TBT: Big Little Performances
This year, New Hampshire Motor Speedway celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Throughout the year as part of that celebration, the Granite Stripe will throw it back on Thursday and give a small history lesson on past events at the track.
On May 13, 1995, Chad Little won the New England Chevy Dealers 250 in the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series (now known as the NASCAR XFINITY Series) at NHMS. He started ninth and found his way to the front on Lap 167, after which he led 78 of the final 84 laps.
It was Little's third win of the 1995 season, by far his most successful in NASCAR. He collected all six of his NASCAR National Series wins that season and finished second in points to Johnny Benson, Jr. He raced again in the series full-time in 1996 before moving up to the Cup Series in 1997.
Also in 1997, Little's wife gave birth to their son Jesse, who would follow his dad into racing. The family's tie to NHMS grew much stronger on July 11, 2014, when Jesse started second in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race and kept himself near the front for much of the afternoon.
On the final lap of the Granite State 100, Brandon Jones, who was running second after leading 11 laps, chased race leader Nick Drake down the backstretch and dive-bombed turn 3 to make a last ditch effort for the win. The move didn't stick. In fact, it stuck so little that Jones' car slid the track and spun out Drake in the process.
That opened the door for the third-place running Little to blow by the two contenders and take the checkered flag for the race win on his only lap led.
The win was Jesse's first in NASCAR. Unfortunately, his dad wasn't able to attend, but his mother was ecstatic enough for both of them in victory lane. The race winner said afterward that he had a feeling the two leaders might bump and knew he needed to stay in position to capitalize if he could. HIs father must have been proud.