The third-generation driver earned his second and most recent NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win at Iowa Speedway and returning as the defending champion of the Casey’s General Stores 150 presented by Vatterott College, Little is prepared to defend his title.
But, while Little was credited with the victory in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, his fellow competitor Brandon McReynolds was the driver spraying champagne in Victory Lane and reeling in the accolades for crossing the start-finish line first.
Well not really.
Iowa Speedway is one of the few events on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedule where the series combines the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West divisions together for a battle of their own. While Little took the checkered flag second last year, he was credited with his second and last K&N victory driving for Shigeaki Hattori.
Heading back to the 0.875-mile oval with Rette Jones Racing this Fridaynight, Little, driver of the No. 29 NTI / PFC Toyota Camry wants to hog it all – not only taking the checkered flag first, but embracing the joys and feelings that Victory Lane has to bring.
“Iowa Speedway last year was a good race for us,” said Little. “We didn’t have a reason to be disappointed, because in all retrospect, we left there as winners, but it wasn’t on our exact terms. We had a really good car and I’m hoping we can do the sameon Friday night with Rette Jones Racing.”
Little, the son of former NASCAR driver Chad Little is set to make his third start of the season and second top-five of the year. His most recent outing at New Hampshire didn’t go as planned. Little and his crew chief Matt Noyce struggled with the handling of theirNo. 29 Chad Little Outdoor Power Equipment Toyota Camry and finished 17th after starting 23rd.
A few weeks to reflect on New Hampshire, Little is confident their handling woes are behind them and they will be back on track at America’s Short Track Friday night.
“New Hampshire was a bummer,” said Little. “The race didn’t turn out like we planned with our No. 29 Chad Little Outdoor Power Equipment Toyota – or as a team. But, that’s behind us. We learned from it and we’re focused on what’s out the windshield.
“Matt (Noyce, crew chief) and I feel very confident in the setup we’re bringing to Iowa Speedway this weekend and we look forward to competing for Rette Jones Racing’s first career victory.”
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.
Little is also an alumnus 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.
Welcoming NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI) as the primary marketing partner for Iowa, the team’s No. 29 entry will carry additional support from UTI, Performance Friction Brakes, Racing Electronics, Penske Shocks and Mac’s Speed Shop in the 10th race of the 2016 season.
The Sherrills Ford, North Carolina native will make his 46th career K&N start Friday night. In his previous 45 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 Casey’s General Stores 150 presented by Vatterott College (150 laps / 131.25 miles) is the 10th of 14 races on the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule. Practice is set for Friday, July 29 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. with a final practice etched in from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Qualifying is set for a short time later at 5:00 p.m. The event will take the green flag later that night shortly after 8:00 p.m. CT. The event will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on NBC Sports Network on Friday, Aug. 5 at 2:00 p.m.
Credit: Mark Rette