Iconic American Speed Association Brand Returning to Short Track Racing
Special from CRA - Anderson, IN (Friday, February 10, 2023) - One of the most iconic brands in short track racing will officially return Tuesday night as part of Daytona Speedweeks, as the ASA Southern Super Series Presented by Sunoco Race Fuels hits the track for the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway.
Track Enterprises President, Bob Sargent caught the racing world by surprise when he announced that the newly formed STARS National Tour for pavement super late models would be sanctioned by ASA under a licensing agreement with ARCA - The Automobile Racing Club of America.
“What a great opportunity to bring the ASA back to short-track pavement racing,” Sargent stated during the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis on December 10. “ASA was the premier short track racing series in its day and we are excited to keep that iconic brand alive.”
Track Enterprises, a racing promotions company based in Illinois, made a lot of noise in the pavement super late model world throughout the 2022 calendar year by announcing the acquisition of the Champion Racing Association (CRA) sanctioning body in January and following that up with the purchase of the ASA Midwest Tour (formerly ARCA Midwest Tour) in July. In October, Sargent announced a partnership with the Southern Super Series which set the table for the formation of the STARS National Tour.
The ASA brand made its “unofficial” return on January 25 at SpeedFest, a non-points race co-sanctioned by the ASA/CRA Super Series and the ASA Southern Super Series. The Tuesday night, February 14 “Clyde Hart Memorial 100” at New Smyrna Speedway will be the opening event for the ASA Southern Super Series, the first of 12 championship points races.
The ASA STARS National Tour will debut in 2023, billed as a 10-race series visiting the premier paved short tracks in the United States. A national champion will be crowned in November of 2023 at the All-American 400 at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway (TN). A $100,000 championship point fund (minimum) has been confirmed, which will pay the top ten in final standings, including $25,000 to the series champion.
Founded in 1968 by Rex and Becky Robbins, ASA held its first national stock car series race at Salem Speedway and crowned its first national champion in 1973. Some of the biggest NASCAR stars got their start with ASA, including Mark Martin, Rusty and Kenny Wallace, Alan Kulwicki, Jimmie Johnson, and many more. In addition, short track stars including Mike Eddy, Bob Senneker, Butch Miller, Dick Trickle, and Scott Hansen became household names to short track fans.
At its peak, the series enjoyed national television coverage on TNN (The Nashville Network), but in 2001 Gaylord Entertainment, the parent company of TNN, sold its cable TV holdings. New owner MTV and the Nickelodeon Group decided to disband TNN, and drop motorsports from their coverage plans. The move forced Robbins to sell the series in 2003, and just a few short years later, ASA went out of business.
NASCAR acquired the Intellectual Property Rights of the ASA brand following the series' demise, in an effort to protect and preserve the historical relevance of the sanctioning body. The announcement of the STARS National Tour presented an opportunity to further preserve and promote the brand, and the IP Rights were granted to Track Enterprises by way of its licensing agreement with ARCA, a wholly owned NASCAR Property.
“Race fans everywhere know and respect the ASA Brand,” Sargent concluded. “NASCAR’s stewardship of the sport was once again prevalent when they secured the IP Rights to the brand, and now it is our job to uphold the high standards set by the American Speed Association some 50 years ago.”
The Clyde Hart Memorial from New Smyrna Speedway with the Southern Super Series Powered by Sunoco Race Fuels is Tuesday, February 14th. Advanced tickets are available here. Practice begins at 1:00 PM with the first green flag of the night at 7:30 PM. Fans who can’t make it to the Speedway can catch all the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing action online at FloRacing.com.
Story - Mark Gundrum
Photo - Rich Corbett