Mike Green is a veteran crew chief for Top Fuel Drag Racing. As the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello season reached its final few races, Green spoke to us about how to win.
Having been involved in championships with both Tony Schumacher (twice) and Gary Ormsby as far back as 1989, he’s a bit of an expert on the subject. His experiences with the likes of Kenny Bernstein, Darrell Gwynn and Don “The Snake” Prudhomme — plus, former NFL coach Joe Gibbs and former baseball star Jack Clark — put Green truly among the elite in NHRA history.
Mopar Magazine: What does it take to win a championship?
Mike Green: It takes great people, a great crew, and good team behind you. Everyone needs to be well trained and trusted to do their job. Cars are more complicated today. You need a great driver. And you have to be able to put runs together to get the points. Lately (recent years), you have to run really good at the end of the year the way the points championship works. Do some research and development during the year to make sure you’re running good at the end of the year.
MM: What highlights stand out for Mopar racers from 2017?
MG: I think it was Tony Schumacher’s fifth win at Gainesville, Florida. He was the number 1 qualifier and ran low ET on almost every run. He had a dominant weekend, so that one was the most memorable right now.
MM: Are there new technology changes coming that will bring big changes?
MG: No. Honestly, the rules committee and NHRA are not looking for faster cars. Teams want to go faster and make improvements, so the small things will help them go quicker and faster. But major changes are not likely.
MM: If teams make enough small changes, where can we expect Top Fuel performance numbers to go next year?
MG: It depends on stuff they’re working on, and it depends on the tracks, the track prep and the weather conditions. Some years, it’s always warm on race day; and this year, there were six races where it was always cool. So there was some real ET improvement. Will someone run in the 3.50s? I don’t know. That will be pretty tough. With enough good weather and the right track, it’s possible. Top speed won’t change much from where teams are today (330s).
MM: What is it that draws you to remain involved in racing?
MG: I just like working on cars. Dragsters used to be the fastest cars out there until we let the funny cars catch up. Dragsters are the quickest cars and make the most horsepower. It’s always a challenge and I get a lot of enjoyment out of it.
MM: What will you do in the off-season?
MG: My daughter comes home from school and we like to go on vacation somewhere in the Caribbean, like Turks and Caicos. We enjoy the beach, fishing and relaxation.