Ken de la Bastide: Best week of the year with 75th Little 500 on tap

May 23—For the 75th time, Anderson Speedway and the city of Anderson is playing host to the Lucas Oil Little 500.

There will be plenty of drama and excitement leading up to Saturday's race with an expected tight field running for the pole position Thursday.

I have been witnessing racing in many different venues for most of my life, and the Little 500 is without a doubt the greatest short-track race.

The fastest 15 drivers lock into the race Thursday, and an added perk is to select the ever important pit stall for during the race.

Bump day is Friday when the remaining 18 starting spots are filled, and track officials believe as many as 43 teams might be attempting to make the race.

As the clock ticks down to the end of qualifying, there will be the nervous driver and team sitting on the "bubble" and a number of teams looking for enough speed to make the race.

The entire week at Anderson Speedway is always filled with the "joy of victory and agony of defeat."

Tyler Roahrig will seek a third consecutive Little 500 victory and is joined in the field by former winners Kody Swanson, Jeff Bloom and Bobby Santos III.

There are at least 12 teams that have a legitimate shot at winning the race Saturday.

In addition to Roahrig, Kody Swanson and Santos, the list includes Caleb Armstrong, Shane Hollingworth, Tanner Swanson, Brian Gerster, Emerson Axsom, Scott Hampton, Brady Bacon, Kyle O'Gara and Billy Wease.

Just like at the Indianapolis 500, the winning team will use the right pit strategy and will need Lady Luck in its corner.

This past weekend Bacon, looking to make a second Little 500 start, won the opening Silver Crown race in Kansas with Kody Swanson finishing second.

Another interesting aspect of the race is three members of the New Castle-based Armstrong family will look to make the field.

Caleb is joined by Dakoda and Dalton Armstrong. The trio started the race last year.

It would great to see a first-time winner at the Little 500, and there are three drivers from Madison County hoping to accomplish that feat.

Travis Welpott, Jake McElfresh and Doug Fitzwater are all hoping to make the starting field and maybe grab the brass ring.


It was only fitting Graham Rahal was named to fill in at the Indianapolis 500 for injured driver Stefan Wilson.

Wilson was injured in the first incident at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this month after contact with Katherine Legge.

Rahal was bumped from the starting field by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate Jack Harvey on Sunday.

Rahal is a former teammate of Wilson's and was the logical choice to fill the seat.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.