ANDERSON, Ind. – For the second consecutive year, the same three drivers will be leading the field at the start of the Pay Less Little 500 at Anderson Speedway.
Defending event winner Kody Swanson claimed his second consecutive Little 500 pole position during Thursday qualifying, with a four-lap average speed of 80.46 miles per hour.
Swanson will be seeking his third Little 500 victory and fourth in the past five years during the 72nd running of the crown jewel event on Saturday night.
Just as the front row was comprised of in 2019, Tyler Roahrig and Kyle Hamilton will start outside of Swanson. The only difference a year ago was that Hamilton earned the second starting spot in 2019.
A total of 34 cars made qualifying runs on Thursday, with an additional four cars expected to attempt to bump their way into the 33-car starting field Friday starting at 1:30 p.m.
Swanson made his qualifying run in the middle of the two-hour session.
“We were just trying to get ready,” he said. “We had a really good car at the end of practice. We focused on our car to make it the best we could.”
Swanson said the qualifying times before his run were what he expected.
He actually brushed the outside retaining wall on the front straight during his qualifying attempt.
“Tyler (Roahrig) went out just ahead of us,” Swanson said. “So I knew what the bar was set at.”
Starting on the front row is not a huge advantage because it’s a 500-lap race, he said.
“You’re not in the thick of things and you’re racing against guys you know,” Swanson said. “Just try to avoid anything unexpected.”
Roahrig, who has won the last three 125-lap sprint car races at Anderson Speedway, said it’s good anytime you start on the front row.
“I think going out a little later helped because there was more grip,” he said. “The track got faster throughout the day.”
Roahrig said a front row start is a bid advantage because it’s not necessary to run as hard at the start.
Hamilton was one of the first cars to qualify and said the team wanted to go out early.
“It was a chance to turn in some good laps,” he said. “It’s still a 500-lap race. Being up front helps because you’re racing against guys you know.”
Dakoda Armstrong, Brian Gerster and Chris Neuenschwander will start from the second row.
Angola’s Derek Bischak was the fastest of eight rookies and will start 11th.
Former winners Jacob Wilson, Jeff Bloom, Eric Gordon and Brian Tyler all qualified outside the top 15. Wilson posted the 19th-best time, while Bloom came in 20th and was followed by Gordon, with Tyler clocking in 25th.
The qualifying results:
1. Kody Swanson; 2. Tyler Roahrig; 3. Kyle Hamilton; 4. Dakoda Armstrong; 5. Brian Gerster; 6. Chris Neuenschwander; 7. Bobby Santos III; 8. Billy Wease; 9. Mickey Kempgens; 10. Caleb Armstrong; 11. Derek Bischak; 12. Shane Butler; 13. Aaron Pierce; 14. John Inman; 15. Jerry Coons Jr.; 16. Scott Hampton; 17. Kyle O’Gara; 18. Shane Hollingsworth; 19. Jacob Wilson; 20. Jeff Bloom; 21. Eric Gordon; 22. Russ Gamester; 23. Ken Schrader; 24. Cory Setser; 25. Brian Tyler; 26. Doug Dietsch; 27. Chris Jagger; 28. Johnny Gilbertson; 29. Doug Fitzwater; 30. Rob Keesling; 31. Justin Harper; 32. Tommy Nichols; 33. Bryan Gossel; 34. Bobby Komisarski.