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Little 500 fans treasure the people they meet at the race

May 23—ANDERSON — For visitors from far away and right here in Anderson, the week of the Little 500 means sharing a love of racing and companionship with fellow campers.

Annette Estelle and her husband, Dan, make Anderson Speedway an annual stop from their home in Arizona.

The couple attended a USAC race Tuesday in Terre Haute and plans to attend races in Indianapolis and Kokomo this week.

"We've been coming four or five years," she said. "We spend time here.

"The comradery," Annette said of spending the week at Anderson Speedway. "The gentleman that runs the track has the biggest heart, kind and most thoughtful person we've met in a very long time.

"There is a friendliness here, everybody waves," she said. "I don't know if that's a Midwest or racer thing, but it's a really comfortable place to be."

Dan said he is a big race fan.

"You have to come at least once," he said of the Little 500. "This is the best part right here, talking to people, and in some ways the race is secondary. We see the same people year after year."

Dan said the start gets you to hold your breath.

"There is more racing in Indiana than anywhere else," he said.

Jimmy Stevens is an Anderson resident that camps at Anderson Speedway during Little 500 week.

Stevens said he has been attending the Little 500 for several years.

"Just relax, hook up with friends we've met," he said. "We've been camping here for six years and ready for a week of racing. Time off from work."

Mary Burge was busy Wednesday cooking breakfast at the campsite.

"Just enjoy coming out to spend time with the fans and race cars," she said. "Gotta love those sprint cars."

Larry Richardson is an Anderson resident who has been attending the race for 14 years.

"The whole family comes out," he said. "We do big dinners every night and sit back and wait for the race.

"It was amazing," Richardson said of his first Little 500. "I couldn't picture 33 cars on that track. It's the best race ever."

Richardson said a friend who had attended every Little 500 encouraged him to attend his first race.

Gene Broglis has been traveling from Toledo, Ohio, for several years to attend the Little 500.

"I heard a lot about it," he said of his first trip to Anderson Speedway. "I have the time to come and will continue to come for several years."

Broglis said they park in the same space every year and meet the same people.

"I like everything up to the start," he said. "Then it's a long, long race."

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