Jeff Green

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Xfinity Spotlight: Jeff Green on 26 years of marriage and growing up with the Waltrips

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CONCORD, North Carolina — Jeff Green hops up onto a counter in one of RSS Racing’s two team haulers.

The bearded, 55-year-old driver wears a camouflaged baseball cap and a Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band shirt.

Green saw Seger perform in Charlotte years ago.

“He played for three hours and every song you knew,” Green told NBC Sports. “I’m not sure how many more years he’s going to do it, so if you get the chance (to see him) you better do it.”

Green, the 2000 Xfinity Series champion, has competed in NASCAR since 1990 and has made 756 starts and won 16 races across all three national series as of last Saturday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 1.5-mile track was the site of his last win and last top five, in October 2002 in the Xfinity Series.

Back in May, Green got a little dose of his glory days at Talladega Superspeedway. Driving the No. 8 Toyota for B.J. McLeod Motorsports, pit strategy allowed Green to lead 18 laps around the 2.66-mile speedway and finish 10th. It was only the third Xfinity race he’s led laps in since 2002.

Twenty-seven years after his first NASCAR start at Richmond, and with 22 DNFs in 27 starts this season, how many more years does Green see himself getting behind the wheel?

“As long as they’ll still have me,” Green said. “I still have a little bit of fun doing it. It’s not exactly what I want to do for sure. … I feel like I’m still the same guy I was 30 years ago. Competitive as ever and I want to lead and win every lap.”

The following Q&A has been edited and condensed.

NBC Sports: What’s your earliest memory related to auto racing?

Green: My dad drag racing. As we were growing up, my brothers and I, we helped him. We had a one-car garage on our house, and he had a drag car pretty much from the time I could remember. Whether it would be polishing the wheel or helping him change something on it. The first thing I drove was a go-kart. I was 8 years old when I started doing it. My two brothers, my dad and my uncle and granddad, all of us started racing go-karts about the same time.

NBC Sports: Do you remember what that sensation was like when you mashed the throttle for the first time?

Green: What I was driving didn’t go very fast. As I got older, we graduated into different classes. It kind of came natural, kind of came easy. The first couple of races I remember I drove, I was just trying not to hit anything. You know what I mean? We were racing in the streets. We ran a series where they pretty much blocked the streets off, and we’d run around blocks.

NBC Sports: When was the first time you went to a NASCAR race?

Green: I would say probably in ’86 with Michael Waltrip down at Daytona. We grew up together and graduated high school together. That was probably the first time I went to a track as far as to watch it.

NBC Sports: What was Michael Waltrip like in high school?

Green: Just to grow up and to be around him and hear the stories that came from Darrell. That was in his heyday, the Gatorade days and things like that. Just to hear those stories was pretty cool, to be kind of have a hand on it. Outside lookin’ in. Michael went to a lot of races, so he’d come home to tell stories. I guess the main thing (was) Darrell came from Owensboro, Kentucky, too. In my mind, if he could make it, we could, too. With Michael’s help, he helped me get really my first opportunity with (Dale) Earnhardt driving his (Xfinity) car (1995-96). Without that, I don’t know if I’d have been able to sit in that car, much less get to the next opportunity.

NBC Sports: What was the biggest lesson you learned from Earnhardt?

Green: Chasin’ the dream, I guess. You know what I mean? Not ever giving up. When you have a bad week, you don’t go into the next week feeling sorry for yourself. Just try to make it better and go on and put it behind you.

NBC Sports: What’s the most fun you’ve had in any race in your career?

Green: Racing my brother (David Green) at Pikes Peak (in 200o). We raced right down to the last lap. I ended up winning, and he ran second. That was probably the most fun I’ve ever had. I knew that he raced me as hard as he could, and I did the same thing. But we also raced each other like gentlemen, too. It was pretty fun.

NBC Sports: I saw on Twitter you recently celebrated your 26th wedding anniversary (with wife Michelle). What’s the secret to 26 years?

Green: Listening. Really, without her I would have gave up a long time ago. I wouldn’t have ever made it. There had been days along the road long before I ever got to my championship years and even the Earnhardt years that I would have gave up. It’s just too hard a road. Having a good woman like that or a good lady that supports you but also envisions what you want and (is) able to push you in that direction. I think 26 years is more listening instead of talking.

