Jeff Green to drive for Key in return to Nationwide

For the first time in nearly 10 years, Key Motorsports is returning to NASCAR Nationwide Series action.

Team owner Curtis W. Key Sr. said he plans to enter a Chevrolet Monte Carlo in a handful of races in 2008, beginning May 2 at Richmond International Raceway.

Jeff Green, the 2000 champion of the series then sponsored by Busch, has been hired by Key to drive the car. Green has earned 16 victories and 87 top-five finishes in 254 career starts in the developmental series.

The last race in this division in which a Key Motorsports car ran was at RIR in September 1998, when American Speed Association Series late model champion Kevin Cywinski qualified 19th and finished 25th in a Ford. It was the 35th and last start for a Key Motorsports car in this division, a program that spanned parts of six seasons and came just a few months before Key was forced to shut down his race business in 1999.

Key returned to NASCAR in 2003 with a full-time entry in the Craftsman Truck Series. To facilitate his move to Nationwide, Key bought four cars from the inventory that remains after the merger last year of Ginn Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. Three of the cars were driven for a few races in 2007 by Regan Smith, while the fourth has never been on a racetrack.

"I really loved the Busch Series when I first got into the business of NASCAR team ownership, but a lot of things happened along the way that forced me to leave the sport in 1999 and return to Chesapeake [Va.] to concentrate on my business and my family," explained Key, owner of Curtis Key Plumbing Contractors.

He said he learned a lot in his time in the Busch Series.

"One of them was that you needed a pocket full of money if you were going to be able to compete against the big teams," Key said. "I was able to increase my plumbing business considerably over a 3½-year period and that is when I decided to get back into racing and opened the truck team. But I am thrilled to once again be able to race the cars."