The Herald Bulletin

May 24, 2013

Sheets bumps his way into Little 500

By Ken de la Bastide
CNHI News Service

ANDERSON, Ind. — All the drama on “bump day” came down to the final minutes as Anderson driver Jim Sheets made the starting field on Friday at Anderson Speedway as the last car on the track.

Sheets was bumped from the 33rd and final spot in the field for the 65th running of the Pay Less Little 500 tonight with less than 15 minutes remaining in qualifying.

He was bumped by Kyle Feeney, who had been bumped just minutes before by Fort Wayne rookie Kyle Henry.

Feeney turned four laps at an average speed of 75.42 miles per hour, good enough to make the field.

After Kevin Feeney failed to qualify, Sheets took the first of the two allowed runs on bump day. His times were barely fast enough to bump Brandon Whited, but he waved off the effort after three laps.

Sheets then turned four laps at an average speed of 75.74 mph, which made Whited the first alternate. While the was action taking place on the track, Whited’s engine was dismantled and he never made an attempt to get back into the field.

His speed was the fastest of the day and earned Sheets $250 for the effort.

“I was hoping to get bumped,” Sheets said after the qualifying run. “I thought we would qualify better than that.”

Sheets said the crew was prepared to make another run if he was bumped with a new set of tires on the sprint car.

“I really need to thank Aaron Pierce who worked with us on the car for several hours,” he said.

Earlier in the qualifying session Sondi Eden qualified for the Little 500 with a four-lap average speed of 75.53 mph to secure a position in the field.

“It’s been a tough week,” Eden said. “We had no practice the first two days and the car had no brakes. We still don’t have the brakes fixed, but the crew made the car stable. We need to get the brakes fixed for the race.

“The main thing is we’re in the show,” she said. “I was confident we could make the race because our practice times today (Friday) were decent. We only had one set of tires, so I was a little nervous about the heat cycles on them.”

Joining Sheets and Eden in the field on Friday were Kyle Henry and Kevin Feeney. Both Henry and Feeney were bumped from the field but were able to make successful qualifying runs.

It was a tough day for several drivers. Cory Setser made contact with the outside retaining wall during practice and Tom Patterson hit the turn four wall on his qualifying attempt.

Geoff Kaiser’s car suffered significant damage when it tangled with a push truck during practice.