‘A different atmosphere:’ The little 500 fans appreciate the common camping atmosphere | Local News
ANDERSON – The main show at Anderson Speedway on Saturday will be the 73rd annual Pay Less Little 500.
But in the week leading up to the race, an integral part of the experience of one of the city’s flagship events could be found on a large grass-covered area adjacent to the main parking lot. There, dozens of campers and RVs were parked, many of them with flags fluttering in the breeze, and racing fans from across the country lounging in folding chairs awaiting the next practice session.
With the race and the Little 500 Festival returning to mostly normal times this year after the pandemic, fans were enjoying a more typical atmosphere in the days leading up to the green flag waving.
“You can definitely tell the vibe is definitely different this year,” Kevin Kile, who arrived from Bunker Hill on Tuesday to help his friend, Tom Brewer – who owns the # 64 car driven by Jerry Coons, Jr. – said in getting ready for the race. “There was still a good turnout last year, and the campground for our first experience was great, amazing. They have great service here for everyone. Everyone is super nice.
Sue Gangwer and her husband made the trip from Goshen to what she believes to be the couple’s 35th Little 500. The couple’s shared passion for racing, as well as the hospitality of the track officials are two things that keep them coming back.
“My husband has always been in the running,” Gangwer said. “From 15 to 30 years old, he went karting. “It has always been a race of one kind or another. But the Little 500 is the big deal. That’s why we come every year.
Gangwer said she was especially grateful this week to visit Anderson Speedway owner Rick Dawson and other track officials, who have made a habit of circulating the campsite area to greet campers. all week long.
“For the officials to come and talk to us as campers and visitors is great,” she said. “It shows us that they really care about the people who come. It makes a difference to know that they are interested and care about campers.
Kile said the campsite essentially became its own community over the course of the week, as racing fans mingled and found common interests among activities on the track.
“Everyone is here for the same thing, so nobody has a lot of disagreement before the race is over or once the race starts,” Kile said. “It’s cool to get away and go out, and you’re surrounded by people who all love sports.
“There are only a few times a year that you can show up on a racetrack and stay there for a week and have like-minded people around you.”
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