Back in March, Jeff Green tore his rotator cuff riding a bicycle. He knew he wouldn’t be able to make it the whole 2019 season racing in the Xfinity Series for RSS Racing, but wanted the opportunity to run the July Daytona race, especially after finishing seventh in the season opener at the track.
Fortunately for Green, the majority of his starts this season have been start-and-parks in the No. 38 car. That’s allowed him to save some of the wear and tear on the torn rotator cuff.
However, his surgery is scheduled for Monday (July 15) in Nashville, and he’s looking forward to getting it over with.
“I was riding my bicycle trying to stay healthy,” Green told Frontstretch of the incident. “I actually got clip-in shoes, and I couldn’t get out of them before I turned over. I fell off the bike, and I was going 0 mph. You drive 200 mph and don’t get hurt, and you run 0 mph and you get hurt.
“My age is probably a factor. I probably wouldn’t have hurt myself if I wasn’t 56 years old. I broke my tailbone in a race car, I broke my thumb in a Legends car. Those are really the only problems I’ve had driving wise, so I’ve been pretty lucky.”
Ultimately, Green had a chance last weekend to win at Daytona. The No. 38 car crossed the finish line in seventh, his second top-10 finish of the season, both of which were the only races he’s run the full distance.
“I’ve been putting up with it [torn rotator cuff] for a couple months, basically to run Daytona,” Green added. “I knew we were going to race there, and I thought I’d have a chance to win. I tried to put it off as long as I could.
“It’s an outpatient surgery, it’s a real simple surgery, but it’s a four-six month recovery so I’m going to try preparing and be prepared for next year.”
Green mentioned that the injury hasn’t bothered him inside the car. However, it’s when he gets out of the car that sometimes the torn muscle acts up.
“I’m limited a little bit, but at Daytona I didn’t even feel like I had a problem,” Green stated. “Then there’s the start-and-park, so I feel like I can hold my breath for a couple of laps anyways and it doesn’t really hurt it. I wouldn’t want to race a lot with it. I think it would hamper my performance at the end of the day. I don’t think I would want to race full-time.”
Following post-surgery rehabilitation, Green will make his way back to the track to crew chief the No. 38 Chevrolet. In 16 races this season, the No. 38 has an average finish of 32nd.
In his long NASCAR career, Green has never served as a crew chief. However, he’s typically the leader of the No. 38 car, though Clifford Turner “Cowboy” gets credited as the crew chief.
Green is looking forward to taking over the crew chief role.
“It’s a different role, but it seems like I’ve always been in a crew chief’s head throughout the race, so I kind of have that mentality anyways,” Green stated. “I enjoy learning about the cars and trying things, adjusting on the car to make it better when I’m driving it. Hopefully, I can do the same for a driver. I feel like I’ve paid attention to enough so that I can make the job work and make it happen throughout the race.”
In the past, Green said he’s never been a crew chief for anything outside of his Legends car, when we drove and worked on the car himself.
Green confirmed the plan is for him to return to RSS Racing 2020, “as long as they have me.” In a perfect world, the Kentucky native would like to be back for the last month of the season, but that’s in the doctors hands.
Even though Green has start-and-parked for the majority of the past decade (he’s only been running at the finish of 32 of his past 266 starts), the 2000 series champion doesn’t believe he has anything left to prove.
“It’s a job and I don’t have to work for a living,” Green said. “I’m able to put money in the bank and being able to live off of it because of Ryan Sieg and what he does for me. It beats going to the office or working for somebody doing something you don’t want to do for a job.
“I’m young enough where retirement isn’t even in my mind, maybe from driving it will be in a couple years, but I’m going to do it as long as I can. I’m still having a lot of fun even though we do it on a limited basis.”