Eric Gordon Wins Record-Tying Fifth Little 500

Eric Gordon of Indianapolis, Ind., became the second five-time winner of the famed PayLess/Delco Remy Little 500 Sprint Car classic Saturday night at the Anderson (Ind.) Speedway. He finished a lap ahead of the entire field after leading the final 152 laps of the 500-lap contest.

Gordon ties Bob Frey for the record number of wins in America's richest pavement-track Sprint race, which offered a total purse of $122,000-plus. Gordon's take was $36,180 and he led a total of 222 of the 500 laps around the 1/4-mile paved oval.

Gordon started from the center of the front row in the 33-car, 3-abreast lineup in his PayLess Supermarkets/Print Express Gaerte/J & J. He led the first 69 laps before yielding to Dave Steele, the pole starter.

Eric's initial pit stop around lap 170 resulted in loss of a lap to Steele, but on lap 293 Steele brushed the wall on the frontstretch attempting to get by Michael Lewis. On lap 349 Steele, with the race in hand, spun after Dave Osborn and Kevin Newton tangled in turn three. Steele tried to keep the engine running while spinning through the grass but stalled. He restarted but was a lap behind Gordon.

On lap 358 Gordon and second-place Tony Hunt pitted, along with Steele, but Steele got trapped behind Hunt and a pushtruck and when he re-entered the race he was two laps behind. On lap 369 Steele's car broke a front suspension and retired from competition, leaving Gordon and Hunt as the leaders.

Nine laps from the finish, Gordon got by Hunt to put him a lap down.

Hunt, USAC's 2001 Western Sprint Car Champion from Fair Oaks, Calif., finished second, while Michael Lewis of Noblesville, Ind. claimed the "Rookie of the Race" award with his third-place finish.

Rounding out the "top-10" were Gary Fedewa, Jason McCord, Brian Tyler, Tony Elliott, Bentley Warren, Troy Lowery and Denny England.

The race was stopped on the 46th lap when Bobby Smith of Camby, Ind. crashed in turn two and a fire ensued. There were no injuries but the race was halted for about 35 minutes.

Wendy Mathis, the Florida driver who became the second female in race history, finished 11th, one spot better that Kelly Braithwaite's 1984 finish.

For additional information contact Anderson Speedway at (765) 642-0206.