ANDERSON — There is a new rivalry developing at the annual Pay Less Little 500 at Anderson Speedway with Jacob Wilson right now holding an advantage over Shane Cottle.
Last year Wilson and Cottle battled for the victory with three other drivers running on the lead lap. Cottle, the cagey veteran from Kokomo, deked Wilson in the high and low grooves with 10 laps remaining.
That duel ended when Cottle lost an engine in his Contos Racing sprint car with four laps remaining. Wilson went on to record the win over Jojo Helberg.
The rivalry was renewed Saturday when Wilson and Cottle swapped the lead three times in the final 300 laps before one of the largest crowds in recent years at the local speed plant.
Cottle took the lead on Lap 209 when Jerry Coons Jr. pitted and led through the 327th circuit. Following a round of stops by both leaders, Cottle was running out front chased closely by Wilson.
Before it could be a repeat of the 2013 finish, Cottle lost an engine on Lap 387, giving Wilson the lead and his second consecutive victory.
“It was shaping up to be another heck of a battle,” Wilson said of his racing with Cottle. “One of these years, we’re going to race to the finish.”
Wilson’s effort this year at the Little 500 was bolstered by nine-time Little 500 winner Eric Gordon, who was serving as his spotter for the race.
“Eric won five in a row,” Wilson said. “I’m working on two in a row, which is very special. I now have an opportunity to go after his record.”
Pole-sitter Bryan Clauson took the lead on Lap 44 when early leader Aaron Pierce tangled with a lapped car.
Clauson led until Lap 123 when he was involved in an incident with Tom Paterson in Turn 2. The two cars spun with Paterson climbing over the front of Clauson’s car.