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American Speed Association

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

American Speed Association
SportAuto racing
Country United States

The American Speed Association (ASA) was a sanctioning body of motorsports in the United States formed in 1968. The Association was based in Pendleton, Indiana, and later in Daytona Beach, Florida. The ASA sanctioned asphalt and dirt tracks in their ASA Member Track program along with racing series in the United States and Canada. The organization has not been active since 2014.

ASA was most famous for a national touring series which began in 1973 but was discontinued in 2004 due to financial difficulties. In 2005, ASA became primarily a short track sanctioning clearinghouse under the leadership of Dennis Huth.

The cars from the ASA National tour also raced in England in the now-defunct Stock Car Speed Association (formally ASCAR).

ASA National Tour

The national touring series used late model racecar body styles, where they raced primarily in the Midwest. Many series races were televised on several cable channels (especially The Nashville Network) from 1991 until 2004.

ASA is notable as the only nationally touring stock car series that used passenger car technology for its racing engines. Unlike NASCAR, which up until 2012 required carbureted engines for all its nationally touring series, ASA required fuel injection in all of its engines. During the mid-1980s, it also became one of the first stock car groups to offer a six-cylinder, lower-price alternative to the popular V8 engines, designed for less power but more race-capable for drivers. Following the 2000 rule changes, it was also known for introducing crate motors to a national audience. (NASCAR adopted crate motors in 2006 for the Grand National Division.)

MTV lawsuit

In 1991, Gaylord Entertainment (owners of The Nashville Network) and an independent production company, Group Five Sports, signed an agreement where the ASA would add live race broadcasts to their schedule.

The first live ASA ACDelco Challenge Series race was held in June 1991 at Nashville Speedway USA. The race featured NASCAR star Darrell Waltrip (who won the ASA's first Challenge of Champions race in 1972) defeating ASA regular Bob Senneker. The exposure led to national television coverage for the entire season by TNN and Group Five doing the production.

In 1999, CBS (which purchased TNN in 1997) officials announced the purchase of 25% of the American Speed Association from owner Rex Robbins in exchange for live television rights to the entire ASA ACDelco Series schedule for five years. CBS made this move after losing coverage of NASCAR races, and the network chose to market the ASA on its CBS Cable family of networks (TNN and CMT).

When Viacom took over TNN in 2000, CBS Cable operations were shut down as TNN's Charlotte and Nashville offices were closed and the signals transferred to MTV Networks for the creation of a channel, Spike TV. At the time, MTV Networks honored its remaining motorsports contracts signed by CBS.

In August 2001, MTV ended its association with ASA and the World of Outlaws (which also had a TNN contract signed by CBS management) by announcing they would tape delay the popular sprint car Knoxville Nationals, and also tape delay the two remaining ASA ACDelco Series races. The ASA filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the tape delays, but dropped the lawsuit after MTV agreed to air one of the two races in the lawsuit live. MTV terminated the five-year CBS contract after less than 20 months.

Brian Robbins, the son of the ASA founder Rex Robbins, blasted MTV, saying, "It appears new (MTV) management does not have the same vision for the partnership as we had with TNN (CBS Cable) at the time we made the agreement."[1][2]

Sale to Steve Dale

The 2003 ASA National Tour season had drastic changes because of the move of television coverage to the lower-rated (but motorsports-focused) Speed Channel. Robbins ended his involvement with ASA.

Car owner Steve Dale, along with a group of investors, purchased the ASA at the end of the 2003 season, and began massive changes for 2004 hoping for further expansion of the series.

The ASA then further expanded its Member Track program, hoping to deliver tracks to their side with a lower sanctioning fee than rival NASCAR's sanctioning fees. ASA did not have the high-dollar or high-exposure status NASCAR's Dodge Weekly Series offered.

Under Steve Dale, the ASA purchased a fairly new Midwest-based late model series called the US Pro Series. The series used "crate" engines and "template" bodies to help develop a new "Approved Body Configuration" template for race cars. The standardized bodies saved money for teams at every track which wasn't a NASCAR-sanctioned track. The US Pro Series was renamed to the ASA Late Model Series. When the new ASA Late Model series began, it debuted with Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart racing in the inaugural race under the new name and ownership.

The ASA also purchased the Southern Modified Auto Racing Teams (SMART), a modified racing organization, and the Speed Truck Challenge, a West Coast-based short-track series using compact pickup truck-shaped fiberglass bodies, in hopes to help sanction both series.

Car liveries began to take a new look in 2004, with the cars having numbers on the rear fenders and sponsors on the door, which is opposite of what most stock cars traditionally have used.

Despite these expansion attempts, financial problems developed midway in the 2004 season when the ASA began to cancel National Tour races and television contracts. By the end of the season, the series' demise came when the series raced at Lowe's Motor Speedway. In October 2004, during the driver's meeting for the 99-lap Aaron's 99 event (held after NASCAR Nextel Cup qualifying for the UAW-GM Quality 500), they informed competitors they did not have funds to pay teams after the race, and they asked for an extension. This despite the fact that Lowe's Motor Speedway had wired the entire purse and sanction fee to ASA as per the sanction agreement. Disappointed by Steve Dale's decision to cancel his trip to the event, the track impounded ASA's vehicles and equipment. A settlement was made where Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (owners of Atlanta Motor Speedway and Lowe's Motor Speedway) decided to pay the competitors directly after the final ASA race at Atlanta.

