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Teen Green Following Dad’s Championship Tracks

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, June 20 2016
Former NASCAR champion David Green and son Austin.

Former NASCAR champion David Green and son Austin, who may have a championship in his near future. (Photos courtesy of  John Davison)

CONCORD, N.C. – Slightly more than two years after moving from Bandolero to Legend cars Austin Green, the son of NASCAR champion David Green, finds himself in contention for a national title.

bugfeatureHeading into Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Summer Shootout Series, the 15-year-old Austin led the Legends Pro Asphalt Division national standings.  He no longer drove a car prepared by him and his father, but instead handled the driving chores for Concord-based Ladyga Motorsports. He had traveled to races in Florida and Texas, and a trip to the Asphalt Nationals in Connecticut was planned.

It’s a racing foundation the Greens began laying seven years ago and continue to build on.

“Up until the point in time he won in a Bandolero and even up until the point he won in a Legend car, I kinda knew deep down, personally, that what I was seeing I liked,” said David, who won the 1994 NASCAR Busch Series (now Xfinity) championship. “I knew the fundamentals were being put in place and when the opportunity came for him to win, he would be ready to win and have the background to do it.”

Austin first stepped into a race car at age 4 when he began competing on asphalt in Go-Karts. He transitioned into the Bandolero Bandit division four years later. In 2012, he won nine of 10 races and the Bandit championship. The following year he advanced into the Bandolero Outlaw division, winning one race and finishing second in the standings. Two years ago Austin moved into the Legends Young Lions division where his tremendous success resulted in him skipping

Austin Green.

Legends driver Austin Green.

the Legends Semi-Pro class and moving directly into Legends Pro. INEX moved Austin into the Pro division in February at the Winter Nationals in Orlando, Fla. That came after he won the Legends Young Lions Winter Heat championship at Charlotte, emerging victorious in six of the seven races.

“Looking back at how I did in Young Lions I can definitely tell that I’ve excelled in my driving ability,” said Austin, a rising sophomore at Concord First Assembly Academy. “I’m confident in what I can do and what the Ladyga car can do, so I feel as a whole we will be pretty good this year. The older I get the more mature I get, so I can understand how the car reacts and take in more advice from everybody.”

David admitted his son has matured since he’s no longer working with him on his race car.

“I think all of us as race car drivers can look back at that day that we got out from under (our father) and kinda became ourself,” David said. “For myself, it was more when I was 20 or 21, not 15. It’s been a blessing that Timmy and Cheryl (Ladyga) have welcomed him on board and I think there’s been a certain amount of chemistry there that just happened that’s really, really good.”  

However, it was the advice Austin received from his father to keep his head high when things go wrong that has been the most beneficial.

In May, Austin had to implement his father’s advice at Charlotte’s fifth-mile track. He won the first race, but for the second some of his fellow competitors teamed up on him. One driver took him out in the heat race, forcing him to start in the rear for the feature. Then during the feature race another competitor brake-checked him. That resulted in both of them wrecking and Austin was left with a DNF.  

“That was a little different situation for me, but now, coming to the Shootout, I know what to expect,” said Austin, who finished fifth in the Summer Shootout season opener after being penalized for rough driving with two laps remaining.

David reminded Austin the night of the Shootout season opener that it would be as if he were a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver who suddenly found himself with a top ride in the Sprint All-Star race.

“He’s ahead of the curve, but at the same time, all I’m going to look at over the next nine weeks is progression on how he’s doing,” says David, who is now NASCAR’s car-driver safety manager for at-track events in its top three touring series.

“Is it still all about winning? Yes, ultimately it is. But it’s all about the foundation and what you build for the future. I think the background we went through in those first two or three years helped him to this point.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, June 20 2016
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