The buzz of the crowd. The roar of the engines. The menagerie of colors. The faint scent of hot rubber and gasoline.
It must be late May in Indiana and time for the 500 auto race — the Little 500 at Anderson Speedway, that is.
Like its bigger brethren in the state’s capital, the Indianapolis 500, the Little 500 offers one of the greatest spectacles in racing. The track is smaller, the cars are smaller and the crowd is smaller. But the excitement is magnified.
At Anderson Speedway, virtually every seat affords a view of the entire track. As the sprint cars of the Little 500 thunder around the high banks, spectators can sense the power, the speed and the expertise of the drivers, up close and personal. If the whine of an Indy car is thrilling and distinctive, the rumble of sprint cars is no less so.
But the Little 500, like the big 500, is more than just a car race. The activities and events that accompany the Anderson race each year involve thousands, both local residents and visitors from the outside. Some bring their campers to the grounds of Anderson Speedway to make an extended weekend out of it. Others participate in community events throughout the week.
It all culminates in the race itself.
No, the Little 500 can’t rival the Indy 500 in scope and international appeal. But it aptly illustrates the power of a small community to do great things. When the green flag waves tonight for the 65th Little 500, that power will be palpable again.