The sanctioning body collapsed and was shut down after the 2004 season, and the National Tour folded.

Dennis Huth era

After the National Tour folded, ASA's Member Track program and domain were sold to Racing Speed Associates, which was run by former NASCAR official Dennis Huth, along with other ASA-sanctioned short track programs, the ASA Midwest Tour, ASA Midwest Truck Tour, ASA Truck Series, ASA Pro Truck Series, ASA ProAutoSports, ASA Advance Testing British Columbia Late Model Tour and the ASA NW Sprint Car Series (NSRA).

NASCAR took advantage of the demise of the organization and started a Modified series in the Southeast, the Whelen Southern Modified Tour. The series features identical rules to NASCAR's northern brethren, which it merged with in 2017. In response, the Racing Speed Associates started the ASA Southern Modified Racing Team concept to once again bring modifieds to the ASA.

The American Stockcar League (which used the ASA formula cars) was run under the sanctioning of Mid-American Racing in an effort to keep the National Tour active. The ASL ran only four races before its founder, Gary Vercauteren, died from a heart attack on October 6, 2005. Technical director and former racer Doug Strasburg took over Mid-American Racing, but conducted a major house cleaning early in 2006 and pared down Mid-American Racing, ending the ASL after only one season.

After NASCAR announced it was ending its AutoZone Elite divisions, which featured regional late model racing, following the 2006 season, the ASA began sanctioning replacement series around the United States. The ASA Midwest Tour and ASA Northwest Tour were launched for 2007 and the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour for 2008. The sanctioning of the Midwest Tour was given to ARCA in 2013, becoming ARCA Midwest Tour, which indirectly reunited the series with NASCAR after the purchase of ARCA in 2018.

In 2008, ASA began sanctioning the ISCARS sport compact series, which had been independent since breaking from NASCAR at the end of the 2003 season. Also, the ASA Member Track program added a national short-track points championship similar to NASCAR's Whelen All-American Series concept, with the winner receiving a test with Joe Gibbs Racing, which sponsors the program through its Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil brand. The national champion earned a test in a Gibbs Toyota Camry. The ASA sanctioning of the former Goody's Dash Series took place until 2011.

ASA Free State 500

On January 31, 2010, ASA Racing made history as the first American sanctioning body to race in the Republic of South Africa. The ASA Free State 500 took place at the Phakisa Freeway located in Welkom, Free State, South Africa; it was also the first major race to be hosted on the circuit's oval. Contested using used fourth-generation Cup cars, John Mickel from the United Kingdom passed Toni McCray from California on the last lap to win the 207-lap (500 km) event.

The Free State 500 was planned as part of the ASA Transcontinental Series, a track championship hosted at Phakisa Freeway's oval.[3] However, no further races were ever held.

Naming dispute

The related split of the assets of the former American Speed Association led to a naming dispute when the Late Model Series was reacquired by Ron Varney, while the other portions of the American Speed Association were sold to Huth.[4]

On December 4, 2007, Dennis Huth filed a lawsuit against the ASA Late Model Series seeking to invalidate and cancel the ASA Late Model Series trademark registration. The ASA Late Model Series responded that the lawsuit is frivolous and without merit and counter-sued Huth for damages caused by suit. [5]

On January 14, 2009, the naming dispute was settled. Both parties were allowed to keep the "ASA" name, but the ASA Late Model Series was forced to come up with a new logo, and both parties agreed to inform the racing public that the ASA Late Model Series is not related to, affiliated with, nor sponsored or endorsed by American Speed Association or ASA Racing. [6]

On October 11, 2010, it was announced that in an order signed on October 7, 2010, by US District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly, has permanently barred Louis R. (Ron) Varney, Jr, ASA Late Model Series, LLC and all those acting in concert or participation with them, including specifically ASALMS, LLC from any further use of the ASA or ASA Late Model Series brand on or in connection with automobile race events anywhere in the United States. The injunction was delivered at the 2010 Oktoberfest Race Weekend at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway. The Varney-led organization has not been active following the injunction.

List of ASA National Champions

Pat Schauer Memorial Rookies of the Year

The Pat Schauer Memorial Rookies of the Year is named after Pat Schauer, of Watertown, Wisconsin, who was killed October 4, 1981, at Winchester Speedway during an ASA race. Schauer was the rookie point leader at the time.

Other notable alumni drivers

Former ASA member tracks

Tracks that hosted ASA national events (2004 and earlier)


  1. ^ Callahan, Terry (August 27, 2001). "ASA, TNN Reaches Agreement on 2001 Telecasts". The Auto Channel. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  2. ^ Callahan, Terry (August 23, 2001). "ASA Seeks to Prevent TNN From Tape Delaying Broadcasts". The Auto Channel. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  3. ^ Fisher, Rob (2010-05-07). "ASA South Africa Race - Racing In The Heartland". Motor Trend. Retrieved 2022-04-13.
  4. ^ ASA completes purchase of National Tour properties Archived 2007-10-13 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ ASA name dispute Archived 2008-03-05 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Dispute Over ASA Trademark Amicably Resolved". Archived from the original on 2009-01-22. Retrieved 2009-01-19.

External links

This page was last edited on 17 July 2022, at 20:26
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