NBC Sports: Outside of your championship trophy, which trophy means the most to you?

Green: Darlington, maybe. I won at Darlington (in 2001). You race that racetrack like no other. Darlington and Charlotte. I got two trophies from Charlotte. Charlotte being home back then. That’s pretty special to be able to sleep in your own bed and win the trophy there that week.

NBC Sports: What’s the best thing about Owensboro, Kentucky?

Green: Barbecue. I don’t know if it’s the barbecue capitol of the world, but it is for Kentucky. There’s a lot of great folks there but the barbecue. There’s so many restaurants I think it’s the leader in fast food restaurants, too.

NBC Sports: Where’s the best barbecue there?

Green: Moonlight Bar-B-Q (Inn) and Old Hickory Bar-B-Q. When we go back home, we eat one (meal) there and the next day we eat at the other one.

NBC Sports: What’s on your bucket list that’s not related to racing?

Green: Kill an Elk. Going Elk hunting and being able to put an old monster down.

NBC Sports: If you could have a one-on-one race with any driver past or present, who would it be against and where?

Green: It would be a short track, Richmond or Bristol. Probably “The King” (Richard Petty). I drove for him (2003-05 in Cup), and he was one of the best owners that I’ve ever driven for. Nice guy. I was on the race track with him. But I never really got to race with him before he retired. So that’s probably it.

Previous Spotlights

Justin Allgaier

Darrell Wallace Jr.

Michael Annett

Ryan Reed

Brandon Jones

Daniel Hemric

William Byron

Spencer Gallagher

Cole Custer

Ross Chastain

Elliott Sadler

Ben Kennedy

Blake Koch

Brennan Poole

Matt Tifft

Tyler Reddick

Kyle Benjamin

Ty Majeski

Ryan Sieg

Dakoda Armstrong

Brendan Gaughan

Garrett Smithley

J.J. Yeley

Harrison Rhodes

James Davison

Jeremy Clements

David Starr

Austin Cindric

Christopher Bell

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Two multi-car wrecks involving 30 cars bring out red flags early in Xfinity race at Daytona

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Saturday’s Xfinity Series season-opening Powershares QQQ 300 has been red-flagged twice in less than the first 30 laps.

The first red flag was the result of a major wreck that involved 18 cars. The pack was on Lap 23 of the scheduled 120-lap event when several drivers made contact, setting off a chain reaction crash.

Among those involved in the wreck were Cole Custer, Garrett Smithley, Austin Dillon, Michael Annett, Ray Black Jr., Jeff Green, William Byron, Blake Koch, J.J. Yeley, Ryan Reed, Brad Keselowski, Spencer Gallagher, Ryan Sieg, Tyler Reddick, Anthony Kumpen, Benny Gordon, Scott Lagasse Jr., Jeremy Clements, Clint King and Aric Almirola.

The first red flag lasted 18 minutes, 20 seconds.

The race went back to green flag racing on Lap 28 when yet another multi-car wreck – this time 12 cars – took place one lap later on the back straightaway, bringing out the red flag once again.

The second wreck occurred one lap before the scheduled end of the first of two stages in the race.

Drivers involved in the second wreck included Darrell Wallace Jr., Daniel Suarez, Brandon Jones, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, Erik Jones, Chris Cockrum, Harrison Rhodes, Brandon Hightower, Matt Tifft, Blake Koch and Ryan Reed.

The second red flag lasted 27 minutes, 51 seconds.

When the racing resumed following the second wreck, of the 40 cars that began the race, only Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon, Ross Chastain, Dakoda Armstrong, Brennan Poole, Joey Gase, Brendan Gaughan, Kasey Kahne, Mario Gosselin and David Starr had not been involved in wrecks.

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NASCAR Sprint Cup teams testing at Richmond today, Wednesday

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Richmond International Raceway hosts a Goodyear tire test today and an open test Wednesday to help teams prepare the September race there – the final race before the Chase for the Sprint Cup field is set.

