May 28—ANDERSON — Little 500 fans, sprint car drivers and pit crews travel from all over to park their motor homes and camp next to the Anderson Speedway each year to relax and get ready for the race on Memorial Day weekend.
Aaron Willison is a first-time camper and race participant. Along with his wife and child, Willison traveled over 2,500 miles from Langley, British Columbia, Canada, while the rest of his team came from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He and his crew race pavement sprint cars in British Columbia, as well as across the Pacific Northwest. Anderson is the farthest east he has traveled and he loves the Little 500 because of the challenge.
"It's a different challenge for these cars because we're taking cars that are meant to race 40 and 50 lap races and we're trying to run 500 laps with them," Willison said. "We're trying to do live pit stops with cars that are not designed to have live pit stops done. It's an engineering challenge as far as figuring all that stuff out and building a car that'll run the distance."
Duane Alexander and his wife, Sonja, have been attending the Little 500 for around 20 years. The Alexanders come from near New Castle and camp for the family, fellowship and stories that come from their experiences.
He has also been involved in some of the planning for the Little 500, including trying to convince gospel singer Sandi Patty to sing the national anthem when Anderson Speedway president Rick Dawson was looking for someone to perform. Unfortunately, Patty was not able to attend due to a gig the day before.
Brothers Gary and Bill Sullivan are camping at the speedway for the first time this year, but have attended the race for many years. Their seven other brothers will be joining them this weekend.
Racing is in their blood, and Gary Sullivan moved back home to Indiana from Arizona for several reasons, racing among them.
He currently lives in Plymouth. This year, they're excited to support their nephew, Tyler Roahrig, who won the Little 500 in 2021.
"We've been around it all our lives. So we've been into it forever," Gary Sullivan said. "But now that Tyler is, that's why we're here — basically to watch him. We would be here without him. We just enjoy racing.
"There's only one thing better than racing," he said. "That's breathing."