Jesse Little

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Truck team JJL Motorsports to close at end of season, is up for sale

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JJL Motorsports, which fields a part-time entry in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series, will close at the end of the current season and has been put up for sale, the team announced Tuesday.

The team’s final races will be Nov. 8 in Phoenix and the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 15.

In the statement, the Sherrills Ford, North Carolina-based team announced owner Jason Little will “depart the ownership role to facilitate a new position within the industry.”

Driver Jesse Little, who is a nephew of Jason Little and son of NASCAR managing director of technical inspection and officiating Chad Little (also former director of the Truck Series), is “exploring opportunities in either the NASCAR Xfinity Series or Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next season,” the statement said.

The team was formed by Jason Little in 2005. After several years of racing in the ARCA and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (including two wins, two poles, 18 top fives and 28 top-10s from 2012-2015), it moved to the Truck Series in 2015.

Since then, the team has competed in 26 Truck Series races. To date, Jesse Little’s best season has been 2018, when he made nine starts and earned six top 10s, including a best finish of sixth at Iowa.

Thus far this season, Jesse Little has made eight starts, with a best finish of 13th at Texas.

“I’ve really enjoyed the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series over the last five years and I’m very proud with what this family-owned team has been able to accomplish,” Jason Little said in the statement. “Moving forward, both Jesse and I are looking for new ownership to take over the JJL Motorsports team intact and look forward to discussing with anyone interested in taking the reins and competing in the series during the 2020 season and beyond.”

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Ross Chastain declares for Truck Series driver points, will race at Texas

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With eight of 23 races already complete in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series season, Ross Chastain has declared for Truck Series driver points, switching from the Xfinity Series, and will attempt to compete for the Truck championship, Niece Motorsports announced Tuesday.

Chastain won the May 10 Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway and has finished in the top 10 in every race so far.

But the Kansas win does not lock Chastain into the playoffs. After spotting his competitors eight races, he will start with zero points, will have to win again and then be in the top 20 in points to guarantee himself a spot in the playoffs.

With eight races left in the Truck Series regular season, Jesse Little, who has only made five starts, is currently 20th in the Truck standings with 91 points.

Section 17.6.d in the Truck Series rulebook states any driver who is allowed to change their points declaration “will forfeit any driver points earned up to that point (in another series) and start at zero points” in that series.

Chastain was 13th in the Xfinity Series following Saturday’s race at Pocono. Twelve drivers make it into the Xfinity playoffs. Chastain was 23 points behind the cutoff spot with 14 races left in the regular season.

Chastain has also competed in every national NASCAR series race this year across all three series, totaling 34 starts.

That streak will continue Friday night when Chastain drives the No. 38 Chevrolet for Niece Motorsports at Texas Motor Speedway. TJ Bell Jr. was originally entered in the truck.

The Texas race is the first of three consecutive races that are being labelled as the “Triple Truck Challenge,” with individual race winners being awarded $50,000. A driver could earn $500,000 if they win all three races.

Only drivers earning Truck Series points are eligible for the program.

“After much consideration and many conversations, I’ve decided to pursue championship points in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, effective immediately,” Chastain said in a press release. “This shift will allow me to be in the truck race this weekend in Texas, and I’m grateful to everyone at Niece Motorsports for giving me this opportunity.”

Chastain will continue to compete for JD Motorsports and Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series where sponsorship has been “solidified.” He is set to compete in three more races for Kaulig Racing.

“I know this is the best decision for me at this time and am thankful for everyone who has and will continue to support me moving forward into 2019 and beyond,” Chastain said.

Chastain drove the No. 45 Chevy in the first eight Truck races of the year. Kyle Benjamin will drive it this weekend.

“I know it won’t be easy, but I believe this team is capable of making the playoffs and competing for a championship with Ross,” team owner Al Niece said in a press release.  “We are proud to bring trucks capable of winning to the race track. It takes a lot of work to get there and we don’t take it lightly. We’re ready to see what the next eight races bring.”

Truck Series practice report from Dover

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Johnny Sauter was fastest in the final of two Gander Outdoors Truck Series practice sessions Thursday at Dover International Speedway.

Sauter posted a top speed of 156.958 mph around the 1-mile track. Sauter has won the last two Truck Series races at Dover.

The top five was completed by Brett Moffitt (156.508 mph), Stewart Friesen (156.223), Harrison Burton (156.033) and Jesse Little (155.072).

