Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

May 24, 2013

Powell looking for Little 500 win

Local man is a jack of all trades

During the course of his 72 years, Jerry Powell has done a little bit of everything.

Powell has owned a trucking business, raced sprint cars, has his pilot’s license and is now owner of a racing team. He is also a tool and die maker and produces many parts on the race cars.

He used to race Figure 8 cars at Anderson Speedway.

Powell’s son, Dr. Jerry Powell II works in Tipton and races a Class A dragster.

“My son had to move to Tipton for his work and about 12 years ago we moved to Tipton County,” he said.

Powell has competed in the Pay Less Little 500 — the 65th running is set for Saturday at Anderson Speedway — as both a driver and owner.

He raced at the Little 500 from 1970 to 1972 before other interests took him out of the driver’s seat.

“I was rookie of the year at the Little 500 in 1970,” Powell smiles in the put area at the speedway on Thursday. “I was the first alternate and someone didn’t show up. I started 33rd and finished seventh.

“It was all luck,” he laughs. “I had no power steering and was racing a Champ Car that had a longer wheel base. I shouldn’t have been out there, but I was.”

Powell became a car owner five years ago and has a fleet of dirt and pavement sprint cars in his shop located on Ind. 19 between Tipton and Kokomo.

“I was sitting in the grandstands and said I wouldn’t mind owning a car again,” he said.

Powell’s cars compete annually in the Little 500, the King’s Royal at Eldora Speedway in Ohio and the bigger events at Kokomo and Gas City speedways.

In the 2012 Little 500, Powell’s car finished second with driver Billy Wease winning rookie of the year honors.

This year, Florida driver Dude Teate and Crawfordville’s Sondi Eden will be behind the wheel.

“I was down in Florida for sprint weeks and met Dude for the first time,” Powell said. “I asked him if he was so good a driver, why he didn’t have a ride? He said he didn’t know why.”

The car Teate will be driving has a long and storied history. Powell said it raced in the Indianapolis 500 and was cut down into a Champ Car, winning the Hoosier Hundred.

“Our getting together was an accident,” he laughs about having Teate in his car. “I hired Sondi [Eden] because I wanted a driver with experience and someone who was aggressive.”

Powell and his wife of 52 years, Joanna, finance the race teams. First place in Saturday’s race is guaranteed $25,000.

“I oversee everything,” he said of race day activities, “and help when needed.”

Powell is retired from AT&T and Steel Parts in Tipton and said he could be racing year-round.

“A win in the Little 500 would mean everything to me,” he said. “It might get me into the Hall of Fame.”

That first race in the Little 500 remains Powell’s best memory of the world’s richest pavement sprint car race.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • NES plans kindergarten round-up Northwestern Elementary School is planning its kindergarten round-up for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday. To qualify for kindergarten enrollment, a child must be 5 years old on or before Aug. 1. Parents must bring their child's birth certificate, immunizat

    April 19, 2014

  • NSC establishes number of transfers Northwestern School Corp. has decided how many transfer students the district can accept next school year in compliance with the state's relatively new open enrollment law. This is the first time Northwestern has announced vacancies at each grade lev

    April 19, 2014

  • Kokomo man heading to 'Hoosier Millionaire' finale Rick Rhodes is still having a hard time believing his good fortune. On Thursday, the 53-year-old Kokomo man walked away with $13,500 after beating out five other contestants on the “Hoosier Millionaire” live road show in Fort Wayne. “I’m still in sho

    April 18, 2014

  • Dual Credit classes KACC 02 Dual credits give high school students head start on college More area students are enrolling in dual credit classes as a way to get an early start on their college degrees and prepare for the rigor of higher education while still in high school. In the past five years, the number of college credits earned by

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Email, Internet knocked out at Miami Co. Courthouse PERU -- Basic government services were put on hold for the second time in nearly two months in Miami County after a massive server failure once again knocked out Internet and email access in most departments and offices. The crash hit early last week

    April 18, 2014

  • Early voting underway in Miami Co. PERU -- Miami County officials are reminding residents that early voting is now open for the primary election. Early voting started April 8 and will end May 5, one day before Election Day. Early voting is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday at t

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson Street Commons veterans home grand opening set for May 22 Jackson Street Commons, a home for veterans near downtown Kokomo, will host a grand opening May 22. The new $3.6 million facility, located at 322 E. Jackson St., provides permanent housing to 27 previously homeless veterans, said Judy Dennis, executi

    April 18, 2014

  • YMCA nearing design phase completion Development and design of the new 73,000 square foot YMCA should be completed in the next 30 days, YMCA of Kokomo Executive Director David Dubois told the Kokomo Common Council Monday. Dubois said he hopes to begin construction on the new facility by

    April 18, 2014

  • NHS, PJHS named four-star schools Northwestern High School and Peru Jr. High School have found their place among the top schools in the state, with the Indiana Department of Education recognizing them as four-star schools Tuesday. A total of 311 elementary, middle and high schools we

    April 18, 2014

  • NWS-PT041614 Flora Doc1.jpg [Duplicate] The doctor is still in after health group's departure FLORA -- The safe at a downtown bank building, once used for protecting cash and valuables, is now stocked with medical supplies. The former bank office on East Main Street became Flora Family Medicine last month after it was made possible for one lo

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.