Green moves to Washington Erving By Shawn A. Akers WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Jan. 25, 1999) Mark Green doesn't proclaim to be a savior for the Washington Erving Motorsports NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division team. He doesn't even see ...
Green moves to Washington Erving By Shawn A. Akers
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (Jan. 25, 1999) Mark Green doesn't proclaim to be a savior for the Washington Erving Motorsports NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division team. He doesn't even see himself as an angel with the power to turn the team into an instant winner. What he does envision is helping to take a team that struggled mightily in its first full season in the NASCAR Busch Series and give it the driver consistency it lacked in 1998, which will eventually put it on the path to becoming a contender. No fireworks in the beginning, just good, solid performances. Green, who drove the No. 37 Timber Wolf Chevrolet to 11th and 13th-place finishes in the NASCAR Busch Series standings the past two seasons, respectively, recently signed on as the driver of the No. 50 Dr Pepper Chevrolet. The deal ended speculation about his immediate future as well as the outlook for the NASCAR Busch Series team owned by former pro athletes Joe Washington and Julius "Dr. J" Erving. The Dr Pepper team went through several drivers in its rookie campaign in the NASCAR Busch Series in 1998 after starting out the season with newcomer Jimmy Foster behind the wheel. Foster experienced problems early on when he broke his foot in an accident at Texas, and then was released from the team in July. The team used a virtual palette of drivers -- including Mark Green's younger brother Jeff -- for the balance of the year. "That's (team's struggles) been kinda explained to me," Green said. "It's kind of a deal where it started wrong, and it just kept getting wrong. They searched for drivers and they never really found what they were looking for. They treated Jeff really good, and that was a big factor in my decision to come here. "They want to do it the right way, it's just that they didn't really know how to go about it. The stuff they did wrong, they got an idea of how to do it right. So now they're doing a lot of positive things to make it better, and I believe this is a good situation." Jeff Green, who now has a full-time deal with Progressive Motorsports in the NASCAR Busch Series, drove two races in the Dr Pepper Taurus last season. Talking with his brother gave Mark Green an idea of the situation he'd be getting into. After a disappointing season in 1998, Mark Green parted ways with the Brewco team. A promising start led to disappointment, and Green managed just four top-10 finishes in 31 starts. Throughout the off-season, Mark Green said he talked to several team owners about driving for them, but time began to run out. Not having signed a contract in January began making him a bit antsy. "It kinda took us all winter to get this thing done," Green said. "I stayed in touch with (crew chief) Darrell Bryant, and we kept talking about it. With multiple car owners, it just takes a lot longer to get everything finalized. I had good thoughts that something would happen, it just took a lot longer than I would have liked for it to get done. We got everything straightened out, but yeah, I did start getting a bit nervous about the whole thing." One of the "positive steps" Green said the Washington-Erving team has taken is making the switch from Fords to Chevrolets in the off-season. Ford teams, as a whole, have struggled recently in the Chevrolet-dominated NASCAR Busch Series. The team owners have had a year to observe how a NASCAR team operates, and Green said they're applying what they learned to cut down on the mistakes from last year. And, he said, the atmosphere surrounding the team is better than he's had in the immediate past. "The guys are really focused, they're hard workers and they've got good attitudes," he said. "The best thing about it is they want me to come drive their race car. The chemistry has been really good from the start. They're only a second-year team, and they've got a lot of stuff to do. "We're not going to go out and blaze the field, but they've got things headed in right direction."
Green said he and the team were pleased with a recent test session at Daytona International Speedway, where he clocked the 17th-fastest speed out of 52 cars. "Judging from the test, we're ready to go," Green said. "We were happy with the numbers we had. Hopefully we can go down there and make a solid showing, and that will get us off to a good start in 1999. We're not expecting miracles, but we do expect results."
Source: NASCAR Online