Donnie Adams Jr. Wins Pole for
59th Pay Less Little 500
By Ken De La Bastide
Click to View Round 1
might have been the longest two hours of Donnie Adams Jr.’s life as he waited to
learn whether or not he captured the pole position for Saturday’s 59th running
of the Pay Less Little 500 at Anderson Speedway.
After the two-hour qualifying session ended on Thursday, it was an emotional
scene on the front straight of the famed oval. Adams captured the pole position
for the Little 500 just four months after his father, long time racer Donnie
Adams died in an automobile accident.
The fastest 15 drivers are locked into the starting field with second round
qualifying set for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. today. Four former winners are assured of
starting spots and include defending race champion Brian Tyler, Eric Gordon,
Jeff Bloom and Chet Fillip.
Donnie Adams captured the pole position for the 1992 running of the Little 500.
The younger Adams was the second driver to attempt to qualify for the race, but
aborted the run after three laps in the 11.4 and 11.5 second range.
He went out for a second attempt two cars later and turned the first two laps at
11.318 seconds and a third at 11.285 seconds. Entering Turn three the sprint car
bobbled and went high, Adams decided not to take the time.
On his third and final qualifying attempt, Adams turned three laps in the
11.4-second range and one at 11.374 seconds. Adams four-lap time was 45.699
The time held up through 34 more qualifying attempts to place the Alexandria
resident on the inside of the front row.
“We were hoping for the front row,” Adams mother, Margaret said with tears
streaming down her face. “We didn’t even consider the pole. This is just so
emotional, I know Donnie had a hand in it.”
Margaret Adams said her son was disappointed after the second qualifying run
“That was a long two hours,” she said of the qualifying session. “When Donnie
won the pole here in 1992 it was the most exciting memory for me of anything.”
Adams was all smiles when posing for the traditional front row picture.
“I’m shocked,” he said. “I thought about my dad all day. He always told me that
one bad turn doesn’t hurt a good run. I’m glad it all worked out.”
Before the end of the qualifying session, Adams had to wait for veteran Jeff
Bloom to make his timed run. Bloom a 31-year veteran of the Little 500 has
started on the front row nine times.
Bloom’s four-lap time was 45.785 seconds, just eight-hundredths off the pole
position. In typical Bloom fashion, he was one of the last cars to take to the
“I’ve only turned five hot laps here over two days before qualifying,” Bloom
said. “The first lap felt really good and then I drove it too deep into Turn
three. I calmed back down for the final two laps.
“I don’t like to go out first,” he said. “The car sits on the track and the
motor cools down. I leave it plugged into the heater and when the line goes down
I make my run.”
Track conditions were good despite the fact that temperatures were in the high
80s, Bloom said.
California driver Tim Barber will start on the outside of the front row after
posting a time of 45.893 seconds.
“We thought we posted the seventh fastest time,” Barber said. “We were happy to
be in the top ten. It is always better to start up front here.”
Activities for the 59th Pay Less Little 500 continue on Friday afternoon, May
25, with the 33-car field being set with the second round of qualifications.
Later that night, the Biolife Plasma Services / Families Forever Ministries $2
Night will take place. The WLBC/MAX Friday Night Summer Series will feature
Lampco Federal Credit Union Street Stocks, ThunderCars along with Chappy’s Rent
to Own Front Wheel Drives in Oval and Figure 8 action. An awesome fireworks show
follows the racing program.
On Saturday, May 26, the 59th Pay Less Little 500 green flag waves at 8 p.m.
Tickets are available for the legendary 59th Pay Less Little 500 at $27 for
reserved seating. For more information, contact the Anderson Speedway Ticket
Office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For additional information contact
Anderson Speedway at (765) 642-0206.