Burton recorded the most laps in the session with 60.

Sheldon Creed had the best 10-lap average at 152.136 mph.

Click here for the practice report.

First practice

Raphael Lessard was fastest in the first practice session.

Lessard covered the 1-mile concrete oval at a speed of 154.999 mph.

Moffitt was second-fastest (154.540 mph), followed by Austin Hill (154.222), Sauter (154.222) and Todd Gilliland (153.984).

Sixth through 10th were Friesen (153.840 mph), Burton (153.427), Matt Crafton 9153.381), Ross Chastain (153.218) and Grant Enfinger (152.886).

The two practice sessions were the first on-track action for the Trucks since the Vankor 350 race on March 29 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Qualifying is Friday, followed by the JEGS 200 race.

Click here for the full first practice speed chart.

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Brett Moffitt wins Truck race at Miami, takes championship

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
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Brett Moffitt beat Grant Enfinger by two seconds Friday night to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and the championship.

It was his sixth victory of the season.

Moffitt’s first win of the season came at Atlanta in the season’s second race but even then he was unsure if the team would have the financing to go to every race and be eligible for the playoffs.

“It’s unreal,” Moffitt said on FoxSports 1 from victory lane. “I didn’t know if I was going to get the opportunity to compete for a championship even after I got my first win.

“Everyone pulled together hard here. Back at Chicago (in June) we didn’t know if we were going to make it to the racetrack.”

Chicago was another race won by Moffitt.

Friday night, Enfinger finished second to Moffitt.

Fellow playoff contender Noah Gragson finished third. Stewart Friesen finished fourth with Sheldon Creed rounding out the top five.

MORE: Brett Moffitt seeks to join pantheon of NASCAR ‘stache champions

Moffitt achieved the title in just 36 starts – the fewest since Mike Skinner won the inaugural championship in 1995 in 20 races.

Moffitt’s championship comes with an uncertain future. He announced Thursday that he does not have a contract for next year.

Playoff contender Justin Haley finished eighth.

“We just struggled.” he said. “I don’t know why.”

Former champion Johnny Sauter battled handling problems for most of the race and was not a factor.

“It was awful,” he said. “Just no grip. We laid an egg tonight. I don’t know why.

“When you suck that bad, it’s whatever, you just go home and go what the hell happened? I’ll ask myself that for three months.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Grant Enfinger

STAGE 2 WINNER: Brett Moffitt

MORE: Click here for complete results.
MORE: Click here for the complete points report.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Jesse Little tied his career best finish of sixth (which he first scored at Iowa this June). … Tyler Dippel finished 15th to score his fourth top 15 in five Truck starts.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Robby Lyons slapped the wall on Lap 78; he finished 29th. … Chris Windom started 10th but hit the wall with a handful of laps remaining to finish 24th. 

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “We were just too tight there (at the end). Needed to make better adjustments on pit road and that’s where it comes down to me,” Noah Gragson told FS1 after the race. “This one is going to hurt for a while.”

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Myatt Snider scored three top fives and eight top 10s on his way to rookie honors. Snider’s best finish this season was runner-up at Talladega. His best unrestricted finish was a third at Martinsville.

NOTABLE: This is the first time since 1999 that the champion won the season finale.

WHAT’S NEXT: Nextera Energy Resources 250 on Feb. 15, 2019 at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR Truck practice report

Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images
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HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Title contender Justin Haley posted the fastest lap in Friday’s final Camping World Truck Series practice.

He had a lap of 167.141 mph. He was followed by title contender Noah Gragson (166.898 mph), Harrison Burton (165.945), Sheldon Creed (165.919) and Chris Windom (165. 700).  Title contender Brett Moffitt was 16th at 162.935 mph and title contender Johnny Sauter was 20th at 161.449 mph.

There were no incidents in the session.

Click here for final Truck practice report

OPENING PRACTICE 

Title contender Johnny Sauter was the fastest in Friday’s first Camping World Truck practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Sauter led the way with a lap of 170.465 mph. He was followed by Grant Enfinger (170.148 mph), title contender Brett Moffitt (167.426), Jesse Little (166.672) and Harrison Burton (166.538).

Title contender Justin Haley was sixth at 166.169 mph. Title contender Noah Gragson was 11th at 165.731.

Click here for Truck practice report