David Green


Record updated

David Green
A veteran of the NASCAR Busch Series, David Green has had his share of success over the years. Call him greedy, but he still wants more. Hitting the circuit full time in 1991, Green turned heads by capturing the pole at the series most prestigious race, the Goodys 300 at Daytona International Speedway in his first event at the famed high banked race track. That year he also scored his first career Busch Series victory at Lanier, GA in only his 12th start on the circuit. Green finished runner up to Jeff Gordon in the 1991 Rookie of the Year competition. In 1994 David Green captured the series highest honor the Busch Grand National championship. He almost repeated the feat again in 1996. Voted the Busch Series Most Popular Driver for the 1996 season, Green finished second in the point standings by a mere 29 points. After competing in the NASCAR Winston Cup series for several seasons, he returned to the Busch Series full time in 2000. During this season he recorded his 200th career start at the Bristol Motor Speedway in August and finished ninth in the championship point standings. With 19 career pole positions to his credit, Green currently ranks fourth on the all-time list. Like many successful drivers, Green started racing in go karts as a youngster. He was competing in the Southern Indiana Racing Association with the likes of John Andretti, Scott Pruett and current IRL driver Mark Dismore. He won the Indiana state championship in 1974, 1975 and 1976, then won a national title in the World Karting Association in 1979. "In go karts, you learn a lot about preparation," said Green, "if you do your own work, like I did. But the main things they teach you are smoothness, coordination and aggressiveness." He started racing stock cars in the street stock division in 1980 at Kentucky Motor Speedway, a quarter mile track near Owensboro, where Darrell Waltrip started his racing career. David won the pole and finished second in his first feature race, and then went on to win his next four races in a row. He moved to Late Model cars in 1981. In 1983 he won 10 races at Kentucky Motor Speedway. In 1984 he decided to take on a tougher challenge. He entered the All American 400 in Nashville, competing with drivers like Alan Kulwicki, Mark Martin and Dick Trickle. "I really didnt know what I was doing; it was my first race there, but we qualified about 20th out of over 100 cars and made the race. At the end of the race I was three laps down out of 400 laps and finished thirteenth, but I felt like I had won. And that was when I thought that I could be more than a local driver. I could run with the big guys." Green then hooked up with car owner Wayne Day of Goodletsville, TN, driving his cars and working in his race car chassis shop during the week. In the All-American Challenge series, a NASCAR touring division, David won six poles, five races, and finished third in the points twice driving Day Enterprises race cars. Mike Alexander was running the Busch Series at that time and buying his race cars from Day. It was through Mike that Greens career took a turn. "I only had a business relationship with Mike," said Green. "We were friends but I only dealt with him building his race cars. He was one of my racing heroes. On the Tuesday after Bobby Allison had his bad wreck at Pocono, Mike called me and said, I need you to go with my team this weekend to practice and qualify my car at the Busch race at Louisville; theyve called me to drive Bobbys Miller car. "I think I had to pick myself up off the floor I was so shocked," continued Green. "Mike was the Busch Series point leader and I went to five races for him in 1988  Louisville, Myrtle Beach, Hickory, Langley and Orange County. I would set up and qualify his car, and he would fly in from wherever the Cup races were and run the race. I think the worst he had to start was a 10th at Hickory; the best was 2nd at Louisville. Thats when I got interested in running the Busch cars. In practice and qualifying Id get just enough time in the car to really get hungry; then Id have to sit and watch Mike race the car. It was like swinging bait in front of me." It was at Langley Speedway in Hampton, VA, that Green got another indication of just how good a driver he had become. "Id never seen Langley before, and I qualified the car third for Mike," said Green. "Now when I was growing up watching Mike race, I used to say tomyself, If I can ever drive a race car as loose as Mike Alexander and stay on the race track, Ill be somebody. When Mike got there and went out in the car he only made a few laps, then came right back into the pits and said to the crew, This car is so loose that Ill wreck it in 10 laps if we dont make some changes. That made me feel great." Green and Day put together a Grand National team that was ready for the July 4, 1989 race at Myrtle Beach, SC. There Green met Bobby Labonte, and his career took another turn. Labonte was running just a few BGN races that year, getting prepared to run the series full time in 1990. Green failed to make the race, and Labonte finished last, wrecking on the third lap. "We were both parked in the sand down at the far end of pit road where they put the newcomers. I had motor problems and didnt even make two laps in practice," said Green. "Bobby came over and looked at our car and he liked it. Thats where I first met him. The next week he came to our shop and ordered three of our short track chassis for the 1990 season." Labonte was impressed with Green. "Davids cars were clean and light," said Labonte. "He went the extra mile to help us; we were on the phone almost every day putting our heads together to get them working." The business relationship grew to a friendship, and when Green lost his Busch Series ride at the end of his remarkable 1991 rookie season, Labonte was quick to call. Labonte asked Green if he would consider spending the 1992 season working in Labontes shop, with an eye to moving into the drivers seat in 1993. Green accepted. "Behind the wheel, he is smooth, consistent, and he doesnt tear up equipment," says Labonte. "He gets the most from the car in every race." And as the old saying goes, the rest is history. Family plays an important role in Greens racing success. His wife Diane and children, Kaylie and Austin, can be frequently seen around the race track with David. Brothers Jeff and Mark also compete in the Busch Series, creating a unique racing trio. An active member of NASCARs Motor Racing Outreach Christian Fellowship program, Green also donates his time to several other charitable causes.