Canadian backs long trek to Lucas Oil Little 500
May 25—ANDERSON — For the second consecutive year Aaron Willison is making a 3,900-mile journey one way from British Columbia, Canada, to Anderson Speedway for the Lucas Oil Little 500.
Willison comes with impressive credentials from the far northwest in both winged and non-wing sprint cars.
In 2021 he won track championships in non-wing sprint cars at Westernshore Motorsports Park and Saratoga Motorsports Park.
The 35-year-old has been racing for the past 15 years starting in street stocks, modifieds, midgets and late models, but has been racing sprint cars for the past seven years.
"Everyone who races sprint cars knows of the Little 500," he said. "It's the biggest pavement sprint car race in the country.
"I had my eye on racing it for a long time," Willison said. "It's a pretty cool event to be a part of."
Last year Willison qualified 23rd in the starting field, completed 490 of the 500 laps and finished second.
"We were really happy to get here and make the race last year," he said. "In the northwest there are no tracks that have the banking of Anderson Speedway, so it was a steep learning curve."
Willison said in the northwest most of the racing is with winged sprint cars.
"We learned a ton last year," he said. "How the car handled on the banking."
Willison said the decision to return for the 75th running of the Lucas Oil Little 500 was made on the trip back to British Columbia last year.
"We decided to try some new things and come back," he said. "You're racing with the best of the best at the Little 500.
"Once I raced last year, I had to come back," Willison said. "It's a unique challenge and event."
His pit crew is flying in from Canada and Willison will have been on the road 27 days before returning home where he is a heavy equipment mechanic.
"It's a big commitment," Willison said of making the trip to Anderson. "It's a really big nut to crack to get all the people and equipment here."
Willison raced in California on the trip to Indiana and will race in Idaho on the return trip.
"I have no expectations coming into the race," he said. "I hope to continue to improve and would like to finish in the top 10."
Willison said several other teams in British Columbia have talked about making the trip to Anderson to compete in the Little 500.
With the race being broadcast live on Flo Racing, Willison said there will be watch parties on Saturday.
Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.