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Roahrig Goes Back To Back In Little 500 - Crew members make final adjustments as a huge crowd looks on for the 74th Little 500 at Anderson Speedway. - DAVID SINK PHOTO

Lady Luck

When the race resumed, the lead changed hands twice between Dakoda Armstrong and Scott Hampton over the next 115 laps. Roahrig, however, kept digging and returned to the top spot on lap 375. Roahrig held a comfortable advantage until Newman hit the wall on lap 495.

At that point, the lap counting was frozen to ensure the race would end under green. It also allowed Armstrong one final chance to steel the victory.
Roahrig roared away on the restart and captured his second consecutive Little 500 triumph.

“I’d rather be lucky than good. I thought my race was over twice there,” Roahrig explained. “The was a lot harder than the first one. I got in a wreck.

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Tyler Roahrig poses with the traditional Little 500 winner’s wreath. – DAVID SINK PHOTO

Luckily, they threw red because the track was blocked. I thought we were done. That saved me. The front axle was moved way back. Both shocks were bent. I thought we were done. But surprisingly, the thing drove really good. I don’t know how that happened. At one point I thought we were running out of fuel. I had to run this thing way harder than last year. That’s for sure.”

Roahrig realized the red flag gave him a chance to win, otherwise his night could have been over after that lap-259 accident.

“I probably would have just parked it at that point. I would have been five, six, I don’t know, eight laps down,” said Roahrig, who led a race-high 219 laps. “There’s no sense staying out there after you put yourself in a bad spot. The red flag saved me. I could not believe it. When my spotter called red, I was like, ‘Oh wow.’ Then they said I was at the tail, whatever.

“After we restarted, we moved right up threw there,” Roahrig continued. “I was shocked. Then we pitted and that thing was on a rail after we pitted that last time. Luckily, we were good when it counted. Looking at the car after the race, I’m surprised it was as good as it was. It’s beat up. At some points, I felt like the tire wear was more than normal, at other points I felt it stayed good and consistent. Luckily for us we had enough fuel to finish, and the tires lasted.

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Tyler Roahrig celebrates winning the Little 500 for the second consecutive year. – TIM AYLWIN PHOTO

“Winning two puts you on a list with the greats here. I don’t feel like I belong on that list but here we are.”

Roahrig beat Armstrong to the checkered flag by 1.129 seconds. Armstrong was short on brakes during the closing stages of the race.

“Our brakes went out and up until we were running good entering the corners,” Armstrong said. “After that I was in survival mode. I pleased with the run.”

Dirt-track ace C.J. Leary rounded out the podium.

Dalton Armstrong was named rookie of the year after racing from 28th to ninth.

Once again, the Little 500 lived up to its expectations. Hearts were broken and new heroes emerged. That’s what keeps them coming back every Memorial Day weekend.

74th Little 500 The Finish
1 – Tyler Roahrig
2 – Dakoda Armstrong
3 – C.J.Leary
4 – Kyle O’Gara
5 – Caleb Armstrong
6 – Brian Gerster
7 – Kody Swanson
8 – Shane Hollingsworth
9 – Dalton Armstrong
10 – Emerson Axsom
11 – Ryan Newman
12 – Jacob McElfresh
13 – Aaron Willison
14 – Isaac Chapple
15 – Scott Hampton
16 – Bryan Gossel
17 – Larry Kingseed Jr.
18 – Shawn Bonar
19 – Travis Welpott
20 – Tanner Swanson
21 – Billy Wease
22 – Bobby Santos III
23 – Brady Bacon
24 – Ken Schrader
25 – Shane Butler
26 – Derek Bischak
27 – Tony Main
28 – Brian Tyler
29 – Davey Hamilton Jr.
30 – Jerry Coons Jr.
31 – L.J. Grimm
32 – Eric Gordon
33 – Justin Harper

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