NASCAR: Haas CNC Racing Fantasy Preview

2006 Team Performance
Well, at least there's no drama with these guys, huh? In the team's five seasons of existence, Haas Racing has employed six different drivers in its single car (Jack Sprague, John Andretti, Jason Leffler, Ward Burton, Mike Bliss and Jeff Green), has had the manufacturer's rug pulled out from under it when Pontiac decided (in 2003) not to race Cup cars any longer (Haas switched to Chevy), and oh, by the way, the team's sole owner, self-made machine-tool entrepreneur Gene Haas, was indicted for defrauding the U.S. government of more than $20 million in income tax. What started as an R&D team for Hendrick Motorsports has turned into legitimate opera. All Haas needs is Beverly Sills to start trilling in soprano. On the actual racetrack, Green's first season in the No. 66 was predictably rocky, considering Haas CNC has never won a race, has never, in fact, finished higher than seventh in any of the nearly 200 Nextel Cup events it has run. That said, guys like Burton and Bliss did pilot the No. 66 (formerly known as the No. 0) to top-10 finishes in '04 and '05, and Green about duplicated their overall top-level performances, finishing seventh at Talladega and eighth at Martinsville toward the end of last year. It's very, very tough for a single-car team to make any sort of dent in the highest stock car circuit in the world.

2007 Team Outlook
And that's why Haas decided to add another car. Johnny Sauter is the driver for the new No. 70 team, which will be helmed by Bootie Barker. Green is an old-school driver who's been extremely disappointing in his Cup career; Sauter is a more aggressive, younger guy who takes chances, both on the track and with his mouth (he was the first NASCAR driver ever to be fined for swearing during a postrace interview). Of course, Sauter's far more experienced on the Busch Series than in Nextel Cup, and Green is a former Busch champ (in 2000) who's failed to impress on the senior circuit, so let's just say it'd be an upset to see these guys post regular top-20 efforts. Add to this mix the fact that Haas still awaits trial on his IRS charges (his trial date was recently moved from January to September of '07), and you can expect ever more turmoil for this squad.

66 - Jeff Green
Wins: 0
Best Finish: 7th
Poles, top-5s, top-10s, DNFs: 0, 0, 2, 4