Donnie Adams Jr. Wins Pole for 59th Pay Less Little 500

By Ken De La Bastide

Click to View Round 1 Qualifying Results

It 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 seconds.

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 bobble.

“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 track.

“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.