By: Dave Sink

It’s been nineteen years since Scotty Adema made his one and only Little 500 start. It was a race of mixed emotions for the Floridian. The Little 500 rookie was making his first non-winged pavement sprint car start at the 2004 race. He looked impressive and found himself running in the top ten just short of the halfway point.

On lap 215, a car exiting the pit area entered the track in turn one and made contact with Adema and eliminated him from the race, ultimately finishing twenty-second. It was disappointing but Adema vowed to return with more experience and equipment capable of winning the race.

“I qualified twenty-ninth that year. The late Don Rehm was my crew chief. To say he was my crew chief that year was really cool. He was really good with short pitting. Coming in and getting tires early. As I remember, somebody came out of the pit exit and did not keep their car below the white line to blend in with the rest of the field. His arms were tired, and he went straight up the track, hit my nerf bar, and both of us slammed into the fence”.

Adema will make his Little 500 return this year after a nineteen-year hiatus. Adema recently explained his reasoning for returning after such a long time. “When I first went to the race I didn’t quite get the magnitude of how big this race actually was, and the A game everybody brings to it” explained Adema.”In 2004, when we showed up, that was actually my first attempt to ever run a non-winged race, period. I had never driven a non-winged pavement sprint car until the first practice session”. 

“I felt fortunate to make the race that year with an exotic one-off car built by Keith Butler at the time. I think there were over sixty entrants that year. To qualify twenty-ninth with one of only two 360’s that year, we were alright. We were competitive, but we were not contenders. That really got me revved up. I said the next time I go back to the Little 500, I wana go back with a realistic chance to win”.

“Over the years I’ve found more opportunities to run a non-winged car with the Central Florida Non-Wing Sprints, the Checkered Flag Series, and the Florida 400.  I took advantage of every opportunity I had to run non winged races and hone our skills over the years. This is my twenty-third or fourth year in sprint cars. I feel like I have the equipment to run up front. AP Driver Development has come on board and is helping us get situated set-up wise. I’ve since won numerous non-wing races at Citrus County Speedway and Punta Gorda Speedway over the years”.

“ I have a BEAST chassis I’ve had for a while with this race in mind. Teddy Nelson is building me a motor specifically for this race. I feel like I’m going there with a realistic chance to be a contender”.

The forty-four-year-old Fort Meyers native explains he hasn’t run a lot of the quarter-mile bullrings over the years but doesn’t think that will hurt his chances at a solid 2023 Little 500 run.

Adema explained what he hopes to achieve and have a successful Little 500 return this year. “I wanna qualify in the top fifteen and lock it into the field on the first day. I wanna be a contender. I don’t wanna be a rider. You have to have luck. I feel like I’ve used up all my bad luck the past few years. I feel like we’re bringing a super competitive piece to the race this year.  I feel like with a stroke of luck we could be in the top five somewhere” concluded Adema.