MOORESVILLE, NC -- There's no shortage of young drivers lining up to be NASCAR's next big star.

The NASCAR NEXT Program is helping a group of 12 young drivers full fill their racing dreams. That group got together for a little racing and to discuss their futures Wednesday afternoon at the GoPro Motorplex in Mooresville.

The NASCAR NEXT program gives all of us hope, said K&N East Series racer Jesse Little.

The son of former NASCAR driver Chad Little won his first series race last weekend at Loudon on his mom's birthday and is excited about his opportunity to be a part of the program this year.

Looking at the talent that's come out of the program and where they are now gives me tons and tons of confidence, said Little.

18 year old Erik Jones, also a member of the NEXT program, won his second ever Camping World Truck Series race at Iowa last weekend. Jones has seen an increase in his exposure and racing profile, thanks to the combination of winning and his spot in the program. I've gotten a lot more exposure than I have in recent years, said Jones. He added, I'm looking forward to what the rest of the year is going to bring as a member of NEXT.

The group also includes one female driver, Oklahoma native Kenzie Ruston. Ruston started racing Bandolero cars at the age of 14 and is on the path to become the next big name female driver on the Sprint Cup Series. She's already become the first female ever to win a Legends Car National Championship.

I was never the strongest media person and they put us through some hardcore media training, said Ruston. She's already got the answer down to the question that fellow female driver Danica Patrick has probably heard way too many times. Somebody asked me last year if I was the mom of the NASCAR NEXT program because I was the only female, said Kenzie. So I always tell everyone, hey straighten up your collar or iron your shirt.

Some of the names that have come through the NASCAR NEXT Program in recent years include Nationwide Series competitor Chase Elliott and current Sprint Cup driver Kyle Larson.

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