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Monday, September 14, 2015

Chad Little #9 Melling Performance Ford

    Chad Little was a man of little luck when it came to NASCAR racing~ One of the most underrated drivers of the 1990's, Little lost the best ride of his career to rookie driver Kurt Busch at the end of the season in 2000~ In today's post, I'll be reviewing his time in the #9 Melling Performance car~

    Little started the 1992 season off driving for Cale Yarborough in the #66 TropArtic Ford, but was let go in favor of Bobby Hillin Jr. following a 23rd place finish in the Food City 500 @ Bristol~ Hillin lasted one race with the team, and was let go in favor of Jimmy Hensley for the remainder of the season~

    He was out of a ride for the next 4 races, and was finally picked up by Harry Melling's team for the 11 race of the season, the Budweiser 500 @ Dover, where he qualified 25th, and finished the race in 26th, due to transmission issues~ The secondary sponsor on Little's car during this time was the 1-800-4-A-CHILD IOF Hotline, a child abuse prevention hotline~

                                      Maxx Racing card featuring Little in his Melling suit~
Chad Little #9 Melling Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog

    The following race was at Pocono, for the Champion Spark Plug 500, where Little qualified the car 25th, but due to a faulty piston, he was regulated to a 37th place finish~ Next up on the schedule was the Miller Genuine Draft 400 @ Michigan, where Little started 32nd, and finished the race in the 21st position~

    His best run in the car came in the DieHard 500 @ Talladega, where he qualified a season best 12th, and drove the car to his only top 10 of the season, with an 8th place finish~ Following the Talladega race, Little qualified 31st for the Champions Spark Plug 400 @ Michigan, and battled his way to a 17th place finish~

    Trouble loomed over Little once more the following race, the Mountain Dew Southern 500 @ Darlington, as he was involved in a crash on lap 135, resulting in a 34th place finish~ Things didn't get any better for the following race, the Miller Genuine Draft 400 @ Richmond, where out of a 35 car field, Little struggled his way to a 27th place finish, 7 laps off the pace of race winner Rusty Wallace~

    Things didn't go his way for the Peak Antifreeze 500 @ Dover either, where he finished 29th~ For the Mello Yello 500 @ Charlotte, fate handed another blow to Little's season, as he had overheating problems that resulted in a 33rd place finish~ In the next to last race of the season, Little brought the car home in 24th place, 9 laps off the pace of race winner Kyle Petty~

                                       Chad Little with his newly sponsored Mayflower car~
Chad Little #9 Mayflower Melling Ford Thunderbird NASCAR

    In the season finale race, the Hooter's 500 @ Atlanta, Little and the Melling team picked up sponsorship from Mayflower Transit, a sponsor he would also run during the coming up 1993 season for the season opener @ Daytona~ He qualified 35th in the field of 41 cars, and finished in the 17th position~ After the 1993 Daytona 500, in which he finished 17th, Little was let go from the team, but returned for 1 race at Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600, with sponsorship from Orkin Pest Control, where he finished 34th~ This would be his final race with the Melling team~

                                               Chad Little #9 Melling Performance Ford~
Chad Little #9 Melling Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1-800-4-A-CHILD Winston Cup
                                                             Click pics to enlarge~
Chad Little #9 Melling Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog 1-800-4-A-CHILD Winston Cup

    With the eye popping red and white paint scheme of this car, it easily became a favorite of mine~ It's very reminiscent of Bill Elliott's time with the Melling team~ The card shows the car in the background, with Little squatting down beside it smiling, and I think it accents the car quite nicely~ All of the logo's are crisp, with only the black trim around the white of the car having any minor flaws~ All in all, I have to give this car an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale~ Little also has another of my favorite paint schemes with his #97 John Deere car~

     Little finished his Cup career with 1 top 5, and 16 top 10's~ His best season came in 1998, in a time when Jack Roush was fielding 5 cars, when he only had the proper resources for 2, the cars of Mark Martin and Jeff Burton~ I feel that if given the chance to stick with the team, he would have ended up eventually winning a race, but the world of NASCAR doesn't sit by for anyone too long, and Little simply never got his chance to shine~ Below are some clips from Chad's career, and as always, thank you all for visiting the blog~ :D

                                                        1991 Chad Little Interview~

                                                            Top 5 Chad Little crashes~

                                                Chad Little crash @ Richmond - 1996~

                                                    Chad Little crashes - 2000 Winston~



  1. Was this issued in '92 or '93? It has the sticker contingencies of '92, but the T-Bird body of '93.

    1. It was issued in 1992~ A few 1992 Fords were put out with the new 1993 bodies~ I know of this one and the Andy Belmont #59 FDP Brakes car for sure~

  2. Cool. It looks like the Dorsey Schroeder #9 was done the same way (minus the stickers). Melling had a lot of turnover until he had some consistency with Lake Speed for a few years.