Little 500 a family tradition

May 17—ANDERSON — Like many racing families, the tradition of competing in the Little 500 has been a part of the Adams family for more than three decades.

Donnie Adams competed in the Little 500 from 1990 through 1998 capturing the pole position in 1992 with career best finishes of third in both 1992 and 1996.

"I pretty much grew up around racing," Donnie Adams Jr. said. "I have a picture in my shop with my dad taken in 1992 after he won the Emge 50 and earned the pole position for the Little 500.

He said his father started racing midgets in 1987 and Adams Jr. started collecting quarters believing that was a way into quarter-midget racing.

"I always wanted to be a race car driver," he said. "The Little 500 is such a big event and Anderson Speedway is our home track."

Adams Jr. is looking to make his 13th start in the Little 500 after not competing for several years.

He started from the pole position in 2007 and had a career best third place finish in 2009.

"There is a lot of luck involved in the race," Adams said. "The race has changed a lot over the years. It used to be if you survived and were running at the end you could get a top three finish. Now you have to be on the lead lap to finish on the podium.

"When the race is over you think there is another 365 days before you go again," he laughed.

Adams said his daughters asked him when he would return to racing after he watched qualifying for the 2023 race.

"My oldest daughter asked why aren't you racing," he said.

Adams said he began preparing for his return to the Little 500 in January, starting exercising to be in shape to compete for 500 laps.

For the 2024 race, Adams has secured Cammack Station as a sponsor and will have former competitor Bryan Gerster as his spotter.

"A lot of the former team members are coming back and I have new tire changers for the race this year," Adams said.

"I'm looking forward to the race," he said. "I'm very happy with the car, and in practice we were close to the fast time of the April race.

Adams is hoping to lock into the starting field on pole day and is hoping for a front row starting spot.

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