Race Weekend Central

The Little 500 Sets Multiple Firsts as Kody Swanson Wins

The path to the Indianapolis 500 used to be paved through the USAC ranks. While some drivers still climb to the top of the open wheel mountain via Midgets, Sprints and Silver Crown cars, it is not nearly as common as it used to be.

A current driver in the USAC ranks who could take the old fashioned route is Kody Swanson, who capped off a great three-day run in open wheel events with a win in the Little 500 at Anderson Speedway on Saturday night.

Swanson bested Dave Steele, Jerry Coons, Jr. , Kyle Hamilton, Bobby Santos, III and 27 others. The victory made Swanson the first driver to win both the Hoosier Hundred and Little 500 in the same week.

Caleb Armstrong started the race on the pole and looked to be poised for the win, but made contact with a slower car on the front straight and his night ended on the inside of turn 2 with damage.

The length of the race demands pit stops from the competitors, and the strategy for different teams resulted in some ebbs and flows of luck during the event. While several of the top cars pitted early in the event, Santos and Billy Wease pitted under a red flag on lap 206, which saved them a lap. But that decision also cost Santos because it was a red flag condition, so he should not have fueled the car. The result was a penalty that was enforced on the second stop for Santos, who went from the lead, and the only car on the lead lap, to a lap down, which is where he ultimately finished.

The first half of the race was filled with fits and stops, thanks to several cautions that included a red flag. An incident with Travis Welpott on the back straight caught up Donnie Adams, Jr. and Jacob Wilson. The resulting impact with the inside wall of the backstretch caused the temporary wall to topple over, and it knocked over two refueling rigs, necessitating the race stoppage.

Swanson inherited the lead from Armstrong when he had his difficulties on lap 472. He battled his way through lapped traffic while being heavily pressured by Steele over the final laps.

Swanson’s win is the first by a driver from California in the 68-year history of the event. Ironically, Tanner Swanson, Kody’s brother who won the previous night at Lucas Oil Raceway, was the first driver out with a part failure on lap 9.

1 69 Kody Swanson 500
2 33 Dave  Steele 500
3 3 Jerry Coons, Jr. 500
4 51 Kyle Hamilton 499
5 22 Bobby Santos III 498
6 41 Shane Cottle 496
7 12 Grant Galloway 495
8 55 Shane Butler 495
9 1 Davey  Hamilton Jr 495
10 26 Aaron Pierce 494
11 27 Brian Gerster 491
12 68 Mickey Kempgens 491
13 7 Caleb Armstrong 488
14 8 Chris Neuenschwander 487
15 94 Geoff Kaiser 480
16 18 Travis Welpott 478
17 74 Tony Main 470
18 71 Brian Vaughn 461
19 0 Doug Dietsch 448
20 88 Jimmy  McCune 381
21 45 Mark  Hall 369
22 57 Brad Wyatt 252
23 9 Billy Wease 243
24 87 Ryan Litt 242
25 4 Donnie Adams Jr. 196
26 7 Jacob  Wilson 196
27 59 Scotty Hampton 151
28 2 Jeff Bloom 150
29 5 Chris Windom 149
30 20 Shane Hollingsworth 122
31 44 Brian Tyler 63
32 35 Russ Gamester 27
33 99 Tanner Swanson 8

About the author

What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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