Winston Breakfast Club Guest: Jeff Green, No. 30 AOL Chevrolet Monte Carlo HOW IS THE AOL CHEVY MONTE CARLO RUNNING AND WITH NO QUALIFYING YESTERDAY, HOW IMPORTANT IS TESTING TODAY AND WHAT'S THE OUTLOOK FOR TOMORROW? "Still mad I got beat in...
Winston Breakfast Club
Guest: Jeff Green, No. 30 AOL Chevrolet Monte Carlo
HOW IS THE AOL CHEVY MONTE CARLO RUNNING AND WITH NO QUALIFYING YESTERDAY, HOW IMPORTANT IS TESTING TODAY AND WHAT'S THE OUTLOOK FOR TOMORROW?
"Still mad I got beat in the truck yesterday, right now (part of Winston No Bull 5 promotion). My AOL car ran really well yesterday. I think we had a chance of getting in the top five or top 10 at worst (in) qualifying. But we're going to start 17th. It's not a bad starting spot. You can start anywhere here in Talladega and I think you can win here if you've got a good enough race car. I'm sure the guys that (have) won here before, Dale Jr. and Mike (Waltrip) and those guys will be the guys we'll have to beat and hopefully we can pair up with them and stay there ^Ìtil the end. You never know^ÊThe million dollars would be wonderful for our team and making a millionaire out of Roger (Phelps of Milton, N.C.) will be awesome too. We're going to try to do our darnedest and I just want to take that trophy home. That's what it's all about. I think that would be the neatest thing I ever could do."
HAVING YOUR FIRST WIN HERE WOULD BE VALUABLE.
"Anyplace that would be our first will be valuable. This is our next race. What Winston does for our sport first of all and then to put this on top of it, the No Bull 5, (it's) just an honor for me to be a participant in it. And I'm sure it is for all these other five people sitting here with me."
ON THE TRUCK COMPETITION YESTERDAY, DID A COUPLE OF PEOPLE SURPRISE YOU?
"Well, when Todd (Bodine) left I didn't think he'd ever come back as fast as he was going. To be able to beat that time was pretty exciting for me, then Ryan (Newman) beat us. If I could do it over again I think I could beat him now. I think I learned some stuff, thought about some stuff I should have done and I should have thought about before I went and got into the truck, but I didn't. It was pretty fun. It's just an exciting way for us to show our talent a little bit more for the fans sitting up in the stands and for the fans watching. It's exciting for us."
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULDN'T RACE OR PUSH TO THE LIMIT?
"I don't think so. As growing up, I've told this story quite a bit, my brothers -- I've got two brothers. We're very competitive with each other growing up. I remember when it rained real hard we had gutters out in our street, we would get Popsicle sticks and put a number on them and race them down the gutter. Anything that gives me a checkered flag I think we'd race."
ON YOUR PLANS TO RUN THE IFC SERIES IN CANADA?
"We're going to run, I think, four or maybe six races in that league. There's five or six of us. Matt's (Kenseth) is one of them, Tony Stewart. It's going to be a Tuesday night race. I think one of them is a Saturday night race or a Sunday race on a weekend that we're off. I didn't have anything to do that weekend so might as well go race, right? It's going to be fun. Matt did a little bit last year and he said it was really a lot of fun. You just get to meet some great fans. AOL is going to be on my race car. So it's just another way to get up in Canada and promote AOL, and I think that's the greatest thing we'll do for them."
DID YOU FEEL FROM YOUR END YOUR TEAM HAS BENEFITED FROM ALL THAT RESEARCH AND COOPERATION AT THE PLATE TRACKS?
"I think it surely hadn't hurt us. It hadn't shown in our performance, I don't think, and our results the way DEI has. Why, I don't know, because I think we feel like we've got all the information we need to make our cars as fast as theirs. I don't think Dale Jr. or Mike Waltrip's any better drivers than we are. I don't they can see the air any better than we can. They put themselves in position to be at the end. That's been my concern; I've got into wrecks the last three races, you know. If we can miss those things and put ourselves in contention and put oursleves in position I'd be up there with those guys. I think we have a good enough shot at winning as they do. I think they've come a long way. I think our cars are better this weekend than we've had in the other three races this year. I think that's the time to have it. It's a good time for us to have it anyway."
WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING IN A WRECK WHEN YOU SEE IT ALL HAPPENING AROUND YOU?
"I haven't been in the Big Ones, I've been in the small ones. Fortunately I haven't really witnessed that yet. I hope I don't. I've seen people go into those things and come out of them; you're just bouncing off people. You really don't know what you're hitting until it's all over and people are hitting you again. You know, you come down here with the mindset not to let that happen, I guess. Racing these things, you're racing three our four inches apart for 500 miles, and things happen. People make mistakes. Unfortunately, it gathers you up in it. I think none of these wrecks would happen if we could take those mirrors out of those race cars. The only time it happens is when somebody blocks somebody and the other guy doesn't let off. I don't know. What do you do? We're out here to race, we're out here to try to win and if the guy blocks you and you think you've got that position...I don't know whether it's worth turning somebody around for that and causing a 20-car pileup. I think I'd feel pretty bad after it was all over ^Ìcause I did that on my own. We're just going to try to do our job, try to make sure we don't hit anybody and hopefully we have a fast enough AOL Chevy so we can get there to the front and not have to hit anybody."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE 13-GALLON FUEL CELL RULE?
