Three’s A Charm For Kody Swanson

Kody Swanson (4) races under Bobby Santos during the Little 500 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway. (David Nearpass photo)
Kody Swanson (4) races under Bobby Santos during the Little 500 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway. (David Nearpass photo)

ANDERSON, Ind. — For the third time in four years California driver Kody Swanson pulled into victory lane in the 71st running of the Pay Less Little 500 at Anderson Speedway.

Swanson took the lead with an outside pass of his teammate Shane Hollingsworth on the back straight. The pass came after both drivers made their final pit stops on lap 354.

That was followed by the long green flag run of 74 laps.

The Gene Nolen Racing teammates led all but one lap with only Bobby Santos on the point when the Nolen teammates pitted together.

It was a dominating performance with Swanson leading 345 of the 500 laps.

“We had a great system and never gave up,” Swanson said in the winner’s circle. “Traffic is always tough to work through because you’re always racing someone.

“This is a marvelous team,” he continued. “We had the two fastest cars on the track. It doesn’t get any better.”

Santos said his team work hard all week and provided him with a great car.

“I want a win,” he said of the Little 500. “It’s disappointing because we had a fast car all night and this is a great race.”

Wilson said for his team it was a return to form for the team which has struggled in other forms of racing.

“We didn’t have our best car,” he said, “we were just a little off.”

Swanson led the first 186 laps from the pole position and his teammate took the lead when Swanson pitted.

Kody Swanson (David Nearpass photo)
Kody Swanson (David Nearpass photo)

Years ago, legendary car builder Glen Niebel dominated the Little 500 with V-6 power under the hood and the Nolen cars were both running with V-6 engines.

Santos came home in second followed by Jacob Wilson, Hollingsworth and Chris Windom.

Missisippi driver Joey Schmidt claimed rookie of the year honors with a seventh-place finish.

Following the first round of pit stops Swanson moved into second by passing Bobby Santos on lap 296 and closed on Hollingsworth.

Hollingsworth was able to hold off Swanson until lap 326 when the pass for the lead was made on the back straight with a lapped car coming into play.

The race was one of attrition with only 18 of the 33 starters running at the halfway point.

Several incidents took out expected contenders through contact with other cars and the retaining walls.

Tyler Roahrig, Kyle Hamilton, Aaron Pierce, Shane Cottle and Caleb Armstrong were all eliminated through incidents before 200 laps were completed.

The finish:

1) Kody Swanson; 2) Bobby Santos; 3) Jacob Wilson; 4) Shane Hollingsworth; 5) Chris Windom; 6) Brian Gerster; 7) Joey Schmidt; 8) Mickey Kempgens; 9) Travis Welpott; 10) Jimmy McCune; 11) Chris Neuenschwander; 12) Nick Hamilton; 13) Brian Vaughn; 14) Scotty Hampton; 15) Tony Main; 16) Donnie Adams; 17) Shane Butler; 18) Johnny Gilbertson; 19) Eric Gordon; 20) Kyle O’Gara; 21) John Inman; 22) Chris Jagger; 23) Kyle Hamilton; 24) Aaron Pierce; 25) Brian Tyler; 26) Tyler Roahrig; 27) Ken Schrader; 28) Trey Osborne; 29) Justin Grant; 30) Billy Wease; 31) Jeff Bloom; 32) Shane Cottle; 33) Caleb Armstrong