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Rookie Earns Front Row Spot; Olson Hoping for a Clean Run


(May 28, 2011) –
Brian Olson, a Pay Less Little 500 rookie, will start his first classic from the outside of the front row after turning in a fantastic qualifying run on Thursday.

Olson, driving for car owner Jerry Powell, the 1970 rookie of the year in the Little 500, moved to Avon in 2006 from Puyallup, WA., and currently works as a fabricator for Bobby East.

“When we scuffed tires, we were running better,” Olson said on Friday. “I knew there was more in the car.”

Olson turned four laps at an average speed of 81.19 seconds which puts him alongside veteran drivers Brian Tyler and pole sitter Aaron Pierce.

“This is the first time I’ve been here in a sprint car,” he said. “We just put the car together over the winter. This is my first year racing on the pavement in a sprint car.”

Olson has raced at Anderson before in a midget and has scored a win in a regional USAC event.

“This will be a new experience,” he smiled. “I’m talking to some of the veterans about pit strategy and tires.”

Of the famous three wide start for the Little 500, Olson said he is just hoping to get through the first corner clean.

Olson has run distance races before in a midget during Turkey Night, a 100 lap affair, and 150-lap events in a stock car on the west coast.

“I think this place is cool,” he continued. “It’s a fun race track. It’s tough to pass here because it’s so tight.”

Olson said veteran drivers have told them there is a lot of “give and take” during the running of the Little 500.

“We want to stay close to the lead as we can and stay out of trouble,” he said. “Pit stops are new, we just hope not to make any mistakes.”

Powell said he is hoping that either Olson or fellow rookie driver Kevin Atkins can win the rookie of the year honors.

“Hopefully I can get a rookie of the race,” Powell said, “kind of carry on the tradition.”