Story By Ken de la Bastide - Kokomo Tribune
Photo by David Sink
2013) - During the course of his 72
years, Jerry Powell has done a little bit of
everything and continues that trend.
Powell has owned a trucking business, raced
sprint cars, has his pilot’s license and is
now owner of a racing team. He is also a
tool and die maker and produces many parts
on the race cars.
He used to race Figure 8 cars at Anderson
Powell’s son, Dr. Jerry Powell II works in
Tipton and races a Class A dragster.
“My son had to move to Tipton for his work
and about 12 years ago we moved to Tipton
County,” he said.
Powell competed in the Pay Less Little 500;
the 65th running is set for Saturday at
Anderson Speedway, as both a driver and
He raced at the Little 500 from 1970 to 1972
before other interests took him out of the
“I was rookie of the year at the Little 500
in 1970,” Powell smiles in the put area at
the speedway on Thursday. “I was the first
alternate and someone didn’t show up. I
started 33rd and finished seventh.
“It was all luck,” he laughs. “I had no
power steering and was racing a Champ Car
that had a longer wheel base. I shouldn’t
have been out there, but I was.”
Powell became a car owner five years ago and
has a fleet of dirt and pavement sprint cars
in his shop located on Ind. 19 between
Tipton and Kokomo.
“I was sitting in the grandstands and said I
wouldn’t mind owning a car again,” he said.
Powell’s cars compete annually in the Little
500, the King’s Royal at Eldora Speedway in
Ohio and the bigger events at Kokomo and Gas
In the 2012 Little 500, Powell’s car
finished second with driver Billy Wease
winning rookie of the year honors.
This year Florida driver Dude Teate and
Crawfordville’s Sondi Eden will be behind
“I was down in Florida for sprint weeks and
met Dude for the first time,” Powell said.
“I asked him if he was so good a driver, why
he didn’t have a ride. He said he didn’t
The car Teate will be driving has a long and
storied history. Powell said it raced in the
Indianapolis 500 and was cut down into a
Champ Car, winning the Hoosier Hundred.
“Our getting together was an accident,” he
laughs about having Teate in his car. “I
hired Sondi (Eden) because I wanted a driver
with experience and someone who was
Powel and his wife of 52 years, Joanna,
finance the race teams.
‘I oversee everything,” he said of race day
activities, “and help when needed.”
Powell is retired from AT&T and Steel Parts
in Tipton and said he could be racing year
“A win in the Little 500 would mean
everything to me,” he said. “It might get me
into the Hall of Fame.”
That first race in the Little 500 remains
Powell’s best memory of the world’s richest
pavement sprint car race.
Tickets are available for the historic 65th
Pay Less Little 500 at $29 for reserved
seating. For more information, contact the
Anderson Speedway Ticket Office at (765)