41 CARS TAKE TIMES DURING FIRST ROUND QUALIFYING
ANDERSON, Ind. (May 21, 2009) – Warsaw’s Tony Elliott served notice that he will be a force to be reckoned with during the 61st running of the Pay Less Little 500 this Saturday at Anderson Speedway.
Elliott, the runner-up to Kokomo’s Shane Cottle last year, captured his first pole position in 16 appearances in the Little 500 on Thursday.
Elliott in the Gene Nolen Racing entry was the 18th car to make a qualifying run and his four-lap time of 45.271 stood up for the pole position. Elliott also turned the two fastest laps of the day at 11.221 and 11.243 seconds.
Florida driver Dave Steele, the 1996 race winner, will start from the middle of the front row with a four-lap time of 45.394 and Elliott’s teammate rookie Shane Hollingsworth grabbed the outside spot on the front row with a time of 45.503.
“I hope this is an omen,” Elliott said of his pole run. “The track was great. We made some changes at the end and they worked. The first two laps were good but then the car got tight and it wouldn’t turn as good in the corners.”
Elliott said it was great to finally win a pole position for the Little 500.
“We had some good runs in the past, but this car worked,” he said. “I hope this is my turn,” Elliott said of a Little 500 win.
Steele, a six-time pole winner, said his car was better qualifying than it was in practice.
“I would have liked to have won the pole, but we got beat a little,” he said. “It’s after 500 laps that counts.”
Hollingsworth said the team had an engine let go during practice on Tuesday and the crew worked all night making repairs.
“It’s running a little better,” he said, “we had a lot of hurdles to jump. “I didn’t expect to be here,” Hollingsworth said of his front row starting spot. “I’m excited right now. I know there are a lot of drivers with more experience behind me. Gene (Nolen) has been here a lot and that should help.”
Hollingsworth said a top ten or top five finish would be a successful event for the team.
“I’ve run a lot of Silver Crown races,” he continued. “There are races and events. This is an event.”
Elliott, Steele and Hollingsworth all made qualifying runs early in the two-hour session as it appeared the track got slick in the hot afternoon sun.
Eight-time Little 500 winner Eric Gordon was one of the last cars to take a qualifying time and will start 13TH. Three-time champion Jeff Bloom battled an ill-handling race car and qualified 27th.
Florida’s Troy Decaire claimed the 15th position on the next to last qualifying run of the day knocking Canadian driver Ryan Litt from a locked in position for the $123,000 Pay Less Little 500.
Second round qualifying to fill the 33-car field will take place today from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Anderson Speedway. Qualifying action will be followed by the Families Forever Ministries Night starting at 7 p.m. with racing action in the Thunder Car, Front Wheel Drive oval and Figure-8 divisions. There is also a fireworks show.
The 61st running of the Pay Less Little 500 is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. on Saturday.
For additional information on Anderson Speedway, visit www.andersonspeedway.com or contact Anderson Speedway at (765) 642-0206.