Back in 2000-2001, Jeff Green and Kevin Harvick were battling it out like little savages for the Busch Series Championship. By then, Kenseth and Junior had moved on to Winston Cup and and the Busch series was a battle between hardcore regulars, although there were always a few Buschwackers down there…and Mark Martin was running in both Series back then. Jeff Green won the 2000 Busch Championship by a whopping record 616 points. He also put himself, and his older brother Dave, on hallowed ground, at least for a day when they became the first set of brothers to win NASCAR Championships.
The Greens’ sole possession of that feat stood for a mere 25 hours, 8 minutes & 30 seconds as Bobby Labonte ended the Greens’ moment of glory as he clinched his first and only Winston Cup championship with a 3rd place finish at Homestead with the final race at Atlanta yet to come ((His older brother, Terry, for those of you who’ve been stuck in a nested DO loop all these years, had won the title twice before—in 1984 in the #44 Piedmont Airlines Chevrolet, and in 1995 piloting the Rick Hendrick owned #25 Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Chevrolet)). Homestead, by the way, did not become NASCAR’s final racing venue of the season until the 2002 season.
Those were heady days back in early 2000’s. A different racing world than what we see today. The points system was much different….I’ll bet y’all forgot that you got 185 points for finishing first and leading the most laps. I know I did…I had to look it up.
Jeff Green had the deal sealed up in 2000 before the Miami 300 teed off at Homestead, but there was a race to be run, and Jeff Green finished 3rd in his #10 Nestle NesQuik Chevrolet behind two Buschwackers, Jeff Gordon, and Mark Martin. Jeff’s brother Davis finished 17th in his #34 AFG Glass Chevrolet. Other notables in the top 10 were 2000 Winston Cup Rookie of The Year, Matt Kenseth, who finished 8th; Jeff Burton and Kyle Petty finished 5th and 9th respectively. Busch series life, Jason Keller finished behind teammate Jeff Green in 4th. The mighty Hank Parker Jr. and Tim Fedewa rounded out the top 10 along with this unknown kid from California who probably wouldn’t amount to much driving the #92 Alltel Chevrolet owned by Willam Herzog.
2001 was Harvick’s turn for the Championship ((it was also Harvick’s turn for something else is 2001, as well)). Like Jeff Green the previous season, Harvick had the deal done before the final race at Homestead the following week. Joe Nemechek won the GNC Live Well 300. Jeff Green chugged home in 9th. And Harvick who led the most laps, 128 of them, blew an engine on lap 161 and finished 37th. That worthless nobody Jimmie Johnson finished 2 laps down in 17th place. And yet another unknown go-nowhere driver failed to even qualify for the race.
As I said, it was a different world back then. And I was bit nastier back then too. The words That Homo always preceded the name Jeff Gordon. Kevin Harvick who I must grudging admit had a brave year in 2001 quickly became That Lout. I also developed a fascination for the NASCAR’s more mediocre drivers….I called the The Lost Souls of NASCAR and even made a webpage about them which I haven’t updated in years, as in not since 2002, and probably should. And by some strange power’s employ, Jeff Green became The Obsequious Jeff Green…most likely because I like the ring of that, and mostly because I thought it captured a sense of raging mediocrity that his career descended into once he left the Busch Series to join his pal That Lout Kevin Harvick at Richard Childress in 2002.
Richard Childress Racing in 2002 lined up quite a crew to go after the Winston Cup Championship. That Lout Kevin Harvick, the obsequious Jeff Green, and……wait for it……..*drumroll please*………….and Robby Gordon!! Wow!! Holy Crap!! Could you have picked a more volatile combination of drivers?? What was Richard Childress thinking??!! Geez!
Still, you would have thought that Harvick would have followed up his brave and remarkable 2001 season by leading that lot in the points. But nope. Green finished the 2002 season 17th in the points, Robby Gordon was 20th, and Harvick trailed behind him 21st in the points.
It was all down hill for Green after that. In 2003 he was fired by Childress for fighting with Harvick over an on-track incident and was replaced in the car by Steve Park.
