BUSCH: Bristol: Green - Ford Friday interview

David Green, driver of the No. 27 Ford Fusion, finds himself in unfamiliar territory - outside the top 30 in points heading into the season's sixth race. Green, currently 35th in the owner point standings and not guaranteed a starting spot in ...

David Green, driver of the No. 27 Ford Fusion, finds himself in unfamiliar territory - outside the top 30 in points heading into the season's sixth race. Green, currently 35th in the owner point standings and not guaranteed a starting spot in Saturday's Sharpie Mini 300, spoke about the start of his season and recalled his 1994 Busch Series victory at Bristol.

DAVID GREEN-27-Kleenex Ford Fusion

HOW MUCH ADDED PRESSURE IS THERE ON THE TEAM THIS WEEKEND BEING OUTSIDE THE TOP 30 IN OWNER POINTS? "I'm one of those guys that kind of looks at the worst-case scenario, and I think that's always a good thing to do. What I do at every track we go to - and I try to tell this to the rookies in the rookie meeting every week - I've been here for x amounts of years, but each time I come to a track I look at it like it's my first trip there. The point deal, the bright spot of where we're at is the mere fact it's just some bad luck. It's not like we haven't been making the races or going fast enough or running decent to be up in the points, because we have been, but not near as good as we should be. Like Atlanta for example, we were probably going to come out of there with a 17th or 18th, which is nothing to brag about, but it was going to knock us up into 25th in the points and we could have come here a little more relaxed in those regards. But, we had an issue on a pit stop that set us back dramatically. With that being said, it does add a little pressure. The rain today is probably the great equalizer. With no testing this year, and lot of times people have tested here, we came here with a fresh car that hasn't been raced this year. We will work through it accordingly."

HAVE YOU HAD TO REASSESS YOUR GOALS FOR THE SEASON? "I was very, very excited, and I still am, but it's a milder excitement than what I had going to Daytona in February. We ended the year on such a high note. The off-season, and what Stewart (Cooper, crew chief) did with the cars was very encouraging, especially with our speedway car at Daytona. Probably the only hiccup where we went down the wrong road was one of the cars we built to go to California with. We did some stuff a little uncharacteristic from what we learned in the past body-wise, and it kind of bit us out there. I spun it out and crashed it in practice, and maybe in a way that gave us an indication that we needed to go back, and we have done that. It kind of set us back a little bit with the first five races and going to every different type of race track. No, it doesn't diminish our hopes now and to be able to say, 'What's our priority?' By mid-season we need to get back into the top 10 or 12 and go into the second half of the year concentrating on trying to shoot for that top five. To say that it's going to be impossible is not true, but this is a hole that I've never been in before and my team has never been in before. But, hey, behind every adversity and every tough weekend is the opportunity that we can show how strong we are and rebound. I look back to last year at Loudon. Our short-track program was pretty much on target, and we went to Loudon and got pinched in the wall and tore our car up and had a disappointing finish. Stewart and the guys went back and fixed that car and we took it to Pikes Peak and we won the race. Behind every dark cloud is a sliver lining. I by no means want to say that we changed our priorities just to survive, but this series has gotten tougher, and you throw a little bad luck in there and we've got our work cut out."

YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED SUCCESS AT BRISTOL, WINNING TWO POLES AND ONE RACE. IS THIS A PLACE YOU CAN LOOK TO GET BACK ON TRACK? "I love this place, but I love it because I've had some good runs here in the past and I think it's a race track that rewards a driver that is not only patient but respectful to other drivers and respectful of the race track. With all that being said, as much as I love it and I think maybe this is the best dose of medicine for our bad luck, it could also turn out to be poisonous. But, you have to put that out of your mind. Our job is to not only make the race, but be in the race and have a solid top-15 finish and keep our nose clean. That's hard to do here, but I've been in other situations where I've sat on the pole and all you're thinking about is a win, and as soon as you let your guard down and just worry about winning the race, some of the silliest things will bite you. But, I still love it. The rain is going to be an equalizer, I hope."

YOUR WIN AT BRISTOL CAME UNDER STRANGE CIRCUMSTANCES WHEN MARK MARTIN PULLED OFF THE TRACK ON THE FINAL LAP WHILE LEADING THE RACE. "That was 1994, and I had some good runs in '91 when I started and in '93 in Bobby Labonte's Slim Jim car. On that particular day in 1994, and what I've learned here at Bristol is being around at the very end and saving your equipment, and that day was no exception. We were coming on pretty strong and it was pretty evident with 25 to go that I thought I could catch Mark. I was new at it, but I knew one thing, catching him and passing him were going to be two different deals. And, boom, the caution came out and Bobby was talking to me on the radio, sorta like Jack Roush was to Mark, but Bobby was congratulating the team for having a good run. Personally, I was very satisfied with our race. And hey, it's Mark Martin. The thing I can remember the most was coming off of turn four, not that we still had another lap to run, but Mark pulled off the track and the pace car stayed on the track. Never once, I'm proud to say, did I think about following Mark because something about the pace car still being on the track was odd. We all know the rest of the story. The other thing I remember the most was now my wife, Diane, was working for Mark and doing PR, and she went to victory lane a little bit early only to see me come in. We really didn't know each other then, but it's kind of ironic from that aspect. Plus, I still don't talk about it a lot because Mark Martin, to me that particular day, was so professional. He could have threw a fit, but the thing I remember him saying the most was: 'I rooted for David Green to win a Busch race, and I just didn't expect him to win it this way.' He was not only a supporter, I feel like, but he was sincere in what he said. I tell people, 'I really finished second that day. I just got the trophy; Mark let me have it.' I guess maybe one day I ought to return it to him. Do I think about that every time I come here? No, because it's all the things that lead up to the final lap that are more important. I just tell myself each time I come in here, I just hope it can be good to me one more week."

-ford racing-

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Drivers Bobby Labonte , David Green , Jack Roush , Mark Martin