Billed as “The World’s Greatest College Weekend,” the Little 500 is the largest collegiate bike race in the United States.
Little 500 was established in 1951 by Howdy Wilcox Jr., Executive Director of the Indiana University Bloomington (IU) Foundation. It was created as a way to raise scholarship money for IU undergraduate students working their way through college. Modeled after the Indianapolis 500, riders compete in four-person teams around a quarter-mile cinder track at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The men’s race is 200 laps (50 miles), and the women’s is 100 laps (25 miles).
SAE Gamma Cycling is run by an Alumni Group consisting of Jim Fissinger, Brent Burke, Travis Verhoff, and Bill Naas. Bill, a 1995 graduate, who still holds the record for the fastest single race lap, is the coach.
This year on Saturday, April 22, the Indiana Gamma chapter brothers put the pedal to the metal, placing sixth out of 33 male-participating organizations. Overall, their time was 2:15:32:68. Bill and the Alumni Group look forward to continued success in the future.
Bill’s son Luke Nass (2025), was this year’s team captain. The team was made up of riders Bayden Lutz (2025), Lucas Lemme (2026), and Rhett Skvarna (2026). It was impressive having new riders participate.
Luke and an Alumni group mapped out all year-long practices leading up to the race. The summertime is when the guys start training on their own time. When they reconvene in the fall, bikes are available for them to do more team-oriented practices a few times a week. Winter is when they gear up more, and in the spring, they do a team retreat during spring break.
“I want to commend and honor the team and Alumni that spent so much time preparing our chapter and being really passionate about this. Dedication is important to our chapter, and I’m super proud to be a part of this experience,” Mark Skarzynski (2025), Eminent Deputy Archon, says.
Before the actual race event, qualifications are held. This determines a prediction of how each participating organization will perform during the race. 40 teams typically sign up, 33 teams usually qualify, and SAE qualified in third place this year. This qualification placement built more hype and exposure for the chapter.
Indiana Gamma strategized the best way they possibly could. They let their captain rest as much as possible throughout their laps, so he can power through the last few remaining laps. He is one of the fastest racers, helping the team place sixth overall.
Eminent Archon Harrison Goldberg wants to thank everyone, especially Dave Barrick and Jim Fissinger, for their contributions. Dave and Jim were both riders for their chapter while in school, and they have never lost their passion. These Brothers have consistently maintained the financial side, fundraising, and managing the overall financial aspects of the team. With the number of expenses to pull together a team and the ins and out’s that come along, this role is super important. Jim and Dave are just two of the many individuals to be sure SAE is always a participating organization within Little 500.
“We will be back,” Harrison and Mark say.
Pictured are riders Rhett Skvarna, Lucas Lemme, Bayden Lutz, and Luke Naas (Team Captain).