INside Story

Anderson Speedway celebrates 75 years

Central Indiana is home to numerous race tracks featuring racing at every skill level. These tracks provide not only a fun night out for fans and drivers alike but also serve as an anchor for the community.

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ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — Barely an hour northeast of the Brickyard lies a track with some history of its own.

Anderson Speedway sits well within Anderson’s city limits, on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the way into downtown. It opened in 1948 and has hosted the Little 500 the night before the Indianapolis 500 every year since 1950.

“You don’t see very many that are actually in the city limits,” Rick Dawson, the track’s owner, said. “And we do a lot of things for the community.”

Many racing legends have cut their teeth at Anderson Speedway.

Dawson says A.J. Foyt won the track’s first USAC Midget race in the early 1960s. Future Indianapolis 500 winners Parnelli Jones and Johnny Rutherford are listed among the track’s past winners. NASCAR Cup Series champions Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott raced there early in their careers as well.

Dawson bought the track 26 years ago. Since then, he says he’s kept up the track’s busy racing schedule while adding non-racing events for the whole family. He has also partnered with local charities such as the local Humane Society, which does a dog walk around the track as part of the Little 500 Festival every year.

The community connection keeps families coming back year after year. New Castle resident Chris Remy says his wife grew up going to the track and one of their first dates was there. They now take their children to the track almost every weekend.

When asked what keeps him coming back, Remy replied, “Just the room, the atmosphere, the people, how friendly they are. The food’s always good, too.”

The track holds races almost every Saturday night from April through October.

A special 75th-anniversary race is scheduled for Saturday in which four classes will run 75 laps each. The track also has scheduled its annual Independence Day figure 8 races for Monday. The schedule also includes school bus and trailer races.

Dawson would like to improve the track’