ANDERSON, Ind. – Three drivers were bumped from the starting field and then found enough speed to make the grid for Saturday’s 71st running of the Pay Less Little 500.
Bobby Santos set the pace during Bump Day on Friday at Anderson Speedway, after not posting a time on Thursday.
Santos was the first car out and turned four laps at an average speed of 78.12 miles per hour. He will start 16th on Saturday night.
The driver missing the field for the second consecutive year was Doug Dietsch, who was bumped out by rookie Joey Schmidt.
Dietsch’s first qualifying attempt found him turning 12-second laps, needing 11.77 to bump Chris Jagger.
With just minutes remaining, Dietsch made the final run of the day but was never able to turn laps quicker than 11.8-seconds.
Santos’s qualifying run bumped Florida driver Johnny Gilbertson from the field. But Gilbertson then found enough speed to knock Chris Jagger out of the field.
Jagger’s final run at 76.46 mph was good enough to bump Dietsch from the field.
“I’ve been in this position before,” Jagger said of having to make his way make into the field. “I was bumped out in 2002 and 2004 and only made it back in once.”
Jagger said on his first qualifying attempt the car was bouncy after changing the shock absorber set up.
“I got some help from Tom Brewer on air pressure and had more bite off the corner.”
Pierce’s team made wholesale changes on Schmidt’s car after the first qualifying attempt and went back to the car set up used in the morning practice session.
Defending Pay Less Little 500 winner Kody Swanson will lead the field to the green flag at 8 p.m. Saturday at Anderson Speedway.
Swanson is joined on the front row by 2017 race winner Kyle Hamilton and late model ace Tyler Roahrig.
Three rookies will be making their first Little 500. USAC veteran Justin Grant will start 26th, with Trey Osborne starting 30th and Schmidt in 31st.
Osborne’s car lost an engine during practice and the Mike Blake Racing team is making a change overnight.