Green Confident As Ever

5484Jpg
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. –- Heading into Bud Pole Qualifying Wednesday, there’s only one thing bothering defending NASCAR Busch Series champion Jeff Green.

It’s not the fact ppc Racing switched from Chevrolet to Ford after such a dominating 2000 campaign. Green is more than thrilled his No. 10 NesQuik team will give him Tauruses to drive this season.

No, it’s the idea he and crew chief Harold Holley will have only January test sessions to rely on when it comes to setting up the car in their quest for a front row starting spot for Saturday’s season opening NAPA Auto Parts 300. Two-lap qualifying for the Busch cars at the 2.5-mile tri-oval is set to get under way at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

“The engine change and the manufacturer change won’t be an obstacle for us to overcome,” said Green, who outdistanced ppc Racing teammate Jason Keller by 616 points to win the 2000 Busch Series title. “The only negative is that we can’t really use our notes from last year.

“The positives are we feel the Ford Taurus is a better race car. I know a lot of people questioned us when we made the manufacturer change, but we did it because we believe the Ford is stronger. If we had to pick a year to make the change, we picked a good one because every team will have to start from scratch notes. I think that will actually work in our favor because the NesQuik Racing team is very fast at adapting to change.”

Green qualified a respectable 13th for last year’s Daytona event, but wound up finishing a disappointing 42nd after his NesQuik Chevy went end-over-end, tumbling down the frontstretch. His best career finish at Daytona is second, in 1999.

Simply going on last year’s performance, Green will be among the favorites to take the pole for Saturday’s race on Wednesday. As will Kevin Harvick, the 2000 Rookie of the Year who finished third in the points and qualified seventh for the season opener.

“I feel very confident going into Daytona,” Harvick said. “Those Fords and Pontiacs are going to be tough in both qualifying and the race, but RCR has got some of the best restrictor plate stuff in the business. I was new to Daytona last year, so we were facing a big learning curve. Todd (Berrier, Harvick’s crew chief) and the guys got the car running great and it allowed me to qualify well and run in the Top 5 most of the day.

“I really would love to win at Daytona. It’s probably the most prestigious event on our schedule. But I’m more concerned with getting off to a good start this year, and getting ourselves in the thick of the points race from the very beginning.”

"I don't think there are going to be any surprises this year," Berrier said. "We have more power this year, but with the smaller (restrictor) plate opening, we’re going to have just about as much power as last year. NASCAR has given us more rear spring so the rear end will be higher in the air and they added five degrees to the spoiler.

“Those two changes will slow the cars down some. We’re not going to face anything too different from what we did last year. Our goals are to run in the top-five the entire race and give ourselves a good shot at winning the race in the closing laps.”

Hut Stricklin won the pole for last year’s NAPA Auto Parts 300 at 187.336 mph. Tommy Houston holds the track qualifying record of 194.389 mph, set in 1987, when restrictor plates were not in use.

Michael Waltrip, who’ll enter his No. 99 Aaron’s Rent Chevrolet, owns three Daytona poles, the most ever for one driver.

Another driver who might have a solid shot at the top starting position Wednesday is Joe Nemechek. The driver of the No. 87 Cellular One Chevrolet qualified third last year and is a constant threat to win the 300-mile race, as he did in 1998.

Randy LaJoie, who’ll also drive a car owned by Nemechek this season, is a two-time winner at Daytona (1997 and 1999). He qualified 11th for last year’s race.

Race Center

EnjoyIllinois.com 300

@ Chicagoland Speedway
Saturday, July 19, 2014 2:30 PM
Radio Start:
MRN, 8 p.m. (ET)
TV Start:
ESPN2, 8 p.m. (ET)

Photos

  • Sta-Green 200
  • Sta-Green 200
  • Sta-Green 200
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire
  • Kahne Edges Smith at Daytona
  • Kahne Edges Smith at Daytona
  • Kahne Edges Smith at Daytona
  • Kahne Edges Smith at Daytona
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Gardner Denver 200
  • Menard Back in Victory Lane
  • Menard Back in Victory Lane
  • © 2014 MRN. All Rights Reserved

    FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

    ISC Track Sites