Little Legacy: Chad Little Leaves Insignificant Mark As NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series Director

It was a story from 2012 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby on the day he won his first title that illustrated almost perfectly the way many around the series looked at the five years of Chad Little’s reign as the series’ director.

Chad Little

Still basking in the immediate glow of just capturing his first Tour title on Oct. 15 at Thompson International Speedway, Coby stood in the press box regaling media members on hand with story after story.

At one point Coby, in talking about just how under the radar his crew chief John McKenna likes to remain, Coby, accidentally, painted the perfect portrait of Little.

“We were going through tech, this was yesterday, and Chad Little looks at me and goes, ‘Who’s your crew chief?’ and he was two feet away from me and I pointed to him and said ‘He’s right there’”

On Tuesday NASCAR announced that Little would be leaving his post as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour director to take the same position with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Little won’t get a chance to say goodbye in person to the teams and competitors of the series he has led since 2008, but that probably won’t be a problem for many of them. Few around the series will be shedding any tears for his departure.

Before his arrival as the Whelen Modified Tour series director many around the Whelen Modified Tour were suspect of Little, a former Sprint Cup Series regular embarking on a management career in NASCAR. Few thought he had a heart for Modified racing, but rather was just a guy looking to climb the management ladder.

And over five years Little did little to warm to those around the series. In the end Little moves on to oversee one of NASCAR’s three national touring divisions after leaving a legacy of disconnect on a series in far worse shape now than it was when he arrived as its leader.

Little was named Whelen Modified Tour series director in Feb. 2008 replacing longtime series director Ed Cox.

During his time Little was often criticized by those around the series as being disconnected from teams involved. Some drivers criticized him for being invisible at events. In 2012 Little was criticized by many in the series for his push to get teams to use a NASCAR approved spec motor. Even going back to 2009 series veterans often criticized Little for the way he treated them like numbers in an accounting log.

But more than the personal disconnect with the series he ran, Little’s legacy will be more remembered for the numbers on paper.

Over five years in charge, Little did little to grow the series, in fact, some would say he left the series in the worst shape the division has been since its inception in 1985.

In 2007 the Whelen Modified Tour attracted an average of 37.6 cars to events on the schedule. The number fell every year under Little’s reign. In 2012 the series had an average of 27.9 cars show up at its 14 events.

The average starting field for the division in 2007 was 33.7 and in 2012 it was 27.9. Yes, the same 27.9 that was the average for cars showing up to events. In 2007 the series sent cars home from nine of 16 events on the schedule. In 2012 everybody that showed up to a Whelen Modified Tour event made the show

And, unfortunately for the series, all signs point to those average numbers only dropping more in 2013.

The running joke around the Whelen Modified Tour for five years has been that Little had trouble remembering the names of people involved with the series. This much is certain, few are going to want to remember Little’s name as it pertains to what he did in his five years with the Whelen Modified Tour.

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The Whelen Modified Tour Numbers Under Chad Little, who began as series director prior to the 2008 season. (Statistics compiled by RaceDayCT through information from Racing Reference)

2007
Average Starting Field: 33.75
Average cars attempting to qualify: 37.68
Number of events cars did not qualify: 9 of 16

2008
Average Starting Field: 33.37
Average cars attempting to qualify: 35.87
Number of events cars did not qualify 7 of 16

2009
Average Starting Field: 33.84
Average cars attempting to qualify: 34.84
Number of events cars did not qualify: 4 of 13

2010
Average Starting Field: 31.78
Average cars attempting to qualify: 32.78
Number of events cars did not qualify: 3 of 14

2011
Average Starting Field: 28.68
Average cars attempting to qualify: 29.06
Number of events cars did not qualify: 3 of 16

2012
Average Starting Field: 27.92
Average cars attempting to qualify: 27.92
Number of events cars did not qualify: 0 of 14

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Comments

  1. We know he was here but he will no be miss.Hope nascar put someone that can bring the MOD back to life.

  2. I feel sorry for the Camping World Truck Series.

  3. John Carney says:

    All divisions have had lower car counts, the economy is a big part of that. That being said, I'm hoping the next series director can bring a decent point fund to the tour.

