LOUDON, New Hampshire – Third generation racer Jesse Little couldn’t be more excited about getting back to NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) competition.
And for good reason.
Little and his No. 29 Rette Jones Racing team join the rest of the K&N East invaders this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for their ninth race of the season, but Little returns as a previous race winner at the 1.0-mile oval.
Armed with a stout No. 29 Chad Little Outdoor Power Equipment Toyota Camry, Little and his Matt Noyce led team look to rekindle the magic again in Saturday afternoon’s United Site Services 70.
“I’ve been looking forward to this coming weekend for a long time,” said Little. “I picked up my first win the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in New Hampshire in 2014 with Chad Little Outdoor Power Equipment on board and I’m fortunate to have them help out again for this year’s race. I feel confident in myself along with my Rette Jones Racing that we have what it takes to send our Toyota Camry to Victory Lane.”
In a limited NASCAR schedule for Rette Jones Racing this season, Little competed at Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, and while his K&N season debut in Alabama delivered a third-place finish, Little knows to be in position to win again – he must first be near the front.
“I was running third in 2014 and I was challenging for the lead when the two leaders wrecked and I scooted by,” Little recalled. “I couldn’t believe it happened. Of course, that’s not ideally how I wanted to win my first race, but we were contending all day long and we’re just in the right place and the right time to take advantage of some others misfortunes.
“We need to find ourselves in a similar scenario this weekend. It’s an incredibly short race. Only 70 laps long. That will go by in a hurry, but as a team we need to make sure we’re doing our job to put not only our No. 29 Chad Little Outdoor Power Equipment Toyota Camry out front, but my teammate Dominique Van Wieringen too.”
With an extremely tight schedule on deck this weekend at New Hampshire, Little knows that he finds himself in prime position to make most of the limited track time over his other competitors.
“Compared to other races in the past, our schedule is very, very condensed,” added Little. “Our practice will be over before we know it and then we’ll have group qualifying. That bit us at Bristol, but hopefully all that bad luck is in the past and we’ll have a granite effort all weekend.
“The track really suits my driving style where we reach high speeds, but also have to driver the corners similar to that of a short track. Matt (Noyce, crew chief) knows the feeling I’m looking for and we’ve spent a lot of time this week bouncing ideas off each other. New Hampshire here we come.”
Little, the son of former NASCAR driver Chad Little began his racing career in quarter midgets at the age of seven. Moving through the ranks, he moved up to Bandoleros in 2007 and Legends cars two years later. In 2010, Little won the USAC Eastern Focus Young Guns midget car championship and in 2011 competed in the UARA Stars Late Model Series where he enjoyed success.
The following year, Little, then 15 made history by becoming the youngest driver to compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, making his series debut at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. In 43 races overall, he has collected two wins, three poles, 12 top-fives and 20 top-10 finishes overall.
Little is also a current member of the NASCAR Next program. An evolution of the Next9 initiative that began in 2011, the NASCAR Next program is an all-embracing industry initiative to help spotlight the sport’s rising stars – and boost fan recognition around talent that will grow into NASCAR Sprint Cup Series mainstays.
In addition to Chad Little Outdoor Power Equipment, the team’s No. 29 entry will carry support from the NASCAR Technical Institute, UTI, Performance Friction Brakes, Racing Electronics, Penske Shocks and Mac’s Speed Shop in the ninth race of the 2016 season.
The Sherrills Ford, North Carolina native will make his 45th career K&N start Saturday. In his previous 44 runs, he has maneuvered three poles, two wins (New Hampshire and Iowa Speedway), 13 top-fives and 21 top-10 runs over a span of five seasons.
In addition to his limited NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule, Little, 19, will also run select NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) races under an alliance between Team Little Racing, ThorSport Racing and Rette Jones Racing.
For more on Jesse Little, visit JesseLittle.com and follow her on Twitter @JesseLittle97.
The latest on Rette Jones Racing is available at the team’s Facebook page, while also active on Twitter @RetteJones30.
The United Site Services 70 (70 laps / 70 miles) is the ninth of 14 races on the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule. Practice is set for Friday, July 15 from 6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. with a final practice etched in from 6:55 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. Group qualifying is set for a short time later at 7:30 p.m. The event will take the green flag the next day, Saturday, July 16 around 6:45 p.m. (ET) following the NASCAR XFINITY Series AutoLotto 200. The event will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on NBC Sports Network on Thursday, July 21 at 11:00 p.m. ET.