Notebook: Donnie Adams Jr. was the fastest in the final warm-up with a best time of 11.501 seconds.
Joe Swanson blew an engine during the warm-up session and will not start tonight. The first alternate Jim Sheets was unavailable, so Mark Hall will start shotgun on the field for the Little 500.
Command has been given and the 33-car field is being pushed off.
Lap 5: Chris Neuenschwander jumps out to the early, as the leaders catch slower traffic only five laps in.
Lap 10: Tanner Swanson shows smoke 10 laps in and brings the car to pit road.
Lap 15: Caleb Armstrong takes the lead.
Lap 20: First caution comes out when Travis Welpott, Russ Gamester, and Geoff Kaiser get together in turn one. All are able to continue.
Lap 30: Armstrong, Neuenschwander, Santos, Windom, and Steele the top five after a single-file restart.
Lap 45: Shane Cottle nudges the wall and is not able to keep pace enough before the yellow flag flies. Armstrong and Neuenschwander setting quite the pace up front early.
Lap 60: back under green with Armstrong and Neuenschwander checking out again. Santos having trouble passing the lapped car of Dietsch, but finally gets by.
Lap 65: third caution. Doug Dietsch and former two-time winner Brian Tyler spin between turns one and two. Both need a tow back to the pits.
Lap 80: Caution comes out right when the green flies due to Shane Hollingsworth spinning on the frontstretch.
Lap 100: Still Armstrong, Neuenschwander, and Santos out front at the 1/5 mark.
Lap 105: Santos advances to second position.
Lap 115: Dave Steele has been on the move and is now fourth. Windom rounds out the top five.
Lap 125: Billy Wease and Jacob Wilson currently with the fiercest battle on the track for sixth.
Lap 135: Caution for Shane Hollingsworth in the turn four wall. Chris Windom and Jerry Coons Jr. elect to pit.
Lap 150: Armstrong and Santos continue to set the pace as the race returns to green.
Lap 155: Jeff Bloom slows to the infield. In addition, defending Little 500 winner Windom loses a wheel and hits the turn one wall. His streak of top five finishes this week will come to an end.
Lap 160: Kody Swanson, Dave Steele, Kyle Hamilton, and Mickey Kempgens all pit. Swanson with a very quick stop.
Lap 170: Scotty Hampton gets spun around in turn four and several narrowly avoid running into him.
Lap 175: Neuenschwander and McCune pit. Armstrong and Santos stay out. Neuenschwander’s car stalls after coming out of the pits and resumes, but loses a lap.
Lap 180: Green flag back out. Top five have not pitted: Armstrong, Santos, Wease, Pierce, and Litt.
Lap 185: Yellow flag for Kempgens going around in turn four.
Lap 190: Armstrong and Pierce pit. Santos new leader.
Lap 200: Travis Welpott spins in front of traffic out of turn two. Wilson swerves to miss him and hits the inside barrier with hard impact. Wilson is okay.
Lap 206: Red flag to fix the inside the barrier on the backstretch.
Back under caution. Yellow flag laps after a red flag do not count.
Santos and Wease pit. Drivers receive a one lap penalty for pitting while laps are not being counted.
Lap 210: Scoring is showing Santos and Wease still in the lead as they were a lap ahead of Swanson and Steele. Those drivers along with Coons, Armstrong, and Litt are now back on the lead lap.
Lap 225: Santos picking off lapped cars one after another. Swanson about 9.5 seconds behind the front two.
Lap 240: The gap slightly narrows from Santos and Wease back to Swanson. Now about 7.5 seconds.
Lap 245: Wease wheel hops Litt in turn one. Wease comes to rest in the infield and Litt hits the wall. Both appear to be done for the night.
Lap 250: Halfway. Bobby Santos III, Kody Swanson, Dave Steele, Jerry Coons, Aaron Pierce, and Caleb Armstrong currently on the lead lap.
Lap 265: Santos is having to hold off Kyle Hamilton, who is feverishly trying to get his lap back. Swanson only 1.7 seconds back in second.
Lap 275: Hamilton gets back on the lead lap. Steele makes a couple bids for second, but has to back out due to lapped traffic.
Lap 290: Swanson getting held up behind the lapped car of Davey Hamilton Jr., allowing Santos to pull away.
