Richard Green Racing driver Dragon leads two-time champion Sweet entering championship finale
–by T.J. Ingerson (@TJIngerson)
BARRE — Richard Green has been fielding race cars for nearly two decades but has never had a chance to race for a championship at season’s end.
That will change next Sunday afternoon at Thunder Road.
Green’s driver Scott Dragon will lead two-time track champion Nick Sweet into the Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic 200 championship finale by eight points.
“I’ve been doing this for 18 years, bring a car or two cars, and it’s pretty amazing,” Green said. “We really came together this year. It all just snapped together in the early part of this year.
“Scotty (Dragon) is a good wheelman and (crew chiefs) Brennan (Pease) and Joey (Becker) have been putting good cars under him. We’ve been getting through races, we’ve been winning races. It’s been a year for the record here.”
Green began fielding cars in the late 1990s, owning the Tiger Sportsman car driven by Dave Wilcox. Green even stepped behind the wheel, albeit briefly, in 2003 before he handed the reigns over to Joey Becker for a decade. During that time, Green began fielding a second car on the ACT Late Model Tour for Mark Lamberton and then Travis Stearns.
Becker stepped out from behind the wheel in 2014 to nurse a shoulder injury and handed the wheel to Dragon.
“The first year (with Dragon) was a get together year,” Green said. “Last year, we finished third in the points and it was kind of a breakout. And this year, it has come all together.”
In the past two weeks, Green has watched his team’s point lead slip from a comfortable 35 points to just eight in the past two weeks, but feels confident entering the 200-lap season finale.
“It really has been (nerve racking), but we’ve tried to put our minds at ease,” Green said. “We’ve got a good car. If we came out of tonight with the point lead, which I think we still have, the 200 is the 200 and that’s Scotty’s forte.
“We’re going to be there at the end if something bad doesn’t happen to us. And if it does, that’s racing. But we’re starting to smell it, but the pressure really isn’t there.
“(Dragon’s) licking his chops in the 200. He says ‘you give me that car in the 200 and we’re going to be there.’”
Green, however, will take Dragon on a “relaxing trip” this weekend to get his mind off of the championship race. Dragon will pilot Green’s ACT Tour Late Model, driven most recently by Stearns, on Saturday night at Oxford Plains Speedway.
“We’re taking him to Oxford Saturday night to race Travis’ Late Model,” Green said. “Just to have something fun and get (the Thunder Road points battle) away from us. Just to race for fun.”
For Green, who has given nearly two decades to owning cars at Thunder Road, Airborne, and the American-Canadian Tour, it’s a grand culmination to race for a championship in just over a week’s time.
“(I’m) absolutely ecstatic with my team, my family, my employees that support this,” Green said. “It’s really a fun, fun time for us right now.”
The Coca-Cola Labor Day Classic 200 will go green at 1:00pm on Sunday, September 4.
PHOTO: Richard Green (front, right) has owned race cars at Thunder Road for nearly two decades and will see one of his car races for a chance at its first championship in just over one week. (Alan Ward photo)