The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Auto Racing

May 23, 2014

Smith returning to Little 500 after 35 years

Sprint car classic runs tonight

ANDERSON — Jimmy Carter was president, a gallon of gas cost 90 cents, and “My Sharona” by The Knack was the top song in 1979, which was also the last time Danny Smith competed in the Pay Less Little 500.

Smith, 57, is returning to Anderson Speedway to drive the Mike Blake-owned sprint car in tonight’s Little 500 classic at the Anderson Speedway.

The Indianapolis driver was named rookie of the race in 1975 when he finished third. Smith started on the inside of the front row for the 1978 race, leading the first 19 laps before his night ended in an accident.

He was the co-winner in 1979 with Wayne Reutimann.

“I had run 400 laps in my car and it blew up,” Smith recalled of the 1979 race. “Wayne crashed and they hauled him to the hospital, I hopped in and finished the final 10 laps.”

Smith said that during his first year at Anderson Speedway in 1975 he was supposed to be graduating from high school.

“They threw a cap and gown on me here, so I graduated at Anderson Speedway. Still trying to learn ever since,” he said with a laugh.

After the 1979 race, Smith started racing on dirt with the World of Outlaws and All Stars tour.

“I’ve always had a special place for the 500 in my heart and every year said I was going to do it,” Smith said. “This year I did it.

“Back in the day it was the biggest race in the United States and it still is for pavement sprint car racing,” he said. “It’s still a unique event.”

Smith planned to build his own car for the Little 500, but when that wasn’t going to happen he contacted veteran car owner BIake.

“It’s a big, unique event, glad to be back and seeing people I haven’t for a long time,” he said. “This race is a big part of my history to be a co-winner and finish third. I wanted to come do it one more time before I got too old.”

Text Only
Auto Racing
  • ken de la Bastide mug Ken de la Bastide: Allmendinger makes Chase field

    Lost in the media furor surrounding Tony Stewart last weekend was the fact that A.J. Almendinger qualified for the Sprint Cup chase for the championship.

    August 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Speedway announces changes to races Anderson Speedway officials have announced changes to the racing programs on Oct. 4 and 11, along with the addition of an event on Oct. 25.

    August 19, 2014

  • Pierce dominates winged sprint action Daleville’s Aaron Pierce used a fast race car and lots of patience late in the race to win the winged sprint car feature at Anderson Speedway on Saturday.

    August 17, 2014

  • Winged sprint cars return to Anderson Speedway Anderson Speedway returns to racing action Saturday with the second appearance from the Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series. The NASH FM ThunderCars and Front Wheel Drives Oval divisions will also be part of the racing program.

    August 15, 2014

  • Ken de la Bastide: Tragedy should lead to changes Since I learned last weekend of the tragic accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. at a race track in upstate New York, I’ve been thinking of the impact it would have on auto racing.

    August 13, 2014

  • 1115 Stewart.jpg NASCAR's Tony Stewart hits, kills driver on NY track

    NASCAR driver Tony Stewart struck and killed a sprint car driver who had climbed from his car and was on the track trying to confront Stewart during a race in upstate New York on Saturday night.

    August 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPT - HB0811 - Speedway art Tunny claims National Crown Ben Tunny is no stranger to winning at Anderson Speedway, adding the 65th running of the National Crown to his resume Saturday.

    August 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ken de la Bastide: National Crown in spotlight This Saturday marks the 65th running of the National Crown, acknowledged as the longest continuous stock car race in America. The Southern 500 at Darlington Speedway also started in 1950, but that race came to an end in 2004.

    August 6, 2014

  • Burge inherits Street Stock victory Dustin Burge inherited the lead with 15 laps remaining and went on to win his first Champion Racing Association Street Stock feature of the year.

    August 3, 2014

  • SPL - PT072314 - PT Ken de la Bastide column - column sig Ken de la Bastide: Good racing across the board

    This past weekend I got to witness four pretty good races at three different venues in central Indiana, none of them disappointed.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

Latest Racing News