BUSCH: Darlington Chevrolet preview notes

>From NASCAR Public Relations Chevrolet NASCAR Busch Grand National advance material for Darlington 200 on March 23 at Darlington Raceway. CHEVYS, GREEN RED-HOT HEADING TO DARLINGTON -- Chevrolet: Monte Carlo drivers have dominated the...

>From NASCAR Public Relations

Chevrolet NASCAR Busch Grand National advance material for Darlington 200 on March 23 at Darlington Raceway.

CHEVYS, GREEN RED-HOT HEADING TO DARLINGTON -- Chevrolet: Monte Carlo drivers have dominated the NASCAR Busch Grand National circuit this season with four victories in the firsts five events. Even though 1994 Busch Grand National champion David Green hasn't won a race or pole this season, he's enjoying a substantial lead in the series point standings. Green has finished 12th, sixth, third, second and second in the first five races and has a 782-723 lead over BGN part-timer Bobby Labonte. Busch Grand National regular Curtis Markham is third with 659 points 3 behind Green Green won the BGN title driving for Labonte in '94 . Bobby Labonte beat Green in last: week's race at Nashville, while Terry Labonte beat Green to the stripe on March 9 at Atlanta. In his f first season behind the wheel of the No 95 Caterpillar-sponsored Chevrolet Month Carlo owned by Buz McCall., Green hopes to post another top 10 finish on Saturday at Darlington and keep Chevrolet's momentum building on the BGN circuit Chevy scored a top six sweep in the recent BGN race at Atlanta and recorded a top four sweep with seven Monte Carlo's in the top eight last week at Nashville Chevy leads Ford 42-31 in the manufacturers championship standings on the BGN circuit after 5 of 26 events.

DAVID GREEN (No. 95 Caterpillar Chevrolet Monte Carlo) "They repaved the Nashville track, and what we all feared the most happened The track came apart. It was actually in pretty good shape until Sunday, and then the heat just got to it. Going around on the parade laps you could tell. I was really disappointed we qualified 11th last week at Nashville I had the fastest time in practice then it rained. I think I tried too hard or didn't Jet enough heat in my tires. I didn't want to have to go through the field in those kind of conditions, but the car was really good. We didn' t pit one time early for tires when we could have because we thought track position might be more important, but we should have pitted. I got spun out and hit the walls And I thought it was all over. It knocked the tow out on the ear, and Kirk Shelmerdine and the guys just pulled the sheetmetal off and didn't try to fix the tow-in. It might have been one of those deals where the car drove even better after the wreck We hung in there the rest of the day. I had another run-in, and that might have knocked it back straight With about 100 laps to go, I missed a gear on a restart and overwound the engine. It never did lay down, but I think I stretched the valve springs on it It kind of got a little weak off the corners. It might have been a blessing in disguise on the long runs because I wasn' t able to spin the tires. Then it got down to the shootout with Bobby, and it was kind of tough following the car I used to drive. Two weeksd in a row, I ' ve finished second to Bobby and Terry . Bobby told me he was going to run Darlington but not Bristol, so he told me I'd have to wait until Bristol to win. But if I could finish second to Terry and Bobby the rest of the season, I'd take that all year long. Kirk Shelmerdine has been amazing. He hasn't been pulling rabbits out of his hat, but he's given me the chance to talk to him calm and collective and he lets me tell him what I think I feel with the car. As long as Kirk's happy and having fun, Buz (car Owner McCall) is going to have him at the races. I don't really ask, but each week I kind of cross my fingers and hope Kirk will be there. I don't know what Klrk's title is, but when we get to the track and he's there, I treat him like he's the crew chief. That's who I talk to on the radio. He just comes to the track on the weekends. He just wants me to tell him what's wrong with the car. He's got open ears and an open mind. He's driven before, and he knows what I'm talking about. I don't have to tell him how to fix it. He knows how to fix it. As much times as he spent with Earnhardt, he's probably forgotten more than I'll ever know about racing. It's a neat deal. Deep down, I know he still wants to drive some. I think he's going to run the ARCA race at Charlotte. I think he's having fun, and I think that'll keep him coming back. That's been a real asset so far.

