May in Anderson means Little 500

Apr. 25—ANDERSON — The month of May always means racing, and in Anderson and Madison County, it also kicks off the festival season.

The Little 500 Festival is marking its 37th year to coincide with the 76th running of the Little 500 at Anderson Speedway.

Festival activities start on May 15 and conclude with Pole Day at Anderson Speedway on May 23, Bump Day on May 24 and the race on May 25.

Jill Jackson Wednesday noted during a press conference at the Union Building that the festival has generated more than $4 million for local charities.

"May is always an exciting time in our community," Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said. "With the festival there are a lot of events coming up. The full month will be a lot of fun."

Broderick encouraged people who have never attended the Little 500 to take the opportunity to watch 33 sprint cars compete on the high-banked quarter-mile oval for 500 laps.

"It's amazing to watch," he said.

Clayton Whitson, president and CEO of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, thanked Anderson Speedway for its continued commitment to Madison County.

"There are millions of dollars the race brings into Madison County," he said. "Anderson Speedway believes in Anderson and Madison County."

Maureen Lambert with the Visitor's Bureau said the Little 500 has an economic impact and means so much to Madison County.

During the press conference, the queen and princess for the Festival and the race were introduced.

Queen Allie Clark said she can't wait to see all the events that will be taking place in Madison County.

Princess Rylie Kellams said she was excited to be a part of the festival.

Both are students at Alexandria-Monroe High School and neither has ever been to the Little 500.

Rick Dawson, owner of Anderson Speedway, said the race has an impact on the track and the community.

He said the host hotels are booked for the weekend of the Little 500.

"I travel to race tracks around the country," Dawson said. "Everyone knows Anderson and Anderson Speedway."

Ohio native Jack Macenko will be seeking his first start in the Little 500 and was rookie of the year for the 500 Sprint Car Tour.

"How cool it was to watch everything in person last year," he said. "We made the correct decision to wait a year and get more experience."

Dakoda Armstrong is a veteran of the race and has a career best second place showing. He won the Glen Niebel Classic at the track earlier this month.

"The 500 is a different animal than other races," he said. "We've been knocking on the door and have a car capable of winning."

Armstrong said it's an event people have to experience at least once.

"There is a lot of history and I really want my name on the trophy," he said.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.