I’ll freely admit that calling Jeff Green obsequious is a bit unnecessarily mean-spirited ((although there might be a ring of truth to it given his situation today as a perennial start and parker in the Busch Series)), but as I’ve mentioned before about my bloogin during that era, mean-spiritedness ruled the day.
I’ve never met Jeff Green, and I’d probably like him if I did meet him. He looks more like the owner of your local residential/light commercial HVAC contracting firm. But given the nature of my blooging these day, I come with up with these ideas on the fly and thus I do not and did not have time to actually interview him for this post. Then again, this blog post is not really about Jeff Green anyway, as you will soon see.
Today’s Brazilian Gran Prix ended as expected with Sebastian Vettel winning the damn thing making it 9 wins in a row which ties with no one…he blasted past Alberto Ascari when he won the US Gran Prix; and 13 wins for a season which ties Michael Schumacher. It also marks Seb’s 4th F1 Championship and 4th in a row, which he had locked up before the season even started. The only thing that could top that would be if he got up and played the cadenza from Mozart’s Concerto No. 3 for French Horn before dousing everyone with the obligatory champagne.
Then again, he has a ways to go to catch up with Jimmie Johnson. Maybe when he win his 6th Championship in 2 years times, he’ll get to wear a nice hat as well.
But it was fairly sweetness and light on the podium today at São Paolo. When the sports news fox wanted to interview Vettel first, good ol’ Seb deferred to his departing teammate Mark Webber who thanked the Australian racing fans for all their support for him over the years. Webber is a nice guy and I wish him well in sport cars. Then it was over to Seb for a parade of the usual bland and deadly courtesies. And as the news fox turned to Alonso, who was his usual dour self, I switched back over to NBCSN for a bit of ManU(re) v Cardiff….but ha ha ha I won’t get into that.
So that was pretty much the F1 season for 2013. All Seb, All The Time. The pretty boy smile. The master of the bland and deadly courtesy, like when he disobeyed team orders at Malaysia, then apologized to Webber, and then retracted said apology. But always with that smile. I suppose because he plays the focking French Horn, it makes him a little less boring than Jimmie Johnson. Plus, he’s European. That automatically makes a person less boring, and so?
But bloody hell anyway, F1 HAS to do something about this!! Maybe the switch to 6 cylinder engines in 2014 that rev at a mere 15,000 rpm will level the field and bring some of the crankier and menacing and meaner-spirited types to the top of the podium.
I would LOVE to see a podium of Hamilton, Alonso, and Räikkönen all crackling with spite and hatred.
Back in the brave and mighty days of 2001, 2002, when the obsequious Jeff Green prowled the Busch and Winston Cup garages, there really, honestly and truly, were none or very little start and park teams out there. Pick any race from 2001 at random and see for yourself.
Even down in the Busch series in 2000 when Jeff Green won the title….I don’t see a lot of it going on there either at the time.
For example….at the Sears DieHard 250 at the Milwaukee Mile on July 2nd 2000, there were 51 cars that tried to make the field. Of the 43 qualifiers, only 2 cars logged less than 200 laps….Casey Atwood crashed his #27 Castrol GTX Chevrolet on the 18th lap and Phil Parsons wrecked his #57 Kingsford/Alltel Chevrolet on lap 106. Geoff Gilchrist tore up his #15 Albertson’s Chevrolet in turn 4 on lap 230. Every other driver finished the race. And even the worst of those, Buckshot Jones, had 243 of the 250 laps in the bag when the checkers dropped and Jeff Green cruised home the winner. ((And for those of you sipping your MOUNTAIN
CREEK CREST or your HOPALICIOUS or your SPATEN down at The Firehouse in Mt. Horeb: Wisconsin’s very own Jason Schuler finished 21st in the #17 Visine Ford so be sure to ask Leo why the fock Jason didn’t take out that good for nothing Jimmie Johnson who finished 9th in the aforementioned #92 Alltel Chevrolet owned by William Herzog)).