"I think it's going to be a good rule. The only unfortunate part, I think, is we're going to be on pit road a lot more and that's going to give a lot more chances to get somebody hurt. I don't want to see any of these guys get run over. Not just my team, all these guys are my friends in the garage area. If somebody got hurt or (if somebody would) break a leg, or get a head injury or something^Êfortunately, we got helmets now on these guys; that will help that. But, also putting yourself on pit road twice as much gives you opportunity to have something happen. I think it's going to split the field up. After the first stop it should be a better ^ÊWe shouldn't be so uptight anymore. This race is very mentally draining for me. Physically it's not hard at all. When you have to look out your rearview mirror more than you do the windshield it's pretty tough, I think. I don't think that's very good racing for us. We're just kind of like on pins and needles. And that's why when something explodes and somebody makes a mistake, that's why you have such a big wreck. Hopefully it will split the field up like they want, maybe put us in two or three packs instead of one pack. I think you'll still see as good a race, but maybe we'll have the danger down a little bit."
YOU'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN WRECKS RECENTLY. IS THAT BECAUSE OF POOR QUALIFYING OR LOSING SPOTS ON PIT ROAD?
"Qualifying I think has been our big problem. When you qualify 29th or 36th every week you have the opportunity to get into somebody else's mess. And that's what happened at Kansas. We didn't have a very good race car there at the first of the race and got shuffled back a little bit and the track was really slick. For the most part, we need to try to get better qualifying. We race really good. We really come to the front most of the time. We have a top-10 car just about every week. In the Winston Cup Series I think that's saying quite a bit, as a first-year team. That is our problem, is getting qualified. These guys can go out and put a lap down and we can't do that. We just have to work on that. We still shouldn't get in wrecks, no matter where you start. I think it's just people making mistakes. There was a mistake made there at Kansas that I got into and kind of ruined my day really early in the race. For the most part, other than that, we've had a pretty good season. We hadn't gotten into that many wrecks. You're going to get in wrecks if you're going to race, and you've got to accept that and I'm still learning what I need to do in the beginning of the race, the end of the race and the middle of the race. Hopefully we can get better qualifying and that would put us in a better position where we can ride a little bit instead of racing so hard the first of the race."
WITH THE SMALLER FUEL CELLS, MORE PIT STOPS, IS IT GOING TO BE MORE DIFFICULT FOR THE DRIVERS TO SEE THE HAND SIGNALS TO KNOW WHEN THE OTHER TEAMS ARE GOING TO MAKE PIT STOPS?
"It has become a bit more difficult to see guys waving inside the car because of our headrests and window and our nets and stuff that we've got in our race car. I think more than not nowadays everybody tries to signal out the left-side window. If you can get your hand out the window and you can really see that hand really well^Ê I think if everybody used that idea I think we can see each other pretty good. Spotters really talk a lot, especially at these race tracks where you know he's going to pit and this pit road is far enough down off of (turn) 4, I think it's really going to be a lot easier than it would be at Daytona or any other place. I don't think it's going to become a problem and hopefully after the first pit stop we won't be 43 cars on the pit road at the same time, so that will help too."
POINTING OUT THE LEFT-SIDE WINDOW BECAUSE OF ALL THE SAFETY EQUIPMENT, IS THAT WHAT TEAMS ARE DOING MORE?
"It's more what the drivers are doing. That's the first time I've ever done it this year to signal that you're coming in. Most of the time you throw it up in front of the mirror inside the car with your right hand. I think it's a lot more visible out the left side. Everybody's got gloves on, they're pretty bright gloves, and you can see that hand waving pretty good. Most of the drivers are pretty good. Off of (turn) 2 you start waving. I try to do it all the way down the back straightaway, especially if there's someone on you or a pack behind you. Hopefully everybody can see, and, again, the spotters will take a big toll on that too, of helping people know that you're coming in."
ON FUEL ECONOMY:
"If you can get a couple of more laps out of each stop^ÊI don't know, I haven't really sat down and figured the laps out, I'm sure Todd (Berrier, crew chief) has. Anytime we go to a race track fuel mileage comes into play. We have to think about that. We've been pretty good at that. The guys pack the fuel in there and the car's getting good gas mileage at open race tracks, without restrictor plates, so I don't see why this track would be any different. A lot depends on how the cautions fall too. You can't really plan a race on fuel mileage until it starts, until it happens. We will just have to look at it as it goes."
DID YOU MAKE A DEAL TO HAVE DRAFTING PARTNERS?
"I haven't got a lot of restrictor plate racing experience, but every time you try to make a deal it goes sour the first lap. All these guys are your buddies, most of them are, and you can pretty much count on all of them. I've got a few friends out there that I know that I can count on, but the other ones you'll have to just play it by ear. If you help them they'll help you and if you've got a fast race car, they're going to sure help you too. That's our concern this morning, just trying to get our AOL Chevy running really well and hopefully be at the top of those speed charts and those guys will see that and the car will perform tomorrow and those guys will hang with you if it's real fast."