Fond Memories of Anderson Speedway; NASCAR Drivers Recall Local Track

Today they race at Bristol, Daytona and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but drivers that climbed to the highest ranks of stock car racing through the American Speed Association remember racing at Anderson Speedway.

When Rex and Becky Robbins founded the former ASA Midwest touring series for late models and stock cars Anderson Speedway was the home track.

Three-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson competed at Anderson Speedway twice with ASA, sitting on the pole position in 1999 during his second and final season with the local sanctioning body.

Over the years current and former NASCAR stars like Mark Martin, the Wallace brothers Rusty, Mike and Kenny, Tony Raines, Ken Schrader, Dick Trickle competed on an annual basis.

Trickle said racing at Anderson was like “flying a jet fighter in a gymnasium”.“That was my very first pole in a stock car,”

Johnson recalled about his second visit to Anderson. “Obviously I remember how small it was and the crazy figure-8 pit road.“I remember the fact that you didn’t watch to touch the fence because the bolt heads were sticking out and would tear up the sidewall out of the tires,” he said. “There are legendary stories about (Bob) Senneker and the other veterans hitting the Turn three opening because a bolt head cut down a tire.”

Kenny Wallace said Anderson is a legendary little race track and was one of the smallest that he ever competed at during his career.

“The second time there in 1987, I ran second to Dick Trickle,”
Wallace said. “The first time I was getting lapped by Mike Eddy and before I knew it I was wrecked. Eddy got on my outside and I ran him up into the wall. That was a tough night for me.”

Wallace said the atmosphere surrounding the annual ASA visit to the track was another thing he recalls and mentioned the parade on race morning when the race cars were pulled through the city by Wheel Horse lawn mowers.

“I would drive the lawn mower and put my wife inside the race car,” he said. “It was so much fun.”

Former Pendleton resident Tony Raines said he remembers going to the Anderson Speedway when it was called Sun Valley Speedway.

“I love that track,” he said. “Remember I qualified really well, but I never won the race.

“It was always a big race,” Raines said of ASA’s annual visit. “You run 400 laps there you know you’ve done something, that’s for sure.”

He said several tires went flat on the famed bolt sticking out of the Armco barrier. Raines said he finally figured out where it was at on the track.

Mike Wallace, who raced at Anderson Speedway once during his ASA career, said it was the speedway of short track racing.

“Everyone wanted to go to Anderson,” he said. “You were somebody if you got to race there. I had an average night, nothing to brag on, nothing to remember all that much.

“I remember that race clearly,” Wallace continued. “I had taken a new car there and the suspension was new to us.”

Wallace said it was a pleasure to race at Anderson Speedway.

“There are certain tracks around the country that have a lot of history and prestige of just going there,” he said. “They didn’t pay a lot or have a good trophy, but you wanted to go there. Anderson was one of those tracks at that time.”