Green preps for ball with Memphis Bud Pole By Dave Rodman MILLINGTON, Tenn. (Oct. 28, 2000) Jeff Green Saturday continued to apply his signature to the Sam's Town 250 weekend at Memphis Motorsports Park when he won the Bud Pole for Sunday's...
Green preps for ball with Memphis Bud Pole
By Dave Rodman
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (Oct. 28, 2000) Jeff Green Saturday continued to apply his signature to the Sam's Town 250 weekend at Memphis Motorsports Park when he won the Bud Pole for Sunday's NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division event.
Green won his seventh pole of the season, clinching that award, when he turned a track record lap of the .750-mile oval in 22.450 seconds, an average speed of 120.267 mph in the No. 10 Nestle NesQuik Chevrolet. Green set the previous mark 119.311 mph a year ago in the inaugural NBS event here, when he also won the race.
"It was pretty exciting, but then qualifying always is," said Green, who will secure his first NASCAR Busch Series championship when he rolls off pit road at 1 p.m. ET Sunday (live TV, TNN; live broadcast on the affiliate network of MRN Radio, 12:45 p.m.). "More times than not, I slow down when I qualify over what I practiced. So I was pretty proud of that. We picked-up a little over two-tenths from where we practiced at. We adjusted on our NesQuik Chevy really hard over the time we had between practice and qualifying."
Green had the fastest lap in the morning practice, then was third behind Kevin Harvick and Casey Atwood in the pre-qualifying session.
"These guys have really worked hard and have put me in the best cars every week -- it's just easy for me to drive," Green said of his ppc Racing crew, led by crew chief Harold Holly. "My teammate Jason (Keller) came back and told me the track was better than it was in practice. So I just went after it and this Chevy stuck and went around there -- it was pretty smooth.
"Harold made some great adjustments in the car to free it up to where we could use all the motor we could. It was a pretty perfect lap, the second lap. The first lap was a little bit off, but we were able to get the pole. I just went after it a little bit harder and the car stuck. This Chevrolet was just awesome today."
The top-4 starters eclipsed Green's lap of a year ago. Leading Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Kevin Harvick will start second in the No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet after he clocked a 22.550-second, 119.734 mph lap. Rounding out the top-5 starters are Casey Atwood in the No. 27 Castrol GTX Chevrolet (119.585 mph), Elton Sawyer in the No. 98 Lysol Ford (119.332) and Todd Bodine in the No. 66 Phillips 66 Chevrolet (119.247).
The qualifying session was held in the heat of the mid-day after nearly two hours of practice, 55 minutes in the morning and one hour just after noon. More than a third of the 51 drivers who attempted to make the race lost speed from the practice held right before qualifying. Harvick was not one of them.
"We picked up three hundredths (from practice), but we thought we could run a (22) 30 or low 40," Harvick said of his anticipated lap, which would have been good for the pole. "That's what we did in testing here, but the car was better than I was in qualifying."
Harvick, who paced that afternoon practice with a lap in 22.586 seconds, put up a lap that Green thought was unbeatable before he took the track.
"I never dreamed I could beat Kevin's lap because that was a pretty sporty effort," Green said. "It got a little tight up off (Turn) 4 there the first lap and I had to get off the gas. I never dreamed we'd go that fast, but my first lap was good and my second was darn near perfect. It's just a great credit to our guys."
A lot of drivers were battling alternately loose and tight handling conditions throughout the day, particularly in Turn 4 where most of the day's incidents occurred.
"I got a little bit loose on the second lap getting into (Turn) 3," Atwood said. "I feel real good about it. That's about all the car had. We went faster than we did in practice and missed it (the pole) by just a little bit. This will give us a nice up-front place to start and we'll see how we can do in the race.
"We need a good finish. We have three more chances to get a win here in the next couple of weeks. So we'll see what happens. We tested here, but we didn't test this car. The car we tested wasn't quite like we wanted so we brung back a different car. We brought back the car we run last week in Rockingham and we finished eighth there."
The starting lineup for the Sam's Town 250 will contain an unprecedented seven drivers making their NASCAR Busch Series debuts. Two of them made the top-10, with Richard Jarvis Jr. of Ocean City, Md., locking-up the sixth spot with a lap of 22.673 seconds in the Seacrets Chevrolet. Starting seventh - 10th will be Jay Sauter in the Quality Farm & Country Chevrolet (22.691 seconds), Bobby Hamilton Jr. in the Carroll Racing Chevrolet (22.694), debuting Billy "Catfish" Parker in the Team Marines Chevrolet fielded by Whitaker Racing (22.697) and Jimmie Johnson in the ALLTEL Chevrolet (22.702).
Along with Jarvis and Parker, the younger brother of NBS regular Hank Parker Jr.; Jamie McMurray; former American Speed Association ACDelco Challenge Series champion Tim Sauter, brother of NBS regular Jay Sauter; 2000 ASA Rookie of the Year Scott Wimmer; Sammy Ragan; and Irishman Kieran Dynes will make their first career starts in the series.
Former two-time NBS champ Randy LaJoie, Mike Dillon, Mark Green, Kyle Petty, Lyndon Amick, Ted Musgrave and Dynes used provisional starting positions to make the race.
Failing to qualify were Ashton Lewis Jr.; Mike Stefanik; Justin Labonte; Jason Jarrett; Ron Young; Sammy Sanders; Steadman Marlin, who had a mechanical problem on his first qualifying lap and never got up to speed; and first-time NBS starter Wayman Wittman, who crashed early in the morning practice and was forced to withdraw.