Hattori Racing Enterprises (HRE) and team owner Shige Hattori have signed 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Rookie of the Year, to drive the No. 1 Yazaki Toyota Camry in Friday evening's 'Thanks Kenny 150' at Iowa Speedway.
"We're looking forward to this weekend's start with Hattori Racing Enterprises and it's great to have 'Get to Know Newton' community outreach project continue their relationship with me for the race at Iowa Speedway. The Newton community is one of our favorite places to visit and bringing attention to race fans about this great area has always been one of my highlights when coming to Iowa.
"Jesse is a talented young driver and we're looking forward to have him drive our HRE No. 1 Yazaki Toyota Camry this weekend at Iowa Speedway," said Hattori
For this Friday night's race at Iowa Speedway, HRE has assembled a crew featuring six college students from Toyota Technical College in Japan. The students, who are from the campuses in Tokyo, Kobe and Nagoya, have been in North Carolina since last Monday (July 20) attending classes at the NASCAR Technical Institute, including pit crew training, and working at the HRE shop to prepare for this weekend's activities -- where they'll make all the adjustments during the halfway break in the race.
"This has been a great opportunity for the students to not only become immersed in NASCAR, but to visit the United States and experience a different culture" explained Hattori. "This is the fourth year of this program where we've had college students from Toyota Technical College come to North Carolina and I'm glad that we can provide these students with this unique opportunity and learning experience."
In addition to taking classes and working at the race shop, the students have visited the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as a Saturday night race at Bowman Gray Stadium.
Little is excited to make his HRE debut at Iowa Speedway and has been helping the crew get more acclimated to NASCAR.
"We've been working together in the race shop all week getting this Yazaki Toyota Camry ready for Friday night's race," he said. "Even though we may not speak the same language, we've been able to work well together because we all have racing in common. They've been practicing pit stops and we've been talking strategy -- so looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish as a team this weekend."
"HRE has good equipment, and as a driver at Iowa Speedway I've had a lot of success. It will be an honor to work with veteran crew chief Jamie Jones this weekend to see if we can get our Camry to victory lane," Little said.
Little announced the continued partnership with the City of Newton and their 'Get to know Newton' promotional campaign tied into his racing endeavors on Friday night.
"To be part of the 'Get to Know Newton' brand is a great opportunity for our team," the 18-year old said. "Iowa Speedway, Newton and the whole area are one race weekend we look forward to each year. The Newton community has so many great amenities, excellent schools and unique entertainment venues such as Iowa Speedway."
Support from Performance Friction Brakes and NASCAR Technical Institute will continue this weekend as Little goes for the win with Hattori Racing Enterprises.