Saturday, February 9, 2008

Villeneuve's new manager/rainmaker Barry Green in Daytona garage

Daytona Beach
During the hour break between Saturday’s two Sprint Cup practice session is a time to get out of the bunker, a/k/a Infield Media Center, get a bite and walk over to the garage.

An old racing friend, Barry Green, was walking around unbothered by fellow media and fans, because he’s virtually unknown in the NASCAR community. The easy-going Green was Jacques Villeneuve’s car owner in the CART days when the French-Canadian won the championship and Indy 500 in 1995.

Green, a native Western Australian, sold his interest in the team to the Andretti Green Racing team in the IRL. His brother, Kim, is running the team along with Michael Andretti and Kevin Savorie. Green has been called out of retirement by Villeneuve to try to raise funds for Jacques attempt to race in this season in NASCAR. Just last week Craig Pollock, who was Villeneuve’s long-time business manager, bowed out of that arrangement due to a family situation in Europe.

Green said he’d never seen Villeneuve enjoy himself (despite the CART championship and a Formula One World driver’s title). Green admitted that he was a complete rookie in the NASCAR garage and was very impressed with the high level of car preparation. For the moment he’s got no title, but let’s just call him rainmaker. He’s been so busy he hasn’t had a chance to visit the Bill Davis Racing shop where Villeneuve’s Toyota Camry is based.

Dario Franchitti, who now drives for Chip Ganassi Racing, was a driver for Team Green and lost the CART driving championship Juan Pablo Montoya in 1999.

Villenueve was fifth fastest in morning practice.

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