NASCAR: Rhodes’ K&N East win streak snapped; Jesse Little comes up big in N.H.

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Ben Rhodes’ (pictured, right) recent run of dominance in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East finally came to an end today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Rhodes had won the last four K&N East races going into today’s Granite State 100 at the Magic Mile, and another win would have pulled him into a tie with Ricky Craven for most consecutive wins in series history with five.

But late in the running today at NHMS, everything went wrong for Rhodes. He was second for a restart on Lap 83 of 100, but lost multiple positions. He fell further back on another restart at Lap 89, and when the race resumed following a red flag at Lap 92, he was in ninth.

Then, the bottom fell out…

Rhodes would finish 22nd as the race for the win turned wild on the final lap. Nick Drake led the race at the white flag but Brandon Jones’ attempt to pass him inside at Turn 3 ended with the two making contact and wrecking.

That opened the door for 17-year-old Jesse Little (Sherrills Ford, North Carolina) to go by and take the checkered flag for his first K&N East win in his 33rd career series start.

Eddie MacDonald finished second, followed by Cale Conley, Jay Beasley, and Chad Finley. Jones and Drake were credited with 21st and 24th place, respectively.

The K&N East series will now head to Columbus, Ohio for a race on Saturday, July 19.

March 29 in Motorsports History: Scott Dixon wins first race after reunification

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Reunited and it felt so good.

That’s what drivers likely thought before the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

For the first time since 1995, major-league open-wheel racing in the United States was under the banner of a sole sanctioning body as Champ Car and the Indy Racing Leauge had reunified just a month prior.

Scott Dixon celebrates after winning the 2008 IndyCar opener at Homestead. Photo: Jim Hines/IndyCar.

The first race after reunification also saw a reversal of fortunes for Scott Dixon, who won the race after losing the 2007 IRL championship in crushing fashion.

In the 2007 season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon ran out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the race. The race victory – and championship – went to Dixon’s future teammate, Dario Franchitti.

But the tides turned for Dixon nearly seven months later, and the Kiwi was able to win with the help of another driver’s misfortune.

Tony Kanaan was leading with seven laps remaining when E.J. Viso spun and made contact with Kanaan’s car. Kanaan remained on track through the caution period despite suffering obvious damage to his right front suspension.

On the final restart with three laps remaining, Dixon and others cars easily passed Kanaan’s wounded car on the outside. Dixon then maintained his lead through the checkered flag to win at Homestead for the second time in his career.

“I think Marco (Andretti) and T.K. probably had a little bit better cars today, but we came through with the win, and that’s what counts,” Dixon told ESPN after his 12th career victory.

Following his victory at Homestead, Dixon continued to redeem himself through the course of the 2008 season. In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 for the first (and so far only) time. Following Indy, he went on to win four more times in 2008 and won his second series championship.

Also on this date:

1998: Mika Hakkinen won the Grand Prix of Brazil, the first of eight victories in his first championship season.

2010: Will Power won the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which was held on a Monday morning because of rain postponing the race on Sunday.

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