Levi Jones
Levi Jones

From Anderson Speedway, David Sink Photo

ANDERSON, Ind. (May 27, 2010) – With another race waiting in the wings, Illinois driver Levi Jones was the first driver to make a qualifying attempt and it was good enough for the pole position.

Jones, driving for Tony Stewart Racing, turned the fastest lap of the day Thursday at 11.156 seconds and a four-lap time of 45.333 seconds to start from the inside of the front row for the 62nd running of the Pay Less Little 500 at Anderson Speedway on Saturday.

Jones left Anderson for a race in Terre Haute immediately after his qualifying run. It’s the first time Jones will start from the pole position after qualifying second for the 2004 race and finishing 15th.

Former Little 500 winner Chet Fillip was the 12th driver to take to the track and posted a four-lap time of 45.472 seconds and a quick lap of 11.289 seconds.

Shane Hollingsworth from Lafayette waved off his first qualifying attempt and later in the day posted a time of 45.410 seconds to claim the inside of the front row and knocking Fillip to the outside position.

Last year, Hollingsworth started from the outside of the front row and finished 20th.

Fillip in a car he designed and built before started from the same position in the 1991 race and finished eleventh.

“It’s a different car,” he said. “We changed a lot, including the frame and bodywork. The engine is the same.”

Under sunny skies and temperatures in the high 80s, Fillip said the track surface was a little greasy and slick.

“It has been a few years since I started upfront,” he said.

Eight-time Pay Less Little 500 champion Eric Gordon only managed to post the 20th fastest time on the day, outside the top 15 positions assured of a starting position in the race. It’s his worst starting spot in 19 starts in the Little 500.

“We were tight all day,” he said of his sprint car. “We’ll sit on our time. We’ll go back to the shop, work on the car and get it ready for Saturday.”

Gordon noted he has started in the back of the field and finished upfront before. In 1998 Gordon started 17th and went on to win the race and in 1999 started 16th and finished second.

“You have to be aggressive,” he said of started back in the field. “You don’t have the luxury of riding.”

Canadian Ryan Litt, California driver Tony Hunt and Warsaw driver Tony Elliott, the 2009 pole sitter, make up the second row.

Rookie driver Dave Baumgartner from Michigan failed to go to technical inspection following his qualifying run and was disqualified by race officials. His time would have been good enough for the 22nd starting position.

Four of 11 rookie of the year contenders qualified on Thursday among the fastest 33 drivers. The group was led by Scott Pierovich from California, 21st; Utah driver Ryan Burdett, 26th; Greenfield’s Scott Hampton, 28th, in the first time he raced a sprint car on pavement; and Chris Neuenschwander, New Haven, 29th .

A total of 47 teams entered the Little 500 with 38 drivers posting times on Thursday.

Second round qualifying to finalize the starting field for the Pay Less Little 500 is from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The Families Forever night at Anderson Speedway will feature racing in several divisions starting at 7 p.m. followed by a fireworks display.

Tickets are available for the historic 62nd Pay Less Little 500 at $27 for reserved seating. For more information, contact the Anderson Speedway Ticket Office at (765) 642-0206.

– www.andersonspeedway.com –