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Stateline action revs up this weekend; big things lie ahead for Jesse Little

Stateline Speedway follows in the footsteps of its regional neighbors who have kicked off their racing seasons in recent weeks.

The Post Falls quarter-mile opened up Wednesday night with its traditional midweek program and Saturday marks the return of weekend action.

Scheduled to compete will be the stars of the track’s Late Model, Legends and Bandolero divisions, along with the West Coast Vintage Modified Series.

Known as the HyDrive Late Models for several seasons, the class features stock car racing with a local flavor. Many of the drivers call Stateline their home and rarely travel to events outside the area. While considered a track class, the division does attract outside talent looking to test their skills on the tricky oval.

This weekend that includes past Montana Raceway Park late-model champion Bodie Morton, who will be using the race as an opportunity to shake down his car in preparation for the Kalispell track’s late model season opener on May 31.

For more information on Stateline’s weekend schedule log onto

Little steps up

Jesse Little, son of Spokane native and former NASCAR star Chad Little, competed last weekend at Richmond International Raceway, where he posted a top-10 finish. Richmond is the site of Little’s first career start on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. That 2012 start earned him the distinction of being the youngest driver to qualify for a series event.

While that historical mark has since gone to other drivers, Little has done much in his two years on the series. Last season the 17-year-old picked up the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award as the top freshman driver on the series and capped off 2013 with a runner-up finish in the season finale for the K&N West Series held at Phoenix International Raceway.

Last week’s Richmond finish has Little sitting inside among the top five in the chase for the 2014 K&N Pro Series East championship.

All of that is heavy stuff for a high school student, but it was NASCAR’s announcement that Little was selected to be part of an elite program that made the Richmond stop that much more exciting.

Little was named as one of 12 drivers to be showcased in the NASCAR Next program. The group is selected by veteran racers and industry experts and carries added exposure to each driver as they compete in their respective divisions across the country.

Little said the two-day Richmond experience was exciting.

“It’s an honor to be part of the NASCAR Next class of 2014-15,” Little said. “We work hard every week to be among the top teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, and Richmond was no different as we came away with a good points day and a solid finish.”

Now that he is part of an elite group of drivers being promoted by NASCAR, Little will strive to do his best to show why he was chosen for the Next program.

“We know that by being part of the NASCAR Next program, this team will have plenty of attention at each race we compete and we’re going to continue to be at our best to show we’ve earned this honor,” he said.

The honor also opened doors for Little to attempt several K&N Pro Series West races this season.

That begins with the series first stop at Kern County Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif.

The Armed Forces 150 (May 24) will be Little’s second career start on the series but not his last this year. The third-generation driver is also expected to compete at the series season finale in Phoenix and potentially two or three more races as his schedule allows.

Little will not be part of the West stop at Stateline Speedway on July 12. A schedule conflict with the East series date at New Hampshire International Raceway precludes him from being in the family’s hometown NASCAR race at the track formerly owned by his grandfather, Chuck Little.