Jeff Green got back to his winning ways on Saturday, capturing the MBNA.com 200 at Dover Downs International Speedway for his third victory of the 2001 season. Green, who won fives times on the circuit in 2000, picked up his first win since the...
Jeff Green got back to his winning ways on Saturday, capturing the MBNA.com 200 at Dover Downs International Speedway for his third victory of the 2001 season. Green, who won fives times on the circuit in 2000, picked up his first win since the May running of the CarQuest 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Green now turns his attention to another 1.5-mile oval this weekend, the new Kansas Speedway, where he looks to take the checkered flag in the inaugural running of the Mr. Goodcents 300. On the six other 1.5-mile ovals at which the series competes - Las Vegas, Atlanta, Texas, Charlotte, Kentucky and Chicago - Green has posted one win, three top-five and four top-10 finishes in 2001.
JEFF GREEN -10- Nestle Nesquik Ford Taurus
THIS WAS YOUR FIRST WIN SINCE MAY, BUT YOU'VE BEEN CONTENDING FOR THE CHECKERED FLAG FOR THE PAST FEW RACES. "The last three to four weeks, we've had chances to win each and every race and it's finally good to get back in Victory Lane. It worked out good for us. We put the whole race together and the guys did all the right things on pit road and I did all the right things on the race track. It worked out good for us and it's carrying some momentum for this weekend. Any time you go to a new track, you look forward to that. I think the weather is going to be really nice and that's going to make it pleasant to be outside in the Midwest like that. We feel like we have the opportunity to go up and run good again. Hopefully, we can just put ourselves in position to win another race."
DID YOU TEST AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY? "No. We pretty much figured that Thursday was enough of a test for us. The whole day Thursday and practice on Friday was about all we felt we needed, and hopefully that will be enough for us."
YOU DIDN'T TEST AT CHICAGO PRIOR TO THAT RACE AND FINISHED SIXTH. DID YOU FEEL BASED OFF OF WHAT YOU ACCOMPLISHED THERE THAT YOU CAN DO THE SAME THING AT KANSAS CITY? "It's just a race track and you just have to figure out what it wants. We think that four hours will be enough for us to do that. When you get that extra day of testing in conditions which you assume will be similar to those in the race, that can be better than a whole day of testing in conditions unlike what you're going to race in."
DO THE NEW 1.5-MILE TRACKS SEEM EASIER TO ADAPT TO BECAUSE SO MANY OF THE NEW TRACKS APPEAR TO BE BUILT THE SAME WAY? "Well, we've got out normal setup and things we like to do for places like that, so that makes it easier to go in there and pretty much take our Vegas or Chicago setups, and take those setups and start there and adjust on it. It's all about adjustment anyway, so we have to adjust every week and I don't see it being any different this weekend."
AS THE SEASON BEGINS TO WIND DOWN, WE'VE SEEN A LOT MORE ON-TRACK AGGRESSION. WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THAT TO? "I think it's the competitiveness of the series. Everybody wants to win to keep their jobs and their sponsors. This is big business now. Not that the sponsors put any more pressure on us, but you want to do good for your sponsors and you want to do good for your fans and you want to do good for yourself. When you have guys that are so competitive and want to win, and you put them together, you seem to butt heads every once and a while. I think it ends up being good for the sport. It's not good at the time, but when you sit back and look at it, it gets people excited about it and I think that makes it better for our sport."
YOU'VE PICKED UP 102 POINTS ON KEVIN HARVICK IN THE PAST THREE RACES. IS THE CHAMPIONSHIP STILL THE FOCUS OF YOU AND YOUR TEAM? "It is. First of all, we're racing for the win and trying to do the best job we can each week and trying to get the most points. We definitely tally them when the day is said and done. How many points we're out, how many points we've got to go and how many races we've got to go. Not that we go into an event looking at the point situations, but we might come out looking at them. Other than that, we're just going in there trying to win each particular event."
DO YOU TAKE NOTICE OF THE OTHER DRIVERS DURING A RACE THAT MAY BE HAVING PROBLEMS AND USE THAT AS ADDITIONAL MOTIVATION TO GAIN IN THE POINT STANDINGS? "No, not really. I don't look at other contenders and see how they're running. Definitely, if you see a guy that gets wrecked or falls out of a race, you might think about it there, but at that point, we're just trying to win the race and trying to do the things to our race car to make it as good as we can get it to be around there at the end. I think if you get caught up looking at other people, you're not going to do your job and that's just what I'm focused on."
HOW DIFFICULT HAS IT BEEN TO MAINTAIN YOUR FOCUS KNOWING THAT ONCE THE SEASON ENDS IN HOMESTEAD THAT YOU'RE GOING YOUR SEPARATE WAYS FROM THIS TEAM? "It hasn't been hard, I think, for any of us. It might have been a little hard for Harold (Holly) and the guys to put forth the effort the first couple of weeks, but I don't think they stubbed their toes at all, and hopefully, I haven't as a driver. I think I've given them 110 percent every day and every lap on the race track. They've got their plans together so that makes it easier for them to go with their lives, and I've got my plans. We're trying to win races and we have seven more races, and we think we can win each and every one of them. We're still going to be friends. It's not a relationship that's going away. We're still going to be friends and we're still going to be pulling for each other on the race track, so it's just a little bit different. We're going in different areas a little bit. We're still going to be around each other, so that makes it better for us. If we weren't going to almost the same tracks every week, it would be harder, but we'll be pretty much at the same places, so it won't be that bad."
HOW TOUGH HAS IT BEEN DOING THE BUSCH-CUP DOUBLE THIS YEAR AT SELECT VENUES? "It hasn't been that bad. IRP was definitely the hardest. It hadn't been hard at all the weekends that we were just running the Busch and the Cup car at the same track. It's just the flying back and forth when you're at different tracks. I felt that at IRP running Bush, Cup and IROC. That was a pretty hot weekend anyway and you would only get three minutes to get out of the car and get to the helicopter, three minutes to get to the other track and three minutes to get in the other car. We were on too tight of a time schedule. We made it and made it happen, and when it was all said and done that night, I was ready to go to bed. That was just a job we had to do that day."
WHAT KIND OF TRACK CONDITIONS DO YOU EXPECT FOR THE FIRST RACE AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY? "I think the extra day of practice, with the two series, will give us a chance to get a second groove worked in. It all depends on what the track offers. If the track doesn't want to offer that the first time we're there, we'll never get it worked in and we'll just have to deal with that when the time comes. Four hours of practice on Thursday and the couple hours of practice that we'll have on Friday, we'll hopefully get it on the way to being a two-groove track. Most times that you go to a place that has just been repaved or is brand new like this one is, it's pretty much a one-groove track for the first couple of times we get there."
WHAT KIND OF SETUP DO YOU START WITH SINCE YOU HAVEN'T TESTED THERE? "We went with a Kentucky kind of setup with some Las Vegas attributes. From what we hear, it's more of a Kentucky than a Chicago, and that's just somewhere to start. That might go out the window the first lap and we might have to change it. We'll just try to get somewhere where we can start, and hopefully that will be close enough to where we can adjust on it and make it good."