ANDERSON, Ind. – It was a performance that may never be equaled again in Pay Less Little 500 history turned in by Nolen Racing.
The two-car team of race winner Kody Swanson and Shane Hollingsworth led 499 of the 500 laps.
When told his team led 499 laps, team owner Gene Nolen was amazed at the feat.
“I didn’t realize that,” he said. “It was an incredible team effort.”
Swanson winning for the third time in four years and giving Gene Nolen a second career victory led 345 of the 500 laps.
The only time a Nolen car wasn’t on the point was when both drivers made their final pit stops on lap 354.
Swanson’s incredible performance of three wins in four races equaled the mark set by Tom Cherry from 1952 to 1955.
The California native has now led a total of 671 laps in his Little 500 career which places him 15th on the all-time leader board.
Swanson now joins Jeff Bloom, Jim Childers and Darl Harrison as three-time winners at Anderson Speedway. He trails Tom Cherry with four wins, Bob Frey with five victories and Eric Gordon at the top of the list with nine wins.
Swanson and Hollingsworth waged a spirited battle for the lead from laps 276 to 326.
“We were racing pretty hard, there was some bumping and banging,” Hollingsworth said. “I wasn’t going to let him get by, because I knew he would drive away.
“Kody and Bobby (Santos) right now are the best pavement racers,” he said.
– Of the six former winners of the Pay Less Little 500 only two were running at the end.
Chris Windom, coming off three crashes in two days in USAC Silver Crown and IndyLights competition, was able to drive to a fifth place finish.
“I’m just looking to finish,” Windom said before the start of the Little 500.
Gordon’s bid for a 10th Little 500 victory came to an end on lap 222 with an engine failure and was credited with a 19th place finish.
Kyle Hamilton the 2017 champion tangled with Aaron Pierce on lap 154 while battling for third. He was able to complete another 11 circuits before retiring in 23rd with a suspension problem.
Three-time winner Jeff Bloom, making his record 41st start, retired with a mechanical problem in lap 61.
Shane Cottle’s night came to an end against the turn two outside retaining wall on lap 30.
– Mississippi driver Joey Schmidt, driving a team car of Aaron Pierce, earned rookie of the race honors with a seventh-place finish after starting 31st and having to bump his way back into the field on Friday.
Trey Osborne, a former Mel Kenyon Midget Series champion, finished 28th after losing a right front tire following a pit stop.
Justin Grant’s night ended on lap 78 after making contact with the turn two wall after slight contact with another competitor.