"From race to race, Buz isn't around the race team. He flew up on Sunday morning at Nashville. Whenever his Trans-Am team isn't running, he's at the track the whole time. I haven't had a lot of different car owners, but Buz is probably as hands-on as a car owner can be if bets not around the car all the time. He puts the right people in place and keeps everything flowing in the right direction. Butch Enders runs our race shop. Butch and Kirk are big buddies. They've worked together in the past, and there's no jealousy there. It works out pretty good. As long as they keep me out of the shop, things work out pretty good.

"I spent a lot of time at the shop during the winter. I tried to share some things I learned at Bobby's that's important to win races and championships. They listened. It's been a real pleasure not to have to worry about getting to the shop, and it's put more excitement in my mind about wanting to get to the track. I haven't seen the car all weeks I haven't been around the guys all week. I feel more hungry than ever now. When I was real young, we raced go-karts all summer. When the winter hit, it seem like it lasted forever. You just waited for warm weather. I'll never forget the feeling I had at the first race every spring. That's the feeling I have every week now. "This is a totally different feeling than I had in '94, and it's totally different from last year. In '94, I was probably worried about more things than I needed to worry about, and that probably took away from the on- track part. My concentration is on the race track now. At this time in '94, I probably wasn't in the top 10 in points. I was 20th in the points after the first four races in '94. I've got two more years experience, too, so that doesn't hurt anything, either."

"I look at leading the Busch standings right now a lot like I look at qualifying. You can qualify anywhere in the field and still be in position to win the race. When you win the pole, it's just icing on the cake. It's nice to sit here and think about Darlington. If it rains, I still get to start on the pole. It's good for the team, and it's good for the driver, too. We work all year to win the championship, and leading early in the season doesn't mean that much, but it does give you something to hang your hat on each week.

"I really like to race at Darlington, and I know a lot of drivers don't. I remember in 1991 when Jeff Gordon and I walked out of the rookie meeting at Darlington. Rusty Wallace had done it, and we looked at each other said, we're going to wreck sometime today. We don't know what lap it's going to be on, but we're going to hit the wall.' That's what Rusty basically told us. Knock on wood, I haven't had any encounters yet. but that deal and talking to Dennis Allison really helped me at Darlington. I talked to Donnie the morning of the race in '91 and asked him for some pointers. He told me half a dozen things about the track, and I tried to pay attention to what he told me. Since then, we've had some good runs at Darlington. It's a fun track. The new pavement has really made it nicer. You always want to do good there.

"We're going to try to do a couple of Winston Cup races this year. We'd like to maybe race at Phoenix, and with the invitation to Japan, we're trying to get some cars lined up. Our only road course race is at Watkins Glen on the Busch Circuit, and we finished in the top five there in '94. We were running well there last year and broke a motor. Ron Fellows is Buz's Trans-Am driver, and we're going to get together somewhere this year. He's going to help me be a better road racer. The Japan deal is going to have us busy, but we'd like to do at least two Winston Cup races."

JEFF PURVIS (No. 4 Phoenix Racing/MCA Records Monte Carlo) Purvis got more than he bargained for when MCA Records came on as an associate sponsor for his No. 4 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet Month Carlo in Sunday's BellSouth/Opryland USA 320 Busch Grand National race at Nashville Speedway USA. "MCA is promoting David Lee Murphy's new album Out With a Bang," said Purvis, a 37 year old resident of Ciarksville, Tenn. "That was really appropriate for Sunday's race. but I hope that doesn't hold true to form, I'm banged up all over (after two incidents that finally put his Chevy out of the race). It would have really hurt to climb out of the bed Monday morning, but I never made it to bed Sunday night. I slept on the couch. I've done this a time or two, and I've gone and listened to the doctors. I'm just going to have to get over it on my own. I don't care anything about listening to all their terms. When you mess up your ribs and stuff, it's just a matter of time until you get over it. Really, it's no big deal. I'll be back at Darlington. I don't have any choice. They're not going to cancel it on my account."

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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About this article
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Bobby Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Ron Fellows , David Green , Kirk Shelmerdine , Buz McCall
Teams Phoenix Racing