2007 Ride: No. 66 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet
2007 Primary Sponsor: Best Buy
2007 Owner: Gene Haas
2007 Crew Chief: Harold Holly
Stats: 32 races, zero wins, zero top fives, three top 10s, 32nd in points.
High Point: Green and the No. 66 team struggled through the first four races of the year, but hit on something in the first Car of Tomorrow event at Bristol. After qualifying ninth – his best start of the season – Green came home in sixth position. The top 10 did not come easy at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile; Green fought back from a lap down, moving up three spots over the final 12 laps to earn his best finish of 2007. He’d wind up matching that twice more over the course of the season, placing sixth at both Phoenix and Loudon – also CoT events.
Low Point: With the exception of the Daytona 500, one would be hard-pressed to find a more prestigious event than the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis. Teams go all out in hopes of kissing the bricks and bringing home a trophy – as well as one of the biggest checks of the season. But all the preparation in the world could not help the No. 66 Best Buy team this year; after completing just 13 laps, Green smacked the wall hard in turn 3, eliminating him from competition and leaving him 43rd. One of four DNFs for wrecks this season, it was easily the worst finish for him in 2007.
Summary: With the addition of teammate Johnny Sauter, continued support from Hendrick Motorsports and the past success of the Jeff Green/Harold Holly combination, the No. 66 Chevrolet should have seen marked improvement over their 2006 stats. They did; but not enough, as Green could only muster three top 10s and an average finish of 26th place in 32 starts. He seemed most comfortable in the CoT events, leading at least one lap in four different races while posting his best finishes in the No. 66.
But elsewhere, continued mediocrity was the norm, not the exception; and as the season wound down, the pressure of the Silly Season carousel landed Green’s ride in jeopardy. After just one top-15 finish in his final 12 starts with the team, he was ultimately replaced by Jeremy Mayfield after the fall race at Martinsville. It was another case of the driver merry-go-round continuing at Haas CNC Racing; Green was the first driver since the team’s inception in 2003 to last more than a full season.
Quote of the Year: “I’ve been racing since I was eight years old, so that’s 36 years of learning that you can’t get too overconfident when things are going well, and you can’t get too down when times are tough. If you can’t learn to shake it off when you have a bad day, you’ll have ulcers the size of dinner plates.” – Jeff Green
2008 Outlook: Blindsided by his firing with just four races to go, Green’s still reeling from his recent release – especially since he had a signed contract through the end of the 2008 season. Confident he would be back with Haas CNC, Green wasn’t out shopping around for a new ride; and that’s left him on the outside looking in. With the rides still available few and far between, Green better find one soon before he’s sitting on the sidelines for next season.
2006 Frontstretch Grade: C
2007 Grade: C
Editor’s Note: The 2007 season is over, and even the Final Chase exam has come to a close – which means it’s time to give each driver their annual year-end evaluation. For the second straight year, your favorite Frontstretch staff members are giving driver reviews for every full-time wheelman on the circuit, giving you insight into the seasons of anyone from AJ Allmendinger to JJ Yeley.