Little 500 Steeped with Tradition

Since the inaugural Little 500 in 1949, the biggest pavement Sprint Car race in the world has been steeped in tradition.  Closely connected with the Indianapolis 500 held just 40 miles down the road at Indianapolis Motor Speedway the day after the Little 500, the two races share many traditions.

The traditions begin with the driver’s meeting the day of the Little 500.  The meeting is open to the public, which is rare for most racetracks, and has become a tradition at Anderson Speedway over the past decade. Fans are able to listen in as their favorite drivers receive instruction on the grueling feat they are about to embark on.

With seats encompassing the entirety of Anderson Speedway’s ¼ mile oval, race fans will get an opportunity to see the drivers up close during driver intros as they are paraded around the track in trucks after being introduced.  That is preceded by pre-race ceremonies, which includes the singing of Back Home Again in Indiana and the playing of Taps. A tradition that has become well known at both the Indy 500, Little 500, and other Memorial Day Weekend events.

Chris Neuenschwander pits during the 2023 Little 500 – Jack Kessler Photo

Eleven rows of three non-wing sprint cars, another correlating tradition, then take the green flag for 500 laps around the ¼-mile, where the action never stops.  Leaders reach lapped traffic in a mere few laps, and they must navigate it all while racing for the lead up front.

Unique to the Little 500 in Sprint Car racing is the use of live pit stops.  Each team must make two pit stops during the race – one before lap 250 and a second stop anytime during race.  Races have been won and lost on pit road, as a few seconds can be the difference between coming out the leader and coming out a lap down.  It’s not uncommon to see a Sprint Car being pushed off on the apron while cars buzz by on the outside under green.

Just like in Indianapolis, a colorful wreath to drape around their shoulder and an ice-cold glass of milk from Prairie Farms awaits the winner of the Little 500 in victory lane.  A champion’s trophy with every winner’s name forever engraved into it is then presented to the winner.

We now sit less than two weeks away from the 76th Annual Little 500 Presented By UAW with three days of on-track activity leading up to the biggest pavement Sprint Car race in the world. The 76th Annual Little 500 presented by UAW will be held on Saturday, May 25th at 8:00pm. Tickets for the event are available now and are reserved seating only. All tickets are $45 and can be purchased online HERE or by calling Anderson Speedway Monday through Friday from 10am-4pm. The event will also be streamed live on DIRTVision. For more information on the Little 500, visit us at and on Facebook, Instagram, and X.

  • Story by Koty Geyer