The founder of the Pendleton-based American Speed Association, Rex Robbins, died Sunday at age 80 following an extended illness.
Robbins founded the American Speed Association in 1968 at Anderson Speedway and over the years developed the short track late model series into a national touring series that spawned the careers of Mark Martin, Alan Kulwicki, Jimmie Johnson, Rusty Wallace and Dick Trickle.
The national tour started in 1973, and Robbins sold ASA in 2003.
Known as an innovator in the sanctioning of stock car races, Robbins through the American Speed Association was the first to require the use of HANS head and neck restraint system, brought specific motors to the series and ran the last five laps of every event under green flag racing conditions.
During his tenure with ASA, Robbins negotiated the contract that brought the traveling series to live television through a partnership with The Nashville Network.
Robbins along with his late wife, Becky, and several partners owned and operated Anderson Speedway until they sold the local track to Rick Dawson and Action Entertainment.
-By Ken de la Bastide/The Herald Bulletin
-Photo Credit: Al Fortner