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Jeff Green wins in bumpy ride

By MIKE READLING

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 27, 2001


CONCORD, N.C. -- They say experience is the key to running well at Lowe's Motor Speedway. A little friendship doesn't hurt either.

Jeff Green and Matt Kenseth, close friends off the track, got about as close as possible on the track during Saturday's Carquest 300 Busch Series race.

Green wobbled sideways across the finish line to hold off Kenseth after a last-lap battle which saw the two bump and shove their way around the 1.5-mile track.

The win was Green's first at Charlotte and second this season as he assumed a 19-point lead in the series points standings, erasing Kevin Harvick's 71-point lead. Harvick finished 26th.

"I think it would have been a recipe for wreck had Matt Kenseth not been there and it would have been somebody else," Green said. "I'm glad Matt gave me a break there. The closer it got to the end the more I wanted it."

Kenseth and Green turned the 200-lap race into a two-car battle with seven laps to go when they pulled away from the field and began their dash through lapped traffic.

During those laps Green pinned has car to the bottom of the track while Kenseth sailed high through the corners, seemingly unable to keep the lower groove. When Green took the white flag and headed low into Turn1, however, Kenseth was inches off his bumper.

Green slowed down in Turn 3, trying to keep Kenseth off the throttle as long as possible, but coming out of Turn4 Kenseth pulled his No. 17 Chevrolet up and tapped him. That move got Green just loose enough to allow Kenseth inside him.

As the two cars came through the tri-oval, Green pulled his car down in an attempt to pin Kenseth to the bottom. The two touched and wobbled almost enough to send both into the wall. Each maintained control and Green crossed the finish line with a .055-second lead.

"That last lap he did everything he had to do to win and I did everything I could to try to win," Kenseth said. "I got up close to him off of (Turn) 4 and we were rubbing and banging to the finish. I hope he had fun today because I sure did."

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