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Little’s son carries on family tradition

Spokane’s Chad Little, who went from local events to what is now the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Grand National and Winston Cup series, has plenty to be proud of as his son, Jesse, has undertaken a similar path.

With three generations of NASCAR drivers in the family, it’s Jesse, a high school sophomore in North Carolina, who looks to continue the family legacy.

Chuck Little, Jesse’s grandfather, led Stateline Speedway and was an integral part of stock car racing in the Inland Northwest and still calls the region home. As he watched Chad go from high school through college and to a law degree from Gonzaga University, auto racing went side-by-side with education.

Jesse Little has made selected starts on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and signed with Coulter Motorsports prior to Labor Day weekend to run the remainder of this season and work toward a full-time run in 2013.

Building a solid foundation in school and on the race track is something Chad tries to provide on a daily basis to his son.

“I want Jesse to learn how the cars work mechanically and the importance of keeping a sponsor,” Chad said. “This is the foundation for a longer career in NASCAR. A college education will help him succeed in life and make him more attractive to the corporate world. The important thing is Jesse has to want this. I can help shape the opportunity, but he has to want it more than anything else.”

Carrying on the family name in NASCAR is something Jesse Little is proud to be doing.

“I feel a lot of weight on my shoulders carrying the Little name, but I know that if the right opportunity came along under the right circumstances I would try to do nothing more but to add to the last name,” Jesse said.

That opportunity has arrived in the offer from Joe Coulter, owner of Coulter Motorsports, who recognized the talent.

“Jesse is an esteemed young racer who has proven to deliver himself maturely not only on the track but in life itself,” Coulter said. “He and his family are a natural fit and a welcomed addition to our NASCAR K&N Pro Series stable.”

In his debut at New Hampshire International Speedway, Jesse ran among the top 10 for most of the afternoon in his No. 97 Chevrolet, but was forced to pit in the latter stages with battery issues. Choosing to complete the remaining laps instead of parking his car, Little learned a great deal about his first race on the tricky flat 1-mile oval.

“The crew at Coulter Motorsports really worked hard making sure the car was fast right off the truck,” Jesse said. “Our run at New Hampshire was disappointing because, as good as our car was running, I felt like we were strong enough to get a top-five finish.”

Last weekend, the team ran in the 150-lap race at Dover International Speedway – home of the Monster Mile. Topping out in qualifying with an 11th-place starting position, Little again worked traffic while demonstrating his ability with his new team. A flat tire that resulted in contact with the outside wall ended the team’s run prematurely.

With two races left, Little is already preparing for 2013 and the full K&N Pro Series East schedule and the potential to run on the NASCAR series Western circuit.

Follow The Spokesman-Review’s motorsports coverage online at keepingpace. E-mail correspondent Doug Pace at or follow him on Twitter @racingnewsource

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