Doran Binks Racing’s Kody Swanson led more than half of the 75th running of the Lucas Oil Little 500 Presented by UAW Saturday night at Anderson Speedway, and he finished on the podium in third place in the team’s Mission Foods No. 77 in the most prestigious asphalt sprint car race in the world.
Swanson, a native of Kingsburg, Calif., who now lives in Indianapolis, was never lower than fourth place during the 500-lap contest on Anderson’s quarter-mile, high-banked oval, which is famous for starting 33 sprint cars three abreast and being long enough to require two mandatory pit stops in each half of the race.
Swanson started on the pole after being the fastest qualifier in first-round qualifying last Thursday. He immediately took command, and led the first 194 laps with the No. 77, which is powered by a Binks Chevrolet V8.
He made his first pit stop working lap 195 under a caution flag, but didn’t lose a lap and only dropped to fourth place.
He moved from fourth to third on lap 280 when his brother, Tanner, dropped out while leading with an apparent motor issue.
He was running in third place behind defending winner Tyler Roahrig and Caleb Armstrong when he made his second pit stop under caution on lap 359, which dropped him back to fourth from laps 360 through 379.
He regained third on lap 380 when Armstrong had an issue in Turn 2 to bring out another yellow; second on lap 384 after Roahrig made a pit stop, and back into the lead on lap 385 when the eventual winner, rookie Jake Trainor, also pitted.
Swanson continued at the top of the scoreboard through lap 445. He dropped to second place on lap 446 when Trainor made what became the winning move.
Swanson remained in second place through lap 498, but he was dealing with some issues which allowed Caleb Armstong to get by him at the very end. Swanson was only 0.367 of a second behind Armstrong at the checkered.
“We started having steering issues about lap 180, and it just kept getting worse,” Swanson said afterwards. “With about 100 to go the power steering was pretty well gone, and it finally gave out with 10 laps to go. This is a tough race, and it’s all part of the battle!
“I’m grateful for everyone on the Doran Binks Racing team for all their hard work, and for the support of Mission Foods, Glenn Farms, and our other marketing partners.”
Trainor, Caleb Armstrong and Swanson were the only drivers to complete all 500 laps. Jacob Wilson finished fourth and Logan Seavey placed fifth; they were both three laps down. Dalton Armstrong, Derek Bischak and Roahrig were next, four laps down. Brady Bacon (six laps down) and Davey Hamilton Jr. (eight laps down) rounded out the top 10.
There was a yellow before the race started and unofficially 15 caution periods and one red flag during it.
Roahrig kept intense pressure on Swanson in the early going. It wasn’t until lap 88 that Swanson was able to build up a 1.842 second lead when Roahrig had some problems with lapped traffic, but it decreased again when Roahrig cleared them.
C .J. Leary ran second behind Swanson from lap 385 through lap 411 and he also kept the pressure up until he slowed with mechanical problems.
Swanson set his fastest lap of the race on lap 41 with a time of 11.445 seconds. It was the third-fastest lap run by anyone in the race.
In preliminary action Swanson won his fourth pole for this event on Thursday with a time of 43.614 seconds for four laps and the best one-lap time of 10.843 seconds. Roahrig qualified second, just 0.168 off Swanson’s time. Trainor, Emerson Axsom, Leary, Billy Wease, Shane Hollingsworth, Seavey, Kyle O’Gara and Bischak rounded out the top 10 in qualifying to set the 33-car field.
The Little 500 was streamed live by MAVTV for Flo Racing.
The Little 500 is part of the 500 Sprint Car Tour, but it’s a non-points-paying special event. The next race on that schedule is June 10 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich., followed by a race June 18 at Toledo (Ohio) Speedway.
The USAC Silver Crown series also has two races in June: June 17 at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway, and June 23 at Madison Int’l Speedway in Oregon, Wis.
For more information see DoranRacing.com.
Doran Racing PR