BACE Brings Little Back To Cup

BACE Motorsports and driver Chad Little are shutting down their NASCAR Busch Series team and making the jump to Winston Cup.

Little will not enter any more Busch Series races with the team as it prepares to make its Winston Cup debut April 28 at California Speedway. Team manager Terry Wooten said in a statement released by the team late Wednesday that an announcement about a crew and engine program will be coming in the next few weeks.

Current crew chief Eddie Pardue will stay with the team as car chief.

Little will drive Chevrolets and use the No. 74 in the Winston Cup effort. That’s the same combination the team uses in the Busch Series.

The No. 74 team won three Busch Series championships, the last in 1997. Little joined the team last year, finishing ninth in the points standings.

“We’re excited to make the transition to the Winston Cup level with the No. 74 team,” team owner Bill Baumgardner said. “We’ve made a strategic change in plan for the No. 74 and are now dedicating 100 percent of the focus of this team to our Winston Cup effort.

“Since BACE was formed in 1990, we’ve been committed to a standard of excellence that has led our team to success. With the elements we currently have in place, we believe that this is the appropriate time to make the move to Winston Cup.”

Little will make is return to Winston Cup after a year absence. He drove for Roush Racing for three years before being replaced by Kurt Busch. In a career that dates to the mid-1980s, Little has one top-five finish, finishing second at Texas in 1998. Little never has finished higher than 15th in the Winston Cup points standings.

“This is a great opportunity for me to return to Winston Cup with a team that understands how to build a winner,” Little said. “Their success in the Busch Series is undeniable, and we have high expectations for Winston Cup. I’m excited to be a part of a team with such a great tradition and honored to drive for BACE in their first Winston Cup effort.”

BACE will race a limited Winston Cup schedule after California, focusing mainly on intermediate tracks. Little will enter the non-points Winston Open and then the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May, and then races at Dover International Speedway and Michigan International Speedway in June. As many as 15 races are possible, the team said.

BACE Motorsports is the only team to win three straight Busch Series titles, winning with Johnny Benson in 1995 and Randy LaJoie in 1996 and 1997. LaJoie left the team after the 1998 season, and the No. 74 has struggled since then. Little had six Top 10s last year en route to the ninth-place finish in the points.

BACE’s No. 33 Busch Series team with driver Tony Raines is not affected by the 74 team moving. Raines will still run a full Busch season.

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