  4. Donald Jensen says:

    Nascar needs too put someone in charge that knows mods and the people around them , face it Little didn, t know the mod.

  5. Chad Little did not make any friends while he was director of the Mod Series, let's hope NASCAR can bring someone who can relate to the drivers and crews and keep the communication lines open.

  6. Jim Anderson says:

    Strong words, but so very true! Any clue to his rerplacement?

  7. Rick Allen says:

    Little didn't care about the modifieds and neither does nascar.

  8. Jake Jankowiak says:

    good riddence!

  9. Ralph Solhem says:

    having raced the mod tour before and during chad's years I never found him to be anything like you have described him, he was always fair and I never found him disconnected or uninformed. I haved raced in many series and at numerous race tracks and from the competetors side I rate Chad with the best offocials I've delt with. My opinion on the car count , if you lay the blame on 1 guy you might as well blame him for the current world wide ecconomic crisis, the decline in attedance in all of auto racing and any other gripes you have. I think if you look in to the structure of nascar you will find out a series director answers to a lot of people. Everyone has ideas that will fix the current problems in mods, in my opinion the only real fix is $$$$$$.

  10. Donald Jensen says:

    first nothing again Chad , been around the mod along time seen the ups/downs of tour ,learn a lot from guys like Ralph Solhem back in the riverside days , like when I first starting working with mods , you never give the trophy away because that trophy shows that you worked for something .yes the ecconomic did do a lot too people but nascar needs too get someone in there that knows mods so we can all go race and have fun.

  11. Tony Leckey says:

    I had limited exposure to Chad in my Stafford days but found him very easy to work with and have to say that he did care about all the events in which I was in race control with him. I hear the term "cookie cutter" race tracks when the newer Sprint Cup venues are described and NASCAR also has groomed "cookie cutter" directors in my opinion of which Chad may or may have not been one of those. The period in which Chad led the NWMT saw an economy that was weakening and near the breaking point so the car counts in my humble opinion were not all that bad. I thought in my experience with both Chad and Brian that they were more than fair and sometimes subject to unfair criticism when they were just cogs in the big wheel known as NASCAR. I personally like Chad Little the person and wish him the best in his new position.

  12. Larry Barnett says:

    Some thoughts.
    NASCAR needs to treat the mods as the mods. SO make and create policies that fit. Some silly things over the years. 1. Cannot put a single piece of tape on a mod (yet can do so on a cup car). 2. if two teams shared stuff or pitted beside each other for years, don't say. #1 points must pit beside #2 since that is how cup does it. 3. must lower operating costs. 40 officials to govern 25 cars. they do a great job, but teams pay the frieght in the rediculous license fees. AND in same line of thinking. (I drive in vMRS, have worked for whelen mods teams for years) Does it do any good for officials etc. to say to me "but the whelen mods series has all the best drivers"? I for one, could not afford to show up at a single whelen race. it costs so freaking much. Showing up for a few vMRS races is at least an option. THEY ARE COMPLETLY DIFFERENT IN SO MANY WAYS! both series have their own strong points, weak points, and there are many reasons why both should exist. People so shallow that need to put down any other division to make themselves feels better. I feel sorry for you.

  13. Ed Martin says:

    NASCAR! Is all about the MONEY! How much can YOU give ME. Racing! O they do that to?

  14. Ed Martin says:

    You need a sponsor like LOWES before they know how you are!

  15. Paul Deyo says:

    Unfortunately. the series directors and no influence on the point fund. That is all handled by the PR Dept.

  16. Paul Deyo says:

    Make that the marketing dept

  17. Andy Boright says:

    Modified tour director is not much more than a figurehead position.

    Chad Little didn't do a great job, and no question the tour is in a worst position today than it was when he took over, however NASCAR simply will not allow decisions about this series to be made outside of it's office.

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