So it’s a sad and almost clairvoyant testament then that Jeff Green, now 10, 12, 13 years on from his glory days, such as they were, is reduced to starting and parking the #10 Tri-Star Motorsports Toyota in the facking Nationwide Series, and occasionally filling in in the #14 Reynolds Wrap Toyota. In the O’Reilly Autoparts 300 on April 12th at the Texas Motor Speedway this past season….Jeff Green qualified that #10 sled 29th. 29th!! And so off he goes from row 15 and by the time lap 3 rolls around, the #10 Toyota has developed a “VIBRATION”, and the obsequious Jeff Green is piloting it to the garage.
In the final Nationwide race of the 2013 season, the fate of the obsequious Jeff Green is somewhat better. So the season ends on a higher note. In the 2013 Ford Eco-Boost 300, Green is piloting the aforementioned #14 Reynolds Wrap Toyota. He started the race 29th. 29th AGAIN!! What fearful symmetry!! And this time the car, like magic goes ALL THE WAY to the end. All 200 laps in the bag and a 2oth place finish! PLUS, he got to beat a REAL LIVE GIRL this time, as Johanna Long finished in 21st. Mike Bliss, however, drew the short straw, slapped on his tin foil helmet and jumped into the #10 sled which he qualified 27th. 27th!! Wow he pipped the obsequious Jeff Green there!! Anyway, by the time he drove that motherfucker straight to the garage on lap 49 with ELECTRICAL issues (shocking!!), Josh Wise, Michael McDowell, and T.J. Bell had already been doing damage to a 30 pak of LOST LAKE Light, but there was still enough to soldier on through.
Meanwhilst, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth were preparing themselves for their big day the following afternoon. And God only knows what they put themselves through to prepare for a final race like the 2013 Ford EcoBoost 400 with the Championship on the line. I suppose they spend their time fucking their wives perhaps, or drinking lots of water? Are they mischievously chugging a beer or two while watching a documentary about glass-blowing in Hungary on PBS? I doubt they’d be sending fake twitter messages to Brad Kesolowski, but maybe they could be kicking back in the hauler wearing a lavender-coloured silk smoking jacket, and reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace while Glen Gould’s final interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations plays softly in the background. I don’t really know. You tell me.
In any case, on Sunday November 17th 2013, the green flag dropped at Homestead and the music began to play. And for 3 hours, 3 minutes, and 52 seconds it was a symphony that until the final movement, had you hanging on every note….although in the maddening and compelling yet predictable final movement, there still was a busker’s chance that some note or violin would go out of tune and Matt would win it all. But when the final note was struck, and the checkered flag was waved, in that moment of silence where a last harmonic echo hovers in the air and in the mind and then evaporates, in that moment of silence right before the applause ((or in this case, the burnouts rousing the imperial stench of rubber up into the night sky of Miami)) everything comes silently crashing down like stained glass dropping from the sky and rattling all over the pavement. All the dreams of a season have come to this infinitesimal moment of silence.
That was what the end of the 2013 NASCAR season was like for me. Matt Kenseth, who finished 2nd at Homestead, almost won the battle but lost the war.
And for now, we’ve put our instruments away. Cars in the garage. Tools in their drawers.
We can all park now, til next year.
Well…that’s what happened. Some of what happened, anyway.
As for the NASCAR awards ceremony, I can assure you I will not watch a lick of it. Not even if Jimmie and Chad wear those stupid hats.
I don’t even know ((plus I’m too pig-biting lazy to look it up at the moment)) if F1 has an awards ceremony that is broadcast on TV. I would only watch that, however, if it was broadcast in French or German with English subtitles, and even then only if Seb gets up plays something on his french horn.
I will, however watch the induction ceremony for the 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees which will air on January 29th. Quite a cast is going in: Tim Flock, Maurice Petty, Dale Jarrett, Jack Ingram, and Fireball Roberts. I wont miss a minute of it.
As for this little missive, I will draw it a to resolute conclusion now.
Tap that A440 one final time for good measure. Then pull the fall over the keys and step away quietly.