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Keeping Pace

Little has a quiet confidence heading towards potential NASCAR history

The Little family has made plenty of news and history in the Pacific Northwest in the sport of auto racing. Now it may just be third-generation driver Jesse Little, who makes history should he qualify for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series Event at Richmond International Raceway on Thursday. Little is excited to become his family's third generation NASCAR driver following in the footsteps of father Chad and grandfather Chuck.

Courtesy: TLR Media Relations

Sherrills Ford, NC (April 23, 2012)-Jesse Little and his race team have netted solid qualifying efforts with strong top-10 finishes thus far in the 2012 late model season, but, over a year's planning comes to a hopeful new beginning as Little will attempt to become the youngest qualifier for a NASCAR event when he enters his Chevrolet in Thursday's NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Blue Ox 100 at Richmond International Raceway.

Should Little qualify in among the field, he would set the historic mark at 15 years and 11 days; eclipsing the record set at the 2012 season opener of 15 years two months and five days by Blake Jones.

Little is excited to become his family's third generation NASCAR driver following in the footsteps of father Chad and grandfather Chuck, he explained.

“It's neat because my grandpa and dad both raced in NASCAR's top divisions and now I'm getting the opportunity. I have a lot of resources to draw from and a lot of good information. My dad always reminds me to stay grounded because we have a long ways to go (to make the race).”

Posting a solid seventh place finish at Rockingham Speedway is a boost for Little and his team heading into the Blue Ox 100. Drawing from the big-track experience will help with his K&N Pro Series debut, he added.

“Coming off of Rockingham helps me prepare for Richmond. Rockingham is a bigger track than Richmond (one mile compared to three-quarters) and I approach the big tracks different (then the short tracks run this season). I'm going to focus on being smooth and hitting my marks exact (this Thursday).”

Much has been made of Little's run towards NASCAR history. For the high school freshman the NASCAR K&N Pro Series event is just another race in need of a grounded approach.

“I've learned to focus on what you can control. Things that are out of my control I try not to worry about and just keep my head clear. It's a big race for sure but my job is the same- give good feedback to (crew chief) Travis (Sharpe), get qualified and run all 100 laps,” Little said.

Little and Sharpe have been working on set-ups and handling with the K&N Pro Series car. Jumping behind the wheel of the East Series car will be a bit of an adjustment for Little. The challenge is not overwhelming , he explained.

“The car is heavier and has more power. It reacts slower than the lighter cars I've raced. The weight to power ratio is similar so in the end it's not a lot different. I can be more aggressive with steering input due to the weight and tires but I need to be careful applying the throttle.”

Steady and prepared for a typical race day is Little's approach he continues to emphazise. Even the allure of national television hasn't crept into his mindset, he said.

“I can't control live TV so I don't even think about (the race being televised live) but it is cool though to think about that if we can qualify for the race.”

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series Blue Ox 100 is set for a live broadcast on SPEED TV. Check local listings for further details.

Fans can get the latest news on Jesse Little Racing through the world-wide web at or at Jesse Little Racing on Facebook. Follow Jesse's progress throughout the weekend at @jesselittle97 on Twitter

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Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.

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