ASA History at Anderson Speedway, Part 1 /

ASA History at Anderson Speedway, Part 1

Anderson, Indiana was the birthplace of the American Speed Association in the late 1960’s, and Anderson Speedway was an integral part of the creation of and growth of the original ASA.

Anderson Speedway, up next on the ASA STARS National Tour Schedule for the 58th running of the Redbud 400, has a rich history in motorsports. Originally known as Sun Valley Speedway, the quarter-mile bullring was established in 1948 by local businessman Joe Helpling, who owned and operated the track for 28 years. But in 1967, Helping decided he needed to sell the Speedway. That decision ultimately leads to the formation of ASA – The American Speed Association.

Enter Rex Robbins. Robbins tried to purchase the Speedway, with the help of his friend Walt Dietzen. But they were unable to secure a bank loan to make the purchase, due to inadequate record keeping by Helpling. So instead, Rex and Becky Robbins began promoting races at the track. Sprint Car Races, on Wednesday nights. They formed a corporation for the race promotion business, and called it the American Speed Association – ASA for short.

For the next five years ASA was an event promoter, primarily at Sun Valley Speedway. Stock cars were added to the program, and in 1970, Rex and Becky took their fledgling stock car series on the road for the first time…to Winchester Speedway. This was, of course, a huge step in the history of ASA. Over the next five years, ASA continued to promote races at Sun Valley Speedway, and began to expand their traveling stock car series to other tracks. In 1972, the traveling series was formalized with a race at Salem Speedway.

The ASA “Circuit of Champions” began to expand out beyond its Indiana roots, to Ohio, then Milwaukee and Kansas and Minnesota. A falling out with track owner Helpling in 1973 ended the promotional arrangement between ASA and Sun Valley Speedway, but ASA still sanctioned two races a year at the track.

Financial struggles saw the track suffer a “court-ordered” sale in 1976, and Rex and Becky, along with a half-dozen local business men, purchased the property, and re-named it Anderson Speedway. Over the course of the next 23 years, ASA and the Robbins family bought out the partners, eventually owning the track outright – 20 years after they first tried to buy it.

Current owner Rick Dawson acquired the track from the Robbins family in 1996, and has owned and operated the facility since. Prior to purchasing the track, Dawson worked for ASA in the Registration Department, and also served as the sanctioning body’s accountant for many years.