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Monday, December 7, 2015

Chad Little #97 John Deere Pontiac

    I just love cars that come with little fun facts of information, and Chad Little's #97 John Deere Pontiac has a pretty odd story to it~ Did you ever know that Jack Roush fielded Pontiacs?~ Well, he did for 1/2 a season with this car, after he purchased the team from Greg Pollex during the 1997 season~ In this post, I'm only gonna be talking about Chad's time in the Pontiac version of this car~

    Little's first and only season in the John Deere Pontiac came in 1997, driving for Greg Pollex~ The season started off miserably for Chad, as he failed to make the field for the first 2 races of the year~  His first race in the car came in the Pontiac Excitement 400 @ Richmond, where he qualified next to last, and finished in the 34th position~ He improved in the next event, the Primestar 500, with a 19th place finish~ He had an impressive run in the Food City 500 @ Bristol, with an 8th place finish, his best of the season, and his only top 10 during 1997~

                                               Promo shot of Little's John Deere Pontiac~
Chad Little #97 John Deere Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Jack Roush

    Following the strong run @ Bristol, Little had a little bad luck for several races, failing to even finish in the top 20 for the next 7 races, and failing to qualify for 3 of those 7 races (Sonoma, Charlotte, and Pocono)~ His next top 20 came in the California 500 Presented by NAPA @ Fontana, where he finished in the 19th spot~ His best qualifying effort of the season came in the Jiffy Lube 300 @ Loudon, where he surprisingly qualified in the 4th position~ Little struggled hardcore in the race however, resulting in a 30th place finish~

    Chad's final run in the car for car owner Greg Pollex came in the Bud at the Glen @ Watkins Glen, where he finished in 42nd place, after his engine expired~ After this race, the team was bought out by Jack Roush, who fielded the car as a Pontiac for the remainder of the season~ A change in scenery didn't do Little much good, as he finished 42nd in his first race with the new team in the DeVilbiss 400 @ Michigan~ He got his first top 20 with the new team the following race @ Bristol, in the Goody's Headache Powder 500, with a 20th place finish~

                                                        Chad Little John Deere hero card~
Chad Little #97 John Deere Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Jack Roush

    Chad's best finish of the season driving for Jack Roush came in the Mountain Dew Southern 500 @ Darlington, where he qualified in 37th, and battled his way to an 11th place finish~ He then took a nose dive in the Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 @ Richmond, finishing in the 40th position~ This was followed up with a 28th place finish in the CMT 300 @ Loudon~

    The whole rest of the season was plagued with horrid finishes for the most part, with the exceptions of the AC Delco 400 @ Rockingham, where he qualified, and finished in the 16th spot.. and the season finale NAPA 500 @ Atlanta, where he led his only laps of the season (7), and finished in the 18th position~ This was the final race Little ran the car as a Pontiac, as Roush switched him over to Fords for the 1998 season~

                                                     Chad Little #97 John Deere Pontiac~
Chad Little #97 John Deere Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Jack Roush
                                                              Click pics to enlarge~
Chad Little #97 John Deere Racing Champions 1/64 NASCAR diecast blog Jack Roush

    It's a real shame John Deere left the sport, as this paint scheme was one of the most iconic schemes of the late 90's, in my opinion~ Even though Little was normally running in the back of the pack, he was easily visible from any camera shot he was pictured in~ The different tones of green, along with the yellow fenders and bumper are extremely appealing~ Even with the horrible yellow bordered cards that Racing Champions started using, I still easily give this car an A+ on the Racing Champions quality scale~

    It's still hard for me to believe that Jack Roush eventually booted Chad from this ride, in favor of Kurt Busch, while keeping Kevin Lepage~ I think Busch should have gotten Lepage's ride, and Little should have had more time in this car, but that's just not how it turned out, and it's a damn shame~ I do have the Ford version of this car as well, and will be posting it at a later date~ Below are some videos featuring Chad, enjoy them and thanks so much for stopping by the ol' blog~ :D

                                               Top 5 Chad Little crashes~ NascarNixon~

                                                     Chad Little spin~ 1997 CMT 300~

                                          1999 Diehard 500~ Little involved in the big one~

                                             2000 Winston No Bull Sprint~ Little kills it~

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