The 70th Annual Pay Less Little 500 presented by UAW-GM will take place on Saturday, May 26 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway. America’s richest pavement sprint car event will showcase 33 cars racing for 500 laps on a tight, high-banked quarter-mile oval. The start is one of most impressive sights in all of short track racing with 11 rows of 3 taking the green flag. There is no other sprint car race like it in the country between the distance, live pit stops, racing in traffic and the non-stop action for 500 laps. Here is the Pay Less Little 500 “by the numbers.”
2: Last year’s winner Kyle Hamilton started second in the field of 33 and is the most consistent driver in the past decade. Four career starts have produced finishes of 1st, 4th, 3rdand 5th.
2: Drivers are required to make two live pits stops, one prior to lap 250 and the final during the remaining 250 laps. Pit strategy is a key factor in winning and losing the race.
3: Rookie Anthony McCune is attempting to be the 3rd generation of the McCune Family to race in the Pay Less Little 500, following Jimmy McCune (2002 – present) and Jim McCune (1961-1964).
3: Inductees into the Little 500 Hall of Fame this year include Sam Brooks – (Chief Mechanic for Eric Gordon and Jacob Wilson, racked up 10 wins), Bob East – (Beast Chassis car builder, scored 8 wins and 11 poles), Dave Harrison – (13 starts as a driver from 1988-2002; Rookie-of-the-Year 1988; completed 4,865 laps).
4: Laps in qualifying, each driver has three attempts on Thursday and two attempts on Friday. Teams can wave off their attempt at any time.
4: Days comprise the Pay Less Little 500; Wednesday practice, Thursday Pole Day, Friday Bump Day and Saturday’s 70thAnnual Pay Less Little 500.
5: Bob Frey won the Pay Less Little 500 five times which ranks second behind Eric Gordon. Frey scored four consecutive wins from 1987 to 1990 while driving for legendary car owner Glen Niebel in the yellow No. 20.
5: Florida’s Dave Steele and Frank Riddle are tied for the most Pay Less Little 500 pole positions with five.
5: Kevin Thomas Jr. has five wins in 2018, the most among entered drivers. His feature victories have occurred in Non-Wing Sprint Car competition.
6: Chris Windom’s number of races entering this week; 5/23: USAC Sprints Tony Hulman Classic, 5/24: Indy Lights Freedom 100 (day), USAC Silver Crown Hoosier 100 (night), 5/25: USAC Silver Crown Dave Steele Carb Night Classic, 5/26: Pay Less Little 500, 5/27: Kokomo Sprint Cars.
8: Former Pay Less Little 500 winners entered. Kyle Hamilton (17), Kody Swanson (16), Chris Windom (15, 11), Jacob Wilson (14, 13), Brian Tyler (12, 06), Eric Gordon (9 times), Shane Cottle (08), Jeff Bloom (91, 77, 72).
8: Florida drivers entered, which is second highest behind Indiana entrants. The Sunshine State is led by Troy DeCaire (9 starts), Shane Butler (7 starts) and Mickey Kempgens (5 starts).
9: Eric Gordon has won a record nine times, including five straight victories from 2001 thru 2005. Other wins for Gordon took place in 1998, 2007 and 2010. He has a 41% winning percentage with 9 wins in 22 starts.
10: Pay Less Little 500 rookies entered; Kevin Thomas Jr (AL), Justin Grant (CA), Dameron Taylor (IN), Kyle O’Gara (IN), Johnny Gilbertson (FL), John Inman (FL), Carlie Yent (FL), Joey Schmidt (MS), Anthony McCune (OH), Izak Spies (South Africa).
11: Number of rows in the starting field with 11 rows of 3. The start is one of most impressive sights in all of short track racing.
14: Drivers entered from 12 states, Canada and South Africa.
15: Thursday Pole Day, the top 15 drivers in qualifying locked into the 70thAnnual Pay Less Little 500.
16: Brian Tyler has the current longest consecutive start streak with 16. Has raced in 25 events but started the current streak in 2002. Aaron Pierce is 2ndon the list with 15 consecutive starts.
18: Friday Bump Day, the remaining 18 spots are filled for the field of 33.
26: Aaron Pierce won the Tony Elliott Classic, the most recent sprint car event at Anderson on October 17, 2017, after holding off Kody Swanson and Chris Neunschwander in a 22 car-field.
33: Number of drivers in the field for the Pay Less Little 500.
39.9 – Number of miles between the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Anderson Speedway, several fans will attend both races during the weekend along with USAC Sprint Car and Silver Crown events.
40: With 50 expected entries this year, a non-qualifiers race has been added on Friday night for 40 laps.
41: Jeff Bloom, at 69 years old, attempting to make his 41stPay Less Little 500; The three-time winner (1991, 1977, 1972) has completed over 9,200 laps.
44.030: Aaron Pierce holds the 4-lap track record set in 2011 and holds the 1-lap track record at 10.944; There is $1,000 in bonus money for breaking the record.
50: Number of expected entries for the Little 500, increase of 9 from last year’s event.
70: This is the 70thannual Pay Less Little 500, inaugural race in 1949 won by Sam Skinner passing Tom Cherry for the win with 15 laps to go.
75: Friday night Don & Mel Keyon Classic Midget race total laps, former Keyon Midget Series champions Dameron Tayler and Kyle O’Gara are entered as rookies this year in the Pay Less Little 500.
99: Kenny Schrader returns for his 2ndPay Less Little 500 in the Brad Armstrong Racing No. 99.
125: Miles is the distance of the Pay Less Little 500 on the tight, high-banked quarter-mile track.
468: Aaron Pierce is overdue for the winner’s circle after leading 468 laps in previous Pay Less Little 500’s without winning. Caleb Armstrong (398 laps) and Bobby Santos (325 laps) are also in that club.
500: The longest sprint car race in the country at 500 laps.
1,000: Rookie of the race cash award, previous ROR drivers entered; Davey Hamilton Jr (15), Jerry Coons Jr (14), Garrett Green (13), Billy Wease (12), Jeff Bloom (72).
2,601: Laps led by Eric Gordon in the Pay Less Little 500, has led laps in 16 of 22 races.
25,000: Pay Less Little 500 pays $25,000 to win plus bonus monies, $2,150 to start, $125,000 total purse.
Current Entry List:
|07||Ryan Litt||London, Ont. Canada|
|0||Doug Dietsch||Vicksburg, Mich.|
|1||Davey Hamilton Jr||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|2||Dave Osborn||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|2||Tanner Swanson||Kingsburg, Calif.|
|3||Jerry Coons Jr.||Tucson, Ariz.|
|4||Kody Swanson||Kingsburg, Calif.|
|4||Shane Cottle||Kokomo, Ind.|
|4||CJ Leary||Greenfield, Ind.|
|5||Kyle Hamilton||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|5g||Chris Windom||Canton Ill.|
|7c||Caleb Armstrong||New Castle, Ind.|
|7g||Kevin Thomas Jr. ( R)||Cullman Ala.|
|8||Dameron Taylor ( R)||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|8||Chris Neuenschwander||New Haven, Ind.|
|8||Anthony McCune ( R)||Sylvania, Ohio|
|9||Jason Fuller||Milford, Ind.|
|9||Nick Hamilton||Danville, Ind.|
|11||Tom Paterson||Argos, Ind.|
|12||Billy Wease||Noblesville, Ind.|
|18||Travis Welpott||Pendleton, Ind.|
|20||Shane Hollingsworth||Lafayette, Ind.|
|22||Johnny Gilbertson ( R)||Tampa, Fla.|
|22||Bobby Santos||Franklin, Mass.|
|24||Izak Spies ( R)||Vereeniging, South Africa|
|26||Jeff Bloom||Bangor, Mich.|
|26||Aaron Pierce||Daleville, Ind.|
|27||Brian Gerster||Fishers, Ind.|
|27||Chris Jagger||Warsaw, Ind.|
|44||Brian Tyler||Mt. Pleasant, N. Car.|
|45||Mark Hall||New Palestine, Ind.|
|55||Tommy Nichols||Plant City, Fla.|
|55||Garrett Green||Valrico, Fla|
|59||Scotty Hampton||Morristown, Ind.|
|59||John Inman ( R)||Dover, Fla.|
|63||Carlie Yent ( R)||Tampa, Fla.|
|64||Justin Grant ( R)||Ione, Calif.|
|67||Kyle O’Gara ( R)||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|68||Mickey Kempgens||Tampa, Fla.|
|69||Eric Gordon||Fortville, Ind.|
|71||Brian Vaughn||Shirley, Ind.|
|74||Tony Main||Ridgeville, Ind.|
|81||Joey Schmidt ( R)||Ellisville, Miss.|
|88||Jimmy McCune||Toledo, Ohio|
|91||Troy De Caire||Tampa, Fla.|
|99||Ken Schrader||Fenton, Mo|
-By Scott Larson. Photo Credit: Scott Larson