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Pierce to Lead 63rd Pay Less Little 500 Field; Bloom Bumps Way Into Field

Click to View:  Round 1 Qualifying Results - Round 2 Qualifying Results - Staring Lineup


(May 26, 2011) – There was plenty of drama surrounding three-time Pay Less Little 500 champion Jeff Bloom bumping his way into the field as the final car of the day.
Bloom, who made the field for his 35th time, had to accomplish the feat in a borrowed car from the team of Jacob Wilson.

Bloom, had been in the starting field for 29 consecutive races and 35 overall, battled an ill-handling race car on during first day qualifying and during his first attempt on Friday.

On his final attempt in his primary car Thursday to make the field, Bloom’s first lap was 12.811-seconds. He then turned the final three laps in the 11.3 to 11.5 second range.

Bloom rolled a back-up car and with fans yelling encouragement, he made one last chance at making the race. He turned four laps at 78 mph to become the first alternate.

Determined to make his 35th start, Bloom then climbed into a back-up car provided by Jacob Wilson’s team for a final try, rolling to the qualifying line with 30-seconds remaining.

Bloom ran three laps without a transponder to record his lap times and was given one final run. He than ran four laps at 78.4 mph and will start 29th.

Throughout Bloom’s attempt to make the field rookie Kyle Wiegard, sat in his Mike Blake owned car riding the bubble. After being bumped Wiegard was given one chance to make the field, but didn’t complete his run.

While it was a dramatic day for Bloom, that wasn’t the case for Alexandria driver Donnie Adams Jr.

Adams had mechanical problems on Thursday and the team spent the night working on the car trying to find cause of the misfire.

“We don’t know what was wrong,” he said. “We changed a lot of stuff and put it on the dynometer this morning. We’ll be okay.”

Adams turned in the fastest time of the second day at 80.79 miles per hour and will start 16th in his sixth Little 500.

The 33-drivers in the fastest field ever assembled for a Pay Less Little 500 will be competing for a total purse of $115,050 with the winner guaranteed a minimum of $25,000.

Gates at Anderson Speedway open at 4 p.m. with an autograph session scheduled for 6 p.m., on-track activities at 7 p.m. and the start of the race at 8 p.m.

Daleville driver Aaron Pierce captured his second pole position for the Little 500 by breaking both the one and four lap averages, records that stood for more than a decade.

Tony Hunt was the first driver to record a 10-second lap at Anderson Speedway on Saturday.

“I was really surprised it didn‘t hold up,” Hunt said Friday. “We’re happy to be back at Anderson. We didn’t have any practice here, so I was running conservatively.”

Hunt is using a softer compound Hoosier Tire and believes the tire will hold up during the race.

Brian Tyler, briefly had the four-lap record, but figured someone would beat it during the day.
“Everyone was running quick,” he said. “It was the fastest I ran all week. I thought it was possible, but I knew there were two or three guys capable of laying down some good laps.”

With a softer tire and ideal weather conditions on Thursday, Tyler said it was a driver’s “dream”.

“We’ll have to see if the (softer) tire lasts,” Tyler said. “We’ll see what happens on the first run and than decide what to do.”

Three drivers found enough speed on Friday to bump their way into a top 15 starting spot led by Fishers’ veteran Brian Gerster, who will start seventh, Florida driver Troy DeCaire, driving with a broken hand, starting eighth and Michigan driver Dave Baumgartner, who will start 13th .

Utah driver Ryan Burdett, the 2010 rookie of the year, got bumped by Chad Goff and then immediately went out and bumped Goff from the field. Burdett turned the four laps at an average of 79.21 mph, good for 23rd in the starting field.

Rookie Kevin Atkins gave car owner Jerry Powell two cars in the Little 500 field. Powell, the 1970 rookie of the year at the Pay Less Little 500, has rookie Brian Olson starting on the front row and Atkins will start 20th.

Atkins was bumped early in qualifying by rookie Jeff Rankin and then went out and turned four laps at an average of 79.49 mph.

Tickets are available for the historic 63rd Pay Less Little 500 at $28 for reserved seating. For more information, contact the Anderson Speedway Ticket Office at (765) 642-0206.

Tickets are available for the historic 63rd Pay Less Little 500 at $28 for reserved seating. For more information, contact the Anderson Speedway Ticket Office at (765) 642-0206.