New Truck Boss Talks To RT About His Series
By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer
NEWTON, Iowa – (Editor’s Note: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will inch closer to the halfway point of its season with the running of Saturday night’s American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway.
Former driver Chad Little was promoted from NASCAR’s K&N Series at the beginning of the year when he was named director of the truck series. He replaced longtime director Wayne Auton, who now holds the same position in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series.
Little sat down with RacinToday’s Jeff Hood on Friday in Iowa to talk about a variety of topics ranging from competition to the much-anticipated dirt track race at Eldora Speedway to the future of the truck series.)
RacinToday: You are a former driver and worked as director for NASCAR in the Modified and K&N Series. How has that prepared you for your new role?
Little: “It prepared me from the standpoint of learning some of the NASCAR procedures, understanding the basics of those procedures, understanding the competitors and the role that all of the different groups play during and event, such as track operators, the fans, the sponsors, the competitors and NASCAR and how all those have to fit together.”
RacinToday: Is it kind of what you expected moving up to this level?
Little: “Yes, It has been what I expected. Some aspects have been different, obviously. But for the most part, I was anticipating a lot of this. I have more officials to work with and more officials to manage. We also have competitors that run in races that are longer. So you need those additional people because we have five pit stops, where in the touring series there isn’t. Things that have been the same have just been from an event management standpoint. Things that have been different are the rules are different.”
RacinToday: From your perspective, is it easier or more difficult to manage if you’re working a companion or standalone weekend?
Little: “In some aspects it’s easier for a standalone because you don’t feel the pressure that comes with being with the Cup Series. Now, that’s good but sometimes it’s not. When you’re with the Cup Series, you have more resources to work with. When you’re at a standalone race, you don’t have those resources but then you aren’t under the view from the media and the world that the Cup Series is under.”
RacinToday: How tough is it to win a race nowadays in the truck series?
Little: “I think it’s definitely a step up from the K&N or modified or touring level. The races are longer, which adds a different challenge to the event. You’re taking the cream of the crop from different series, whether it’s NASCAR or other series, and they rise to this level. So you have drivers that are more experienced. But yet we still have a good group of rookie drivers. I think it’s very tough to win a race at this level. And that’s shown by the number of repeat winners the truck series has, which isn’t very many.”
RacinToday: What are your thoughts about some of the younger drivers, such as Ryan Blaney, Jeb Burton, Ty Dillon and Chase Elliott, making such a splash in this series?
Little: “The fact that we lowered the minimum age to 16 at tracks a mile and under was very successful. That, combined with the push internally to grow the truck series with younger blood and the future stars of tomorrow. I think it was the combination of those two things.”
RacinToday: How excited are you to get to Eldora at the end of the month?
Little: “You know, I’m very excited about it. I’m nervous, honestly, because it’s going to be a big event. NASCAR hasn’t done this for a long time. The format is different. And whenever you have differences from what you do week after week, you think you’ve covered everything and you’ve thought through all the details that may come up. But undoubtedly, there’s going to be some things come up that we haven’t thought of. And we’ll have to be prepared for those. So I’m nervous about that part of it. But we’ve got a good group of officials and I’m sure we can handle anything that’s brought to our attention. I’m excited and nervous at the same time.”
RacinToday: With Speed converting to Fox Sports 1, what will this mean for coverage of the truck series?
Little: “Everything will remain the same. The truck series will become the lead event for FS1. They will continue with their same look, just a little broader audience.”
RacinToday: Looking into your crystal ball for 2014, what are you guys thinking regarding the race schedule?
Little: “The schedule will probably look about the same. But in talking to the owners and competitors, we’d like to see a couple more races on the schedule. But it’s hard to say at this point. There could be tracks that decide not to have an event and there could be a couple of events added. It will probably look about the same. There could be a couple of races added, but it’s hard to say right now.”
– Jeff Hood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgNo Comment