I've had some really fast cars here, but this is a tricky track. It can change on you throughout the night. You really have to stay on top of the track conditions. But, this track has aged some since they last sealed it. I think we're seeing some more consistency to it. Hopefully we'll be able to stay on top of it and give this Cheerios Dodge a good run on Saturday."