Scheduled to take part in the Goodyear tire test will be one team each from Richard Childress Racing (Brian Scott), Chip Ganassi Racing (Kyle Larson), Roush Fenway Racing (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) and Michael Waltrip Racing (David Ragan).

Wednesday’s test, which is open to the public, is scheduled to have, according to the track: Jeff Gordon (Hendrick Motorsports), Carl Edwards (Joe Gibbs Racing), Joey Logano (Team Penske), Sam Hornish Jr. (Richard Petty Motorsports), Jeff Green (The Motorsports Group), Clayton Rogers (Beard Motorsports), Larson, Stenhouse, Ragan and Scott.

Wednesday’s test is scheduled to go from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. ET.

Each organization is allowed one car at the test.

 

Today’s FedEx 400 Sprint Cup race: Start time, lineup, radio & TV info and more

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After two weeks in Charlotte, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series begins a stretch of races on unique tracks beginning with today’s event at Dover International Speedway, a 1-mile concrete track.

Here are the particulars for today’s race (all times are Eastern):

START: Lisa Goring, Autism Speaks, and Kenny Adams, special guest of Dover International Speedway, will give the command for drivers to start their engines at 1:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 1:15 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 400 laps (400 miles) around the 1-mile oval.

PRE-RACE SCHEDULE: The Sprint Cup garage opens at 7 a.m., and the drivers meeting is at 11 a.m. Driver introductions begin at 12:30 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: It will be performed by Megan Ruger, Nashville recording artist, at 1:01 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race at 1 p.m. Motor Racing Network will broadcast the race on radio and at mrn.com, with its pre-race show beginning at noon. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have coverage beginning at noon.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts 84 degrees at race time with a 24% chance of rain.

LAST TIME(S): Jeff Gordon scored his most recent victory, winning at this track in Sept. 2014. Kevin Harvick led 223 laps but had to pit under green while running third because his left front tire lost air after the inner valve stem was knocked off on the previous stop. Harvick finished 13th. … Jimmie Johnson won the June 2014 race at Dover, leading 272 laps. Kevin Harvick had to pit with a flat left front tire while leading under green. He finished 17th. The race was briefly stopped to make repairs to the track after a piece of the racing surface came apart and damaged Jamie McMurray’s car.

SPEEDWAY DOMINANCE: Hendrick Motorsports has won each of the past three Dover races but no one has ruled like Jimmie Johnson. He has a track-record nine wins. He’s also led a track-record 2,976 laps at Dover and has led the most laps in nine of the last 12 Dover races.

STARTING LINEUP:

Row 1: Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr.

Row 2: Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth

Row 3: Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick

Row 4: Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards

Row 5: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch

Row 6: Jamie McMurray, Austin Dillon

Row 7: Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson

Row 8: David Ragan, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Row 9: Ryan Newman, Paul Menard

Row 10: Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer

Row 11: Casey Mears, Jeff Gordon

Row 12: Aric Almirola, Justin Allgaier

Row 13: Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart

Row 14: Brian Scott, Sam Hornish Jr.

Row 15: AJ Allmendinger, Alex Bowman

Row 16: Trevor Bayne, David Gilliland

Row 17: Danica Patrick, Michael Annett

Row 18: Jeb Burton, Matt DiBenedetto

Row 19: Cole Whitt, Brett Moffitt

Row 20: Josh Wise, JJ Yeley

Row 21: Brendan Gaughan, Mike Bliss

Row 22: Landon Cassill

Did Not Qualify: Travis Kvapil and Jeff Green

 

Here’s the starting lineup for tonight’s Sprint Showdown

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While it will have 14 fewer drivers (29 instead of 43) than a normal Sprint Cup race starting field, tonight’s Sprint Showdown will be as competitive as any points-paying race — maybe more.

After all, there are two prizes for the winner of each segment.

First, each gets to advance to Saturday night’s main event, the 31st annual Sprint All-Star Race.

Second, by virtue of advancing, the two Showdown winners — as well as whichever driver wins the Sprint Fan Vote — will have a shot at the $1 million first prize for winning the All-Star race.

Here’s the starting lineup for tonight’s Sprint Showdown:

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