Lap 300: Swanson, Steele, and Coons have cleared traffic for the moment, but are more than four seconds back from Santos.
Lap 311: Tony Main facing the wrong way as the caution flies after a long green flag run.
Lap 318: Coons and Kyle Hamilton make early pit stops. Teams are required to pit at least once before lap 250 and at least once after lap 250.
Lap 330: Back under green as Swanson and Steele have clear track to attempt at running down Santos.
Lap 337: Pierce slows, makes an unscheduled pit stop, and returns to the track several laps down. Santos, Swanson, and Steele now running altogether for the lead.
Lap 350: Swanson is glued to the back of Swanson as they work slower traffic.
Lap 360: Swanson had a few opportunities to pass for the lead curtailed by a couple lapped cars.
Lap 375: Swanson losing ground to Santos.
Lap 380: Caution for Swanson, who loops it in turn four. Steele, Swanson, and Armstrong pit.
Lap 390: Pierce, several laps down, makes up another lap as he breezes by Santos. Santos with a lap lead on the field, but has yet to make his final stop.
Lap 400: Swanson and Armstrong having an intense battle for third. Coons currently now shown in second.
Lap 405: Armstrong passes and pulls away from Swanson and is now all over the back of Coons for second.
Lap 415: Santos, still on older tires, is being approached rapidly by Coons and Armstrong.
Lap 425: Armstrong unlaps himself, and Coons and Swanson shortly follow.
Lap 434: Steele now back on the lead lap. Santos well off the pace compared to those with fresh rubber.
Lap 442: Caution for Dietsch going around in turn four. Perhaps the break Santos needed, but with the pace Armstrong was running it will be tough for Santos to keep the top spot once he pits.
Lap 450: Santos pits and will lose a lap. Now being shown in sixth. Armstrong, Swanson, Coons, Steele, and Kyle Hamilton the top five on the lead lap.
Lap 460: Hamilton started off on the tail end of the lead lap, and now Armstrong puts a lap on him and begins to pull away as the race returns to green.
Lap 470: Swanson catching Armstrong as they work lapped traffic.
Lap 473: Armstrong gets held up in the outside and Swanson pulls low. The two make contact through turn four. Swanson gets the lead and Armstrong makes contact with a lapped car on the frontsretch and has noticeable damage as the caution comes out.
Lap 485: a lapped car between Swanson and Steele on the restart. Steele clears the lapped car almost immediately.
Lap 495: Swanson with about a second lead over Steele with five laps remaining. Coons still on the lead lap in third.
Lap 500: Kody Swanson holds off Dave Steele for the Little 500 victory. Jerry Coons Jr., Kyle Hamilton, and Bobby Santos III round out the top five.
Car Count: 36 non-winged Sprint Cars attempted to make the field throughout the week. 33 will start the 500-lap feature with two alternates in case there are any issues prior to the green flag.
Title Fight: The Little 500 is a special event.
Winning Crew Chief: Rob Hoffman / Hoffman Auto Racing
On the Move: Shane Cottle moved up 19 positions to finish sixth.
Biggest Loser: Tanner Swanson fell out early and finished 33rd after starting fifth.
1) Caleb Armstrong
2) Chris Neuenschwander
3) Bobby Santos III
4) Chris Windom
5) Tanner Swanson
6) Donnie Adams Jr.
7) Dave Steele
8) Jacob Wilson
9) Aaron Pierce
10) Jerry Coons Jr.
11) Billy Wease
12) Jeff Bloom
13) Brian Tyler
14) Kody Swanson
15) Jimmy McCune
16) Kyle Hamilton
17) Davey Hamilton Jr.
18) Ryan Litt
19) Scott Hampton
20) Shane Butler
21) Brian Gerster
22) Grant Galloway
23) Shane Hollingsworth
24) Mickey Kempgens
25) Shane Cottle
26) Geoff Kaiser
27) Tony Main
28) Doug Dietsch
29) Joe Swanson
30) Travis Welpott
31) Russ Gamester
32) Brian Vaughn
33) Brad Wyatt
1st Alternate – Jim Sheets
2nd Alternate – Mark Hall
Qualifying Events: Teams qualified over the last few days in similar fashion to how the Indianapolis 500 is set, with single car qualifications and then a “bump day” to establish the final racers in the field.
