ROSSBURG, Ohio – Midwest dirt modified racer RJ Otto will attempt to make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut with JJL Motorsports during Wednesday’s Eldora Dirt Derby.
Otto, 26, will drive the No. 97 Chris Sanford Cattle/S&S Express Ford in the 13th Truck Series race of the season. JJL Motorsports crew chief Matt Noyce will oversee the effort.
Otto’s unique paint scheme is a tribute to Red Farmer, an accomplished dirt racer and an original member of NASCAR’s Alabama Gang.
“I’m excited about this opportunity to make my Truck Series debut at Eldora,” said Otto. “This is a huge chance for me to put myself and the JJL Motorsports team in the spotlight. It’s going to be a very competitive race, but we’re up for the challenge and I can’t wait to get going.”
Otto, a native of Gahanna, Ohio is no stranger to Eldora’s turf. An accomplished dirt racer, he has visited victory lane at the historic half-mile dirt track throughout his racing career in modified competition.
Now, sitting center stage in one of the most anticipated races of the year, Otto is determined to turn heads.
“A lot of people have put time, effort and support into making Eldora possible and I’m forever grateful,” noted Otto. “With the support of Matt, Jesse and Jason (Little), David Calabrese and others, we’re going there as an underdog … but hope to perform as a top dog.”
The underdog role is something that JJL Motorsports has been accustomed to this season. Jesse Little, fresh off making his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night, has turned impressive performances in his No. 97 Ford truck.
Thus far in 2018, Little and JJL have earned four top-10 finishes in five races, including a career-best sixth at Iowa Speedway last month. Recently, Little turned in a seventh-place result at Gateway (Ill.) Motorsport Park in late June.
Otto hopes to continue JJL’s success, this time on dirt.
“I think we’ll have a truck capable of a top-10 run,” Otto said. “We just have to pace ourselves. We gotta make sure we use both practice sessions Tuesday to our advantage and then lay down a good qualifying lap on Wednesday that will put in a good spot for our qualifying races a short time later.
“Once in the race, we can focus on that. I’d be ecstatic with a top-10 finish for Chris Sanford Cattle and S&S Express. Hopefully, Eldora opens the door to more opportunities along the way. We’ll see.”
“JJL Motorsports is proud to have RJ Otto behind the wheel this week at Eldora,” added JJL Motorsports team principal Jason Little. “As we continue to enhance our organization, we’re opening the doors to build a strong foundation with support from Ford Performance that will allow us to put additional drivers in our No. 97 truck, in hopes of running more races this year and also looking ahead to bigger things in 2019. We wish RJ the best of luck in his Eldora Truck debut.”