Jake Trainor Shocks the World with Little 500 Victory

Jack Trainor and the Matt Seymour Racing team after winning the 75th Little 500 at Anderson Speedway. (T.J. Buffenbarger photo)

By T.J. Buffenbarger

ANDERSON, Ind. (May 27, 2023) — 18 year old Jake Trainor made his first start in the Lucas Oil Little 500 presented by UAW a memorable one by picking up the feature victory. The win was the Medway, Massachusette’s driver’s second victory of the weekend backing up his feature win Friday night in the midget car division at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.

The victory was also the first Little 500 triumph for 26 year old car owner Matt Seymour, who’s family has a long history of owning short track open wheel cars.

Afterward Trainor was tired and amazed he was sitting in victory lane.

“This is my second start in a sprint car and my first time at Anderson,” said Trainor. “I just did everything I felt like I could have done to prepare for this race and I still felt like I was underprepared coming into it. don’t even know what to say. I’m so lost for words.”

Pole sitter Kody Swanson took the lead on the opening ap of the 2023 Little 500. Green flag action was short lived when Shawn Bonar spun into the inside wall on the opening lap. Bonar came back on track to make nine laps before retiring from the event. During that cation Brady Bacon made an unscheduled pit stop and lost a lap in the pits.

The second caution flag came out 24 laps later when Tony Main had engine issues at slowed on the track, ending his Little 500 effort.

After the caution Kody Swanson opened a 0.702 second advantage over two time and defending Little 500 champion Trainor, Tyler Roahrig, Emerson Axsom, and C.J. Leary/

Roahrig was able to close multiple times on Swanson during the early stages of the event, but as the leaders cleared slower traffic Kody Swanson could pull away in the open space.

The red flag appeared on lap 69 when Justin Harper and Isaac Chapple crashed in turn three. The stoppage was needed to fix the tire barrier in turn three.

On lap 98 Swanson had a 1.433 second lead erased when Brian Gerster brought out the caution flag by spinning in turn four. Gerster remained under power and was able to rejoin the field, but 24 laps later was caught up in an incident on the front stretch that took out several contenders including Gerster, Billy Wease, and Bobby Santos III.

Shane Hollingsworth used the stoppage to perform his first pit stop of the event with the Nolen Racing team. After the restart though the right front wheel came off and Hollingsworth slammed the wall between turns three and four. Hollingsworth exited the car under his own power but retired from the event.

Kody Swanson continued to lead the way and eventually with second place Roahrig opened a straightaway lead. Trainor regained third place from Axsom and closed in on the lead duo when the caution flag appeared on lap 191 when Axsom fell off the pace and went into the pit area.

Most of the leaders took advantage of this caution to make their first of two required pit stops which cycled Tanner Swanson into the lead. Tanner Swanson’s lead was short lived as Roahrig took the lead and pulled away from the field as Swanson battled with Caleb Armstrong for the runner up spot.

Tanner Swanson caught Roahrig in traffic and took the lead around the 219 lap mark when another caution appeared on lap 234 for oil laid down on the track.

After the restart Tanner Sawnson and Roahrig pulled away from the field to dice for the lead while Armstrong and Kody Swanson raced for third position further back in the field.

On lap 280 Tanner Swanson’s race came to an end when his car lost power, handing the lead to Roahrig. After the restart Roahrig felt pressure from Caleb Armstrong, who had moved into the second position. Just as the leaders were closing in on fourth and fifth place, the last two cars on the lead lap, the caution appeared on lap 337 for Bryan Gossel stopping in turn one.

Another caution on lap 348 setup the leaders to start taking their final pit stops, which Leary and Kody Swanson took advantage of. 32 laps later Armstrong slowed and brought out the caution, losing a lap in the pit area in the process. Roahrig and Trainor pitted during that caution which left Roahrig, Swanson, Leary, and Trainor as the last four cars on the lead lap.

That was short lived when Roahrig then had issues in the pit area, bringing out the caution flag, leaving three cars on the lead lap.

On lap 412 it was Leary’s turn to have mechanical issues as he slowed to bring out the caution flag, leaving only Swanson and Trainor on the lead lap. Swanson was starting to fight steering issues, and that is all Trainor needed to run him down in traffic and take the lead.

Trainor led the final 50 laps of the event including a caution with five laps to go for the biggest win of his young career. Caleb Armstrong rallied for second while Kody Swanson rounded out the podium.

The late caution helped Trainor, who was closing in on a large pack of slower cars when the yellow flag came out.

“I was glad that I had a clear track in front of me,” said Trainor. “I could see the second-place runner right before that caution came out and I knew I was going to have a clear track front of me.”

75th Lucas Oil Little 500 presented by UAW
Anderson Speedway
Anderson, Indiana
Saturday, May 27, 2023

1. 29-Jake Trainor
2. 7-Caleb Armstrong
3. 77-Kody Swanson
4. 07-Jacob Wilson
5. 51-Logan Seavey
6. 99-Dalton Armstrong
7. 31-Derek Bischak
8. 56-Tyler Roahrig
9. 69-Brady Bacon
10. 14-Davey Hamilton Jr.
11. 41-Aaron Willison
12. 47-Emerson Axsom
13. 11-Scott Evans
14. 6-Bryan Gossel
15. 3-Geoff Ensign
16. 3-Doug Fitzwater
17. 5-C.J. Leary
18. 10-Chris Neuenschwander
19. 28-Tanner Swanson
20. 18-Travis Welpott
21. 19-L.J. Grimm
22. 20-Shane Hollingsworth
23. 80-Billy Wease
24. 22-Bobby Santos III
25. 27-Brian Gerster
26. 71-Brian Vaughn
27. 1-Dakota Armstrong
28. 67-Kyle O’Gara
29. 87-Isaac Chapple
30. 53-Justin Harper
31. 64-Jacob McElfresh
32. 74-Tony Main
33. 24-Shawn Bonar