LOUDON, N.H. (July 7, 2000) - Chad Little, driver of the No. 97 John Deere Ford, doesn't need directions on how to get to Victory Lane at New Hampshire International Speedway. In 1995, Little took the checkered flag in the Busch Series New ...
LOUDON, N.H. (July 7, 2000) - Chad Little, driver of the No. 97 John Deere Ford, doesn't need directions on how to get to Victory Lane at New Hampshire International Speedway. In 1995, Little took the checkered flag in the Busch Series New England 250, one of six victories he scored that season.
Little won that race starting from the ninth position, and went on to lead the last 76 laps of the 250-lap event, edging out his closest competitor by 1.65-seconds.
"We were running second the majority of the race behind Jeff Green," Little recalls. "We made a decision to put a spring rubber in midway through, and it really helped the car out as soon as we did that. I lost several spots on the stop, but putting the spring rubber in helped the car out a ton and we were able to make our way up front after that."
Little's Winston Cup results at the track dubbed "The Magic Mile" have been mixed. In six starts, Little has posted an average start of 26th, but two of those starts came from the fourth position on the starting grid. Little's average finish at the 1.058-mile oval is 24th, a two position improvement from his average start, but he has only one top-15 finish to his credit; that was in the fall race of 1998. Little attributes finding success at the northernmost track on the Winston Cup circuit to the handling of the car.
"More than anything else, the car's handling is the most important element at Loudon," Little said. "It's your typical flat track, so you have to get through the center good. The car has to rotate through the middle, and you still have to get your forward bite coming off. So, you've got to be free enough to rotate through the center, but then you need enough traction so that you don't get loose coming off the corners because you have all that power and no banking to hold you."
The John Deere crew hopes to use Little's previous success to help them capture their first top-10 finish at New Hampshire International Speedway. Little is also hoping to recapture some of the magic that in 1995 saw him finish out the season second in the Busch Series point standings. And after Jeff Burton won last year's New England 300 from the 38th starting position, Little knows that a solid starting position can help the team achieve their goal.
"Personally I think you can win at a lot of places without starting on the front row, but it sure helps starting up further."