Jesse Little Bookends NASCAR K&N Season With Top-Five Finish
MOORESVILLE, North Carolina – Jesse Little capped off his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) season with a historic performance for Rette Jones Racing (RJR) in this past Friday’s Dover 125 at Dover International Speedway.
Not only did Little bookend his limited K&N schedule with his best finish of the season, but Little’s second-place run was followed by his RJR teammate Dominique Van Wieringen in third, mounting her third consecutive top-five finish in her Monster Mile debut.
For Little, the performance in Friday’s race was a solid confidence boost after disappointing finishes at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Iowa Speedway respectively.
With Mother Nature creating havoc for the second consecutive season finale with persistent rain showers, the event’s schedule was realigned scratching qualifying and limited practice time in his No. 29 NTI / UTI Toyota Camry.
After practicing sixth earlier in the day, Little would start 19th based off car owner points, but Little would quickly begin his march through field. Taking one position at a time, the Sherrills Ford, North Carolina worked his way to fourth by the halfway mark with a strong handling No. 29 NTI / UTI Toyota Camry.
Shortly following the halfway break, the second-generation driver would prove that he had car capable of chasing down leader Kyle Benjamin – working his way into the runner-up spot by Lap 100.
Despite battling a tight No. 29 NTI / UTI Toyota Camry in traffic, Little found himself one more opportunity to steal the victory when the caution flag flew five laps from the finish. Thrown
into NASCAR overtime, Little would stay on the back bumper of Benjamin but fighting the dreaded aero-tight behind him – he was unable to make the pass and settled for runner-up, his best K&N finish since a third earlier this season at Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway.
“Man, we had a great day,” Little recalled. “Looking back at our K&N schedule, we certainly had our ups and downs, but this Rette Jones Racing team never gave up. Despite starting in the back, I knew if I took my time and didn’t make any mistakes – we could get inside the top-five.
“Believe me, I gave it my all to try and get the lead from Kyle at the end, but he had a strong car and we just got too tight. I’m happy though for Mark (Rette, co-owner) and Terry (Jones, co-owner). They’ve spent a lot of time and effort to build this team into contenders and to end the year with a second and third is definitely great momentum to carry into the off season.”
The 19-year-old made his 47th career K&N start at Dover. In those 47 starts, he has maneuvered three poles, two wins (New Hampshire and Iowa Speedway), 14 top-fives and 23 top-10 runs over a span of five seasons.
With the curtain drawn on the K&N season, Little turns his attention back to NASCAR where he’ll aim for his third start of the season at Texas Motor Speedway next month under an alliance between Team Little Racing, ThorSport Racing and Rette Jones Racing. It will be his fourth start of the year overall after driving for MB Motorsports at Chicagoland Speedway.
“Looking forward to getting back in our Toyota Tundra,” added Little. “We’ve spent the summer working hard on doing what we need to do to make sure we can go to Texas and have a big performance. Last year we had a pretty good top-15 run – so I’d like to go there in a couple weeks and better it. It’s a fun place to race, but man reality is setting in that the end of the season really is near.”
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.