Short-Track Miracle: Little Wins at NHMS
Turn 4 Wreck Ends Granite State 100
Jesse Little knew the opportunity might come. Then, on the final lap, it did, as chaos erupted when Brandon Jones dove below the line in Turn 4 and couldn't hold it. The aggressive move sent he and race leader Nick Drake spinning, and there was Little to take advantage, as the 17-year-old cruised passed the duo and across the finish line for his first ever K&N Pro Series East win in Friday night's Granite State 100.
"I kind of had a thought in the back of my mind that that might happen, so I knew that if they got together I'd make a move," said Little, who had one top-five in nine starts prior to his win. "It's an amazing feeling to finish first here at New Hampshire."
Eddie MacDonald, who will be making his Sprint Cup Series debut in Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 301, finished second. It was the Rowley, Mass., native's best East finish at New Hampshire since winning three of four races from 2008-09.
Cale Conley, Jay Beasley and Chad Finley round out the top-five.
"I was really struggling at the end of the race, so for the last couple laps I went into defense mode to keep Eddie from getting underneath me," said Little. "That actually helped me get a little more grip and be there for when that happened at the end."
Pole-sitter Ben Rhodes' bid at history was extinguished during a mid-race accident. The 17-year-old was looking to eclipse Ricky Craven's record of four straight K&N Pro Series East victories. Rhodes' streak was snapped at four, finishing 22nd.
The win was special in a lot of ways for Little, whose first-career win came on his mother Donna's birthday.
"That makes it even more special," said Little. "I might make her a replica trophy that she can keep."
NASCAR's best will race for Loudon the Lobster on Sunday. A limited number of seats for both Saturday and Sunday's events are still available. To purchase tickets please call the NHMS ticket hotline at (603) 783-4931 or by visiting www.nhms.com.
Earlier in the day …
- Ryan Newman used a dramatic last-lap slingshot pass of Justin Bonsignore to win Friday's inaugural Whelen All-Star Shootout modified race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
- During the Oxford Casino Pole Day at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch set a new qualifying record at 138.130 miles per hour (27.574 seconds) to take the pole for Sunday's Camping World RV Sales 301.