'Like riding a bicycle . . . really, really fast' This weekend, Jeff Green and the ...
'Like riding a bicycle . . . really, really fast'
This weekend, Jeff Green and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team head to the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen (N.Y.) road course for Sunday's SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen. This is the second and final road course race of the season for Nextel Cup drivers. Green will be making his fourth Nextel Cup start at the track. He finished 17th in this race last 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 driver Jeff Green heading into Watkins Glen:
"Although I'm a veteran of stock car racing, this is still only my fourth time at Watkins Glen. It's pretty amazing to be in this sport as long as I have, and only to have been to Watkins Glen a few times. It has just been the way things have played out in my career. I'm still looking forward to getting back there. It's a road course. Sure, they are always different, but it's still another race. We're looking to do the best we can, and I'm anxious to get some more laps on the track.
"Running a road course, or any track, is like riding a bicycle -- really, really fast. Once you learn how to do something and have been doing it your entire life, it becomes second nature. I've been racing for so long I think any track I go to I pick things up pretty quickly. It's probably like that for any driver that is a veteran to the sport. A road course might take a few more laps to get accustomed to. There is more of an art to it, but it comes back to you pretty quickly. I'm sure that after practice on Friday the track and I will be like old friends.
"The road course races are always different. They are just something so completely different from the weekly ovals. We just aren't used to it. Most of us have grown up racing on ovals. We really don't have a huge road course background. It's just more a task for us.
"I do, however, think that we see more guys in the garage today than ever that do have road course experience. We have seen more guys come over from the open wheel ranks and race full-time in the Nextel Cup series. Robby Gordon is a good example. He has really taken his past road course experiences and applied them here. Any open wheel car and stock car are totally different animals, but some of these guys have been in Cup for a while now. They know the cars and they have the past experience of turning right. It's that combination that makes them tough on road courses.
"The other side of the table, we see these 'ringers' that are hired for one race. They might do alright, but we haven't seen them win. It's still the regular Cup guys who are winning on the road courses. It's pretty hard to come in for one weekend, jump into one of these Cup cars, and win a race. This series is too competitive, and the talent out here is too great to see that happen. I think we'll see another Cup regular win this weekend. That really shouldn't come as a surprise.
"We didn't have as much success as we were hoping for at Infineon (road course in Sonoma, Calif., the series raced in June). We got wrecked and things just didn't turn out too good for us there. We're looking for a little redemption this weekend. The road course car has been sitting in the shop and it's ready to race again. We've made some adjustments to it, and know it's ready to get to Watkins Glen. This Cheerios team is ready too. They worked hard preparing this car, and hopefully we'll have a better run this weekend."