Driver Hoping For A Green Day

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Could green be the color of the day in Sunday’s EA Sports 500 at Talladega Superspeedway?

A “green” driver named Green goes for the green when the green drops.

The “green” driver represents a guy who hasn’t raced much at a particular track. Jeff Green has driven at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway exactly twice. And to be more specific, he’s also competing in the Winston No Bull 5 program for the first time.

Green is the only one of the five drivers to make his first No Bull 5 appearance this weekend.

But that won’t deter Green from going for the green: the million-dollar bonus he and a fan paired with him will get should Green win Sunday’s race.

“Each week we go out and try to win so this race isn’t going to be any different from any other,” said Green, who earned his spot in the No Bull 5 by finishing third at Richmond. “I’d rather get the trophy than worry about how much money I can earn. I think it’s great for the fans, and Winston puts on a great show, but for me, I want to go home with the hardware.”

That would be Green’s first Winston Cup victory. He’s not a rookie, but his experience in NASCAR’s top series is limited. Maybe the 30th race of the 2002 season will be kind to the driver of the No. 30 Richard Childress Racing.

Experience is one of the best teachers of NASCAR, and Green has learned a lot this season. Drafting is an art form in itself, but Green is getting more familiar with it

“Last time at Talladega we were only nine races into the season, and that’s not really enough time to earn the respect of other drivers,” Green said. “You still never know who your friends are going to be on the race track on any given Sunday but, it helps to have built some relationships throughout the season. Drafting is so critical during the restrictor-plate races, and now that NASCAR has made the fuel cell smaller, nobody is sure how this is going to end.”

The cars’ gas tanks were limited to 13 gallons this weekend, down from the normal 22 gallons. That could the experience edge other drivers may have on Green out of the equation.

“NASCAR did what they felt they needed to do,” Green said. “It does get intense out there on the race track when everyone is bunched together. One wrong move and 10 cars can be eliminated in one instant. Hopefully this will solve that challenge. Pit strategy will obviously play a big factor in Sunday’s race.”

Of course, so will the performance of the car. The chassis Green will use finished 21st at Daytona in July, and that was after getting in a late-race accident.

“If this car performs the way it did in Daytona then I really think we got a good chance of making someone a millionaire,” Green said. “I hope we can keep it exciting for everyone. I’m really looking forward to this race with so much on the line. It will be hard to beat Dale (Earnhardt), but we’ll give it our best – just like we do every weekend. I’ll take the trophy and gladly give the big check to the fan.”

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