LITTLE 500 NOTES: Mixed Luck For Former Winners

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LITTLE 500 NOTES: Mixed
Eric Gordon (77) battles Scott Hampton Saturday night at Anderson Speedway. (Dallas Breeze photo)

ANDERSON, Ind. – Of the six former winners competing in the 72nd running of the Pay Less Little 500, only two were running at the finish.

Nine-time Little 500 winner Eric Gordon drove to a fifth-place finish after starting 22nd in the 33-car starting field Saturday at Anderson Speedway.

He was followed by former winner Brian Tyler in the finishing order after starting 20th; both drivers were two laps down to winner Bobby Santos III.

Defending race winner Kody Swanson led the first 140 laps and was running second on the lead lap behind Nolen Racing teammate Shane Hollingsworth when the engine turned sour on lap 424.

Kyle Hamilton was making a charge to get back on the lead lap on lap 283 when the lapped car of John Inman spun coming off turn four and Hamilton brushed the front end. That contact damaged the left front suspension.

An accident on lap 21 took out former winners Jacob Wilson and Jeff Bloom.

– Colorado driver Bryan Gossel making his first Little 500 start had planned to use three women on his pit crew.

Unfortunately for Gossel, his night ended on lap 48 with a broken rocker arm.

Cendi Gossel said she was going to be a multi-tasker on the pit crew from carrying tires to working the impact wrench.

“I never saw the Little 500,” she said prior to the race. “I’ve heard about it. A client of mine has been coming to the race for years and told me about it.”

Cendi said she knew the Little 500 was on her husband’s “bucket list”.

Michelle Landry was recruited to be a tire carrier, something she never did before.

“When they asked, I didn’t think they were serious,” she laughed.

– During the 72-year history of the Little 500 there has been several times when two members of the same family have started the race.

Up until this past week, the Butler family from Florida held the distinction of the only family to have three family members start the same event.

That mark was almost duplicated.

Dakoda and Caleb Armstrong both qualified for the Little 500 on Thursday. Dakoda’s brother Dalton climbed into a Jerry Powell-owned sprint car and qualified 20th on bump day.

Although he qualified the car, Dalton Armstrong was replaced behind the wheel for the race by Christian Koehler. Dalton worked as the spotter for his brother, Dakoda.

In 2007, father Stan Bulter was joined by his two sons Keith and Shane in the starting field. Stan led the way finishing 10th, Shane came home in 23rd and Keith placed 33rd.

– During the annual Little 500 Hall of Fame banquet Mark “Moe” McKeague was inducted.

McKeague worked as the mechanic for Marv Carman’s back to back Little 500 victories in 1982 and 1983.

He joins Carman, team owner Frank Bellairs and car builder Butch Dowker as Hall of Fame members.