PENDLETON, Indiana -- The American Speed Associationand the Southern Modified Auto Racing Teams have reached an agreement for the series to begin competing under the ASA banner.
The name will change to the ASA/SMART Tour, and has a schedule consisting of 15 races throughout the Carolinas and Virginia. The first race is Saturday, March 27 at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C.
"For 37-years fans have associated the American Speed Association with the finest in stock car racing," said Steve Dale, ASA president and CEO. "With this announcement, they can now look to ASA to offer some of the best Modified racing as well. I think that everyone at ASA is excited about the potential for the ASA/SMART Tour and we are looking forward to integrating the Modifieds into our plans for the future."
"We have a good program and a good show that everybody enjoys and we are hoping for great things in the future," said David Pinnix, president of SMART. "We are hoping for bigger purses, bigger car counts, better working conditions with the tracks, better safety issues and the whole deal. We anticipate ASA being a great help to us in those areas and are looking forward to a great future."
This is the first time in more than three decades that the American Speed Association has endorsed anything other than traditional stock car racing. Rex Robbins, founder of ASA, started the organization by promoting sprint car races at Sun Valley Speedway in Anderson, Ind. (now known Anderson Speedway).Eventually, he transitioned from offering a mix of sprint and stock cars to just the full-bodied vehicles.
"Having Modifieds in the ASA fold will really help us from a branding initiative," said Dennis Huth, national director of ASA Member Tracks and one of the architects of the deal. "Not only does the ASA/SMART Tour generate some exciting action on-track, but they can also help create a different fan base as more and more fans nationally become aware of the American Speed Association."
The SMART tour was originally founded in 1988, and features 600 horsepower, open- wheel Modifieds. The cars can reach speeds of 125 mph, even on the smaller tracks that they run. Like the ASA National Tour and ASA Late Model Series, the ASA/SMART Tour will end all races under the green flag. Their schedule includes six visits to Caraway Speedway, five to ASA Member Track Friendship Motor Speedway (Elkin, N.C.), and single events at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway, Ace Speedway (Altamahaw, N.C.), New River Valley (Radford, Va.) and Concord (N.C.) Motorsports Park. For more information, visit www.southernmodified.com.
When asked on the reaction to the agreement by the Modified teams and drivers, SMART vice-president Randy Myers said "SMART just finished our 15th season and we have been to this level and stayed at this level for quite a long while and not had the opportunity to advance. When we put the vote out to the teams (to make an affiliation with ASA) it was overwhelming that we make some changes and move forward, so I think there is nothing but excitement out there. All in all, the biggest majority of the folks are saying it's time to make a change and ASA affords us the opportunity to move this series up to the levels it deserves to be at."
The American Speed Association is based in Pendleton, Ind., and has offered racing programs since 1968, including the ASA National Tour, ASA Late Model Series and ASA Member Track programs. For additional information, visit asaracing.com.