Catching Up With ... Josh Green
 August 13, 2020| 
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For most race car drivers, the racing bug bit early, with some even beginning their karting careers before they started school.

But for 17-year-old Josh Green, it was the car bug that bit early, and the racing bug that bit late. And when it did, the young Mount Kisco, N.Y., native’s career took off like a shot, with numerous karting titles that earned him the notice of a Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires veteran.

Green, a 2019 Team USA Scholarship winner, now finds himself behind the wheel of a Tatuus USF-17 in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, driving for nine-time series champions Cape Motorsports alongside former karting rivals-turned friends in a four-car attack that places the Cape brothers solidly back into the title conversation.

No one in the Green family – mom Lindsey, dad Eric and sister Georgia – has any racing experience. But the entire family bonded over a love of all things car-related, and that placed the youngster at the beginning of a road that shows no sign of slowing down.

“We always went to the Cars & Coffee near us and watched racing on TV, but with no real idea who any of the drivers were,” said Green. “Then in 2015, there was a summer camp at Grand Prix New York, the indoor karting track near me, and I went to that camp – first for one week, then two weeks. Then I started racing in their league, then moved to outdoor racing with (championship-winning sports car driver, driver coach and race team owner)  Steven McAleer. So I got a late start compared to so many other drivers – my first real race start was in late 2016.”

7943DBCB-501A-467D-9883-BD9EB783F3F0-8600-000001ED087FF40BAs racing became more serious for Green, so did the competition. He moved to Mike Doty Racing and earned numerous championship titles, including the 2017 North East Super Series Junior Championship, the 2018 NY State Championship and the World Karting Association Manufacturers Cup Iame in X30 Junior, which earned him a spot at the X30 World Finals in Le Mans. He planned to return to karting in 2019 until a chance meeting with a Road to Indy veteran set him on a different course.

“I competed against Robert Megennis at Grand Prix New York in 2017. It was during his second year in USF2000 and he’d just won at St. Pete, which to me meant he was a professional race car driver! I was inspired by him and wanted to talk to him, and we became friends. He really helped me make some career decisions.”

Megennis, who quickly saw Green’s potential, pointed him toward the F1600 Championship and Team Pelfrey, the team that had given Megennis his start in race cars in 2015. A successful test, with Megennis handling coaching duties, sent him out of karting and into race cars for the 2019 season – a season with a rather dramatic beginning.

“I tested a Team Pelfrey F1600 car late in 2018 and it went super well. They were a great team and it was such a good place to learn that I decided to make the jump. The first race was at Road Atlanta and it started pouring just before the first race, and I’d never driven in the wet before – but we ended up winning.”

21 05Green went on to capture eight wins and 18 podiums in 21 races on his way to second in the championship, which caught the eye of Team USA Scholarship’s Jeremy Shaw, who invited him to a shootout at Road America, conducted in the Lucas Oil School of Racing cars. Green impressed on and off the track and earned the scholarship alongside Scott Huffaker. He earned a top-10 finish at the Formula Ford Festival and captured the pole in the rain for his Heat race at Silverstone’s Walter Hayes Trophy. But wisely, Green considers the off-track benefits of the scholarship even more important than the racing experience – benefits he parlayed into a coveted ride with Cape Motorsports in 2020.

“Team USA is all about making connections, that’s the most important aspect. It’s cool to race in England, of course, but it’s even more important to take advantage of those connections when you get home.

“During last winter, I talked to a lot of different teams, including Cape Motorsports. I tested with them at Sebring and everything went from there. You can’t beat nine championships in a row! To be on a team with such a pedigree is a huge accomplishment. All the hype about them is real.”

RTI_MidO_072020_A_7290515Cape brings a four-pronged attack to the series in 2020, with Green joined by fellow karting graduates Michael d’Orlando (a fellow New Yorker with whom he works at Grand Prix New York), Reece Gold and Kyle Dupell. The team is off to a flying start, earning seven podiums in the first five races of the year.

“We have a really fun group dynamic at Cape, it’s an awesome group of people. The four of us drivers get along so well – I’ve known Michael for years, I knew Reece from karting, and I knew of Kyle. This team is hyper-professional, and I love that. It’s no-nonsense, head down, do as much work as possible to be up front and get the results. I love it.”

Green’s work ethic is apparent off track as well as on, as he has been accepted to Purdue University’s prestigious motorsports engineering school. However, knowing how important school is and hearing about difficulties that some drivers encountered trying to balance school and racing, and given the uncertain situation because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he has opted to take a gap year in 2020.

RTI_RA_072020_E_9768“If I’m paying to learn and get a degree, I want to be present for that. I don’t want to put myself or the school in a difficult position. Depending on how this year goes in USF2000, the goal will be to move up to Indy Pro 2000 next year. Then I’ll do one semester on and one semester off. It will take longer but it will be worth it. Right now, racing is the priority.”

Green will head to his first career oval race next Friday, as the USF2000 series gets back in action at Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg, Ind., at the Carb Night Classic alongside the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.

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