Chad Little Darlington report

DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 19, 2000) - If the month of March is supposed to come in like a lion and out like a lamb, then the Mall.com 400 at Darlington Raceway should have been run two weeks prior. The track "Too Tough To Tame" took its...

DARLINGTON, S.C. (March 19, 2000) - If the month of March is supposed to come in like a lion and out like a lamb, then the Mall.com 400 at Darlington Raceway should have been run two weeks prior. The track "Too Tough To Tame" took its toll on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series for the 44th time in its history, and this year's event marked one the few changes that track has received in its nearly 50-year existence. A concession was made in the off-season as a single pit road was constructed, ending the disparity between frontstretch and backstretch pit stalls. That helped the John Deere Motorsports team as Little took the 37th starting position for Sunday's event, but he was reminded by crew chief Jeff Hammond that patience over the 400-mile race would keep him out of trouble and allow him to finish up front. The action started early on Sunday as Lap 2 saw the first of five caution flags. Little got a break, barely missing the spinning cars of Ken Schrader and Joe Nemechek. The track went back to green-flag racing after a five-lap caution period, but the action was again slowed just one lap later. The first 65 laps of Sunday's 293-lap race had four caution periods for a total of 22 laps. Little had moved the No. 97 Ford into the top 20 with some assistance in the pits, as the fourth caution ended on lap 64. Little remained on the lead lap most the afternoon with some racing luck coming on lap 204 as the final caution flag waved. The John Deere Ford was brought into the pits for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustment. Little was the last car on the lead lap, and as the race went back to green for the final stretch, the John Deere Ford was running solidly in 17th place. It was a green-flag battle for the remainder of the afternoon, and Little found himself just outside of the top 15, but a late run on the No. 2 machine allowed Little to solidify a position in the top 15. Little finished the afternoon in 15th, posting his fourth straight top-20 performance of the season. Little remains in 11th position in the Winston Cup point standings, heading into next weekend's short-track event at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Chard Little: "This was a solid run for the John Deere Motorsports team today. We moved up 22 spots from the start of the race, and that's quite a feat at a track like Darlington. I have to commend Darlington Raceway for making one pit road, and although it seemed like a long distance to travel at 45 miles per hour, it was definitely better than the disadvantage of pitting on the backstretch. "Our goal this weekend was a top-15 finish and with that late-race pass, we were able to accomplish our goal this weekend. We had a bit of trouble getting a feel for the track, but Jeff (Hammond) did a great job of calling the adjustments we needed. We have Bristol coming up next weekend and we were fortunate enough to get some testing done there last week, and hopefully we can head into Texas in two weeks within striking distance of the leaders."

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Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ken Schrader , Joe Nemechek , Chad Little