'Lessons Learned At Talladega' This weekend, Jeff Green and the ...
'Lessons Learned At Talladega'
This weekend, Jeff Green and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge head to the 2.66-mile Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for Sunday's Talladega 500. Green has eight previous Nextel Cup starts at the track. His best finish was fifth at the track in 2002.
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 Talladega:
"The hardest hit I've probably ever taken in a Nextel Cup car came in this race last year. I got turned by another guy and just hit the wall like a ton of bricks. I don't ever want to hit like that again. I always had a pretty good idea I didn't want to get turned by another guy at Talladega, but I'm fully convinced of it after that. Seriously, there's nothing that you can learn from that. It's just the type of accidents that happen here when we are racing this close. It's frustrating, but I really don't know what we can do to prevent things like this from happening.
"We're all in the same situation, and you just hope that everyone remembers that. We don't want to be wrecked, and I have too much respect to ever touch another car. That's really not racing, and I don't want to race like that. I'd rather pass someone using my own skill and not my bumper. I think guys really have to remember that at Talladega. This isn't a track where you want to experience taking a big hit like I have. I can tell you that it's not fun.
"It's going to be interesting to see how this race plays out. The guys in this championship battle have a lot at stake. This has been a race where we've seen a lot of guys get taken out in one accident. I don't know of anyone is going to be racing differently, more cautiously or not, but hopefully everyone will keep their heads on straight. It's tough to think of someone taking an ill-advised risk to gain one or two positions here - especially early in the race. I think we all have to use our heads this weekend.
"I love the tunnel at Talladega. That's my favorite place to drive out of Sunday afternoon. Kidding aside, it's just tough to race at Talladega. It's a mental challenge and it's a track where you need help to win at. You need to have a drafting partner, and no matter how great your car, if you don't have someone to draft with you are not going to win. That can be a tough pill to swallow. I'm sure you're going to see a lot of teammate racing out there on Sunday. The Roush guys are probably going to help each other, and that's a five-car train right there. Everyone knows that DEI and Hendrick Motorsports have been strong recently at these plate races. We have our homework to do, but I can't think of a better place to come and steal a good finish.
"We're going to have to keep up with everyone. We can't lose the lead draft and we can't let some of these guys work too closely with each other. We want to be the ones to break up their little party. I think we can do it too. We have had some pretty good cars at the plate tracks in the past. Hopefully we'll have another good car this weekend.
"A good car is half the battle. Getting some drafting help will be the other half. If we can get that combination we'll be a factor in Sunday's race. There are going to be some spoilers out there. Talladega is just a little bit different than most other tracks. This Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team is ready to be that spoiler."