Racer David Green describes himself as one of the "gray-haired guys," an elder statesman of the Busch Series who finds himself racing teenagers young enough to be his kids.
Green, 45, currently leads the championship points, but is only 36 points ahead of the second-place racer, 19-year-old Brian Vickers.
"There¿s no doubting their talent or the quality of cars these young guys have," Green said. "Not only do they have top-notch, Winston Cup affiliated teams, but they are good drivers. Some of us have kids who are almost their age. Brian was playing with blocks last time I won a championship."
While Green is joking, he¿s not far from the truth. Vickers turned 11 less than a month before Green was awarded the 1994 Busch Series title.
When the Busch Series visits Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Aaron¿s 312 on Oct. 25, there will only be three races left before the series champion is crowned. Green knows he¿ll be in one of two positions ¿ either fighting off pursuing up-and-coming drivers or chasing them to regain the lead.
"This championship isn¿t going to be decided until the checkered flag waves for the last race this season," he said. "It¿s the closest points race from first to fifth in Busch Series history, and that isn¿t going to change. Atlanta is going to be very important in deciding this thing."
When Clarence Brewer, owner of the No. 27 and No. 37 Busch Series entries, decided to flip his teams during the off season, Green inherited the team who won last year¿s Aaron¿s 312 with driver Jamie McMurray.
"It was a pit call that got them the race in 2002," Green said. "I¿m glad to know it¿s the same guys who took home the trophy last year that I have behind me this year at Atlanta. They know this track, from what needs to be under the hood to how to get to victory lane."
Green knows if his crew can repeat their 2002 performance during this year¿s Aaron¿s 312, he¿ll be hard to catch in the final three races of the season.
"I have a feeling the Aaron¿s 312 is going to be a pivotal point in the championship race for us," Green said. "I haven¿t had the best of luck at Atlanta in the past, but I do have a lot of experience on this track and I¿m hoping this is the year that will pay off for the Timberwolf team."
While he doesn¿t have the backing of a Hendrick Motorsports or Richard Childress Racing like others in the championship hunt, Green believes his on-track experience will give him the edge he needs to take home the Busch Series trophy at the end of the season.
"I know we can win this thing, but it¿s still stressful to have to consider that we¿re racing for a championship every time we make a decision at the track. I think they should just call it quits on the season right now," Green joked. "That would make me happy."
Unfortunately for Green ¿ but fortunately for other drivers and fans alike ¿ the season isn¿t over. The Aaron¿s 312 Busch Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, just one event of the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 Weekend, Oct. 24-26, will be held on Oct. 25.