Jesse Little rallies to a career best 14th place finish at Homestead
Continuing to make gains in his blossoming NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) career, Jesse Little, driver of the No. 97 Protect The Harvest Toyota Tundra, fought his way to another career-best finish in only his fourth career NCWTS start. Qualifying 19th, Little quickly took to the 1.5-mile oval, racing to a 14th-place finish in the 20th annual NCWTS 200.
Moving through the field with ease, Little would find himself within the top-15 only 24 laps into the 134-lap event. Crew chief, Bud Haefele, would call the 18-year-old down pit road on lap 49, under green, and again on lap 62, under caution, for four tires and fuel.
Despite complaining of a "loose" No. 97 Protect The Harvest Toyota Tundra, Little was able to work his way through the pack, within the top-10, when the caution flag flew on lap 84 for debris in Turn 2. Trying to use pit strategy to their advantage, Haefele made the daring call to leave Little on the race track, under the last caution of the night, gaining the rookie valuable track position. However, restarting fourth, Little would have an issue on the lap 89 restart, dropping him through the field, quickly to 15th.
Managing to hold on to a spot within the top-15, Little would ultimately cross the finish line 14th, behind race winner Matt Crafton. The solid run was a career-best NCWTS finish for the Sherrils Ford, N.C. native.
"This day was just a constant positive for us. We qualified 19th, but after the first caution we worked our way up to 16th, and about 30 laps later we were just outside the top-10. We ran really well, just struggled a bit on pit road. That was probably due to lack of experience. That was only my third time ever coming in to do live pit stops. I'll work on that more over the off-season, and the team will keep building on its chemistry. Hopefully we can come back next year and be even stronger."
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