David Green heads into the Oct. 10 ¿Little Trees¿ 300 NASCAR Busch Series race at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway locked in one of the closest championship battles in the series¿ storied history.

While the Busch Series title fight comes as no surprise, the fact that Green is among the contenders is a major shocker as the 45-year-old Owensboro, Ky., native was without a ride and facing an uncertain future just over one year ago.

But last winter Green was named to drive the No. 37 Timber Wolf Pontiac fielded by Brewco Motorsports and is currently enjoying one of the best seasons in his 14-year career.

¿I would say outstanding times three or times four¿or maybe times 37, my car number,¿ Green said in describing his season. ¿This is the path I hoped my career would take. It¿s absolutely been a ton of fun and good performances on the race track have accompanied the fun.

¿I sensed all this even before we won our first race. I could just sense and see the kind of commitment the team had,¿ Green continued. ¿So it¿s been 100 percent total excitement and satisfaction.¿

Even though he had five victories and the 1994 championship on a Busch Series resume that dated back to 1989, there was a long period last year when Green was without a ride and his telephone did little more than take up counter space.

¿I thought, ¿Do I have the wrong color hair? Do I smell badly?¿¿ Green said. ¿It got to that point because I thought I could do a good job. I thought I could say all the right things for my sponsors.

¿Last year was maybe the lowest I had ever been, just because there were some rides opening up and there was no conversation, not even a whisper of having an opportunity,¿ he continued. ¿That period was the lowest of lows and I started to doubt myself.¿

With six races remaining in 2002, Green¿s life was impacted by another driver¿s decision. After suffering a shoulder injury early in the season, Ricky Hendrick decided to retire, stepping out of the No. 5 GMAC/CARQUEST Chevrolet.

Green¿s phone finally rang. But getting a ride with Hendrick Motorsports meant he had to perform. If he didn¿t, he would be permanently marked as a driver who could no longer get the job done.

¿Getting in that car was a big relief and it opened the door to have Clarence Brewer Jr. and Timber Wolf look at what I could do on the race track,¿ Green explained. ¿As those six races with Hendrick Motorsports took place, I said I wasn¿t going to worry about 2003 before the season began. All I ever prayed for was an opportunity. It just so happened my opportunity came in those six races.¿

Green posted four top-10 finishes in those six starts, including a fifth-place run in the ¿Little Trees¿ 300 at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.

¿Everything was working well right out of the box,¿ Green said. ¿Then, I got thinking, ¿You know I¿d better tell Rick how much I¿d like to drive this car.¿ In the past, I¿ve always been too quiet and never really wanted to go tell somebody how badly I wanted to run their car.

¿About the time I went fast forward into that with Rick, Clarence and those guys started a conversation with me. It was kind of like there was no dead time in between and I was so thankful because I had seen some of that, sitting on the sidelines, and that¿s never fun for a driver.¿

Green greatly enjoyed having the Hendrick ride, but feels he¿s right at home with Brewco Motorsports.

¿Most any driver would kill to have the chance to drive for Hendrick Motorsports and thank goodness I had six races with them. But I think the situation I have right now is better suited for me,¿ said Green. ¿I guess it¿s sort of like buying a pair of designer jeans. They fit good, but my old Levi¿s fit better and I mean that with no disrespect whatsoever toward Hendrick Motorsports because there¿s tons and tons of information there.¿

Green will attempt to move closer to his second Busch Series championship with a victory in the inaugural nighttime running of the ¿Little Trees¿ 300.

¿I¿ve known all along we could do what it takes to win the championship,¿ he said with confidence. ¿The competition is tough and that doesn¿t surprise me. But I¿m just glad to be back in a competitive car and in position to maybe win the title.¿

Tickets for the ¿Little Trees¿ 300 on Friday night, Oct. 10, start at just $17 and can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.