Engine woes plague Jesse Little's day in Chicago
Making just his second career start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), and his debut at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. this weekend, Jesse Little, driver of the No. 97 Protect The Harvest Toyota Tundra showed promise, finishing Friday morning's lone practice session 15th-fastest. With rain threatening the track all day Friday, Mother Nature eventually won the battle, washing out qualifying, and later the American Ethanol 225.
Resuming racing action Saturday morning, Little started the 150-lap event from the 15th position, per the NCWTS rulebook, and raced his way to just outside the top-10. Unfortunately, the Sherrills Ford, N.C. native broke a valve spring just 13 laps into the race. Catching a caution one lap later, Little was able to bring his Toyota Tundra to the attention of crew chief Harold Holly before ultimately pulling his No. 97 Protect The Harvest machine behind the wall, ending his day with a 30th-place finish.
"We had a really good truck today and it was just starting to come to me in the early laps I felt like. We could have definitely drove up into the top-10 with no problem. I was just trying to hang out until the competition caution on lap 30, so we could get it handling even better. I was coming out of turn two, going down the back stretch, and it flooded, acting like it went down a cylinder, or a plug wire came off. We ran around for a lap and then caught a caution. On deceleration, when the rev started to drop, you could hear a lot of noises that you weren't supposed to be hearing. Unfortunately, we broke a valve spring, ending our day much earlier than we hoped for. However, the truck is going home in one piece and we know it was fast. It's frustrating because you can't control these kinds of things, but everyone on this team did a great job this weekend. Hopefully, we can get Protect The Harvest back on track soon and have some fun."
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