Jeff Green will make his 200th start here Sunday;

LVMS also the site of Green's first NASCAR victory

 

CAREER MILESTONE: Jeff Green will attempt to qualify for his 200th start of his NASCAR Nextel Cup Series career in the March 12 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at LVMS, driving the No. 66 Best Buy HAAS CNC Racing Chevrolet.

 

Coincidentally, LVMS is the site of the Green's first NASCAR win. In 1997, Green started from the pole position and led 71 of 200 laps to win in what was another career milestone, his 100th Busch Series start. 

 

TEST SUCCESS: Jeff Green and his No. 66 Best Buy team posted the fastest lap time of any Chevrolet Monte Carlo during the Preseason Thunder test session held at Las Vegas recently. Green's unofficial lap time of 170.068 miles per hour was third-fastest overall, just behind the cars of Carl Edwards and Kasey Kahne.

 

Q&A WITH DRIVER JEFF GREEN:

 

How do you feel about this being your 200th Nextel Cup Series start? "You know, I haven't really thought about it. I didn't even know it was coming up until someone pointed it out to me. I mean, it's nice to have been given the opportunity to get to 200 starts, but you look around at someone like Terry Labonte or Ricky Rudd and 200 is an awfully small number compared to what those guys have done. I'm just proud that I've been around as long as I have.

 

"I still feel like I've got something left to prove in the Cup series. We haven't had as much success as maybe we'd have liked in this series, but I feel like Haas CNC Racing and Bootie Barker and the guys have given me the equipment I need to be successful, so hopefully we can post some strong numbers this year, beginning with this weekend."

 

You were the fastest Chevrolet in testing at Vegas. Can that translate into success on race day? "I really feel like it can. With the way testing is now, it's not just five or six cars at a test session. Now, it's 60 cars showing up for a test, and I think the track gets much more like it will be on race day with all those cars putting down all that tire rubber. It's closer than it's ever been, and I think you're left with much more of what the cars will handle like in race conditions.

 

"Since the track was like what I feel it will be like on race day, and we were fastest in that test, I really think we've got a shot at a strong run."

 

Does Las Vegas Motor Speedway have a special place in your heart? "Yeah, it does. It was very special to come out here our first year and win the pole and the race. I have a lot of fond memories of this place. I think I've got the best Cup car here I've ever had, so maybe we can add to those memories on Sunday.

 

"I like racing here. You can do a lot of side by side racing, and it's a track where you can move around and try different (driving) lines. It's a very driver-friendly track in that way."

 

Is it hard not to get distracted in a place like Vegas? "No, not really. I'm pretty good at keeping my focus. Some of these younger guys may have a little more trouble with it, but I'm pretty laid back. Michelle (Jeff's wife) and I stay in a hotel the first couple of nights when we're out here, but then we stay in the motor home on Saturday night before the race to get a good night's sleep and get into race mode.

 

"We like to check out some of the restaurants and see a couple of shows when we're out here and relax a little. We definitely don't get crazy. There's too much riding on Sunday."

 

JEFF GREEN'S HISTORY AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: In five Busch Series starts at Las Vegas, Jeff Green has never finished outside the top-10. In his very first visit to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Green sat on the pole and led 71 laps on his way to scoring his first NASCAR career win. In those five races, Green has an average finishing position of fifth.

 

In his Nextel Cup career, Green's best starting position was a 14th-place qualifying effort with Richard Childress Racing in 2003. His best finish is a 23rd-place result, which came last year while he was driving the No. 43 entry for Petty Enterprises.

 

HAAS CNC RACING'S HISTORY AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: In three Cup Series starts at Las Vegas, Haas CNC Racing's best starting position and best finish came with driver Mike Bliss last season. Bliss started 18th and finished 16th in the May 13th, 2005, event.

 

Thanks to Kerry Gilbert.