Final warm-up session top 10:
1) Donnie Adams Jr. – 11.501
2) Geoff Kaiser – 11.517
3) Shane Cottle – 11.580
4) Caleb Armstrong – 11.592
5) Doug Dietsch – 11.650
6) Shane Hollingsworth – 11.662
7) Jacob Wilson – 11.666
8) Jimmy McCune – 11.694
9) Russ Gamester – 11.716
10) Ryan Litt – 11.750
7:00 – Pre race activities begin
7:15 – Driver Introductions
7:53 – Invocation, Taps & National Anthem
8:00 – Command to Start Engines and green flag for the 68th Little 500
Who To Watch For: Caleb Armstrong, Chris Neuenschwander, and Bobby Santos III will be the ones to beat at the start, starting from the front row in this unique race for non-winged Sprint Cars. However, the key will be to survive the 500-lap distance. Five drivers in the 33-car field have been successful before, those former winners being Jacob Wilson, Chris Windom, Brian Tyler, Dave Steele, and Jeff Bloom. Aaron Pierce has led nearly 500 laps, but has never finished first. Neither has Ryan Litt, who has completed a total of 3,256 Little 500 laps. Tanner Swanson won in the USAC Silver Crown Series the previous night at Lucas Oil Raceway, but is a rookie in this race. His older brother Kody Swanson is also a winner this week at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Must See Sprints points leaders Brian Gerster and Jimmy McCune will also be ones to watch as well as the son of former Indianapolis 500 starter, 2015 Little 500 rookie of the year Davey Hamilton Jr.
0 – Doug Dietsch
1 – Davey Hamilton Jr.
2 – Jeff Bloom
02 – Joe Swanson
3 – Jerry Coons Jr.
4 – Donnie Adams, Jr.
5g – Chris Windom
7c – Caleb Armstrong
07 – Jacob Wilson
8 – Chris Neuenschwander
9 – Billy Wease
12 – Grant Galloway
18 – Travis Welpott
18 – Jim Sheets
20 – Shane Hollingsworth
22 – Bobby Santos III
26 – Aaron Pierce
27 – Brian Gerstner
33 – Dave Steele
35 – Russ Gamester
41 – Shane Cottle
44 – Brian Tyler
45 – Mark Hall
51 – Kyle Hamilton
55 – Shane Butler
57 – Brad Wyatt
59 – Scott Hampton
68 – Mickey Kempgens
69 – Kody Swanson
71 – Brian Vaughn
74 – Tony Main
87 – Ryan Litt
88 – Jimmy McCune
94 – Geoff Kaiser
99 – Tanner Swanson
The Track: Anderson Speedway is a high-banked 1/4-mile oval in Indiana, only 50 miles northeast of Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Weather: Some light afternoon drops came through, but have since departed. Temperatures will fall toward the low 70s come race time.
Next Series Race: The Little 500 is an annual special event.
What Won the Race: With less than 30 laps remaining, contact ensued between Kody Swanson and Caleb Armstrong after encountering lapped traffic. Swanson gained the top spot and led the rest of the way for his first Little 500 victory.
1) Kody Swanson
2) Dave Steele
3) Jerry Coons Jr.
4) Kyle Hamilton
5) Bobby Santos III
6) Shane Cottle
7) Grant Galloway
8) Shane Butler
9) Davey Hamilton Jr.
10) Aaron Pierce
11) Brian Gerstner
12) Mickey Kempgens
13) Caleb Armstrong
14) Chris Neuenschwander
15) Geoff Kaiser
16) Travis Welpott
17) Tony Main
18) Brian Vaughn
19) Doug Dietsch
20) Jimmy McCune
21) Mark Hall
22) Brad Wyatt
23) Billy Wease
24) Ryan Litt
25) Donnie Adams Jr.
26) Jacob Wilson
27) Scotty Hampton
28) Jeff Bloom
29) Chris Windom
30) Shane Hollingsworth
31) Brian Tyler
32) Russ Gamester
33) Tanner Swanson
The Skinny: Pit strategy played a major part over the course of the 500-lap event. Bobby Santos III led most of the way, but older tires and a late pit stop shuffled him back through the field. Kody Swanson made up time during both visits to the pits, but needed to make the winning pass on the track.
Winning Quote: “Some parts of racing it’s just getting a little bit of luck and catching the right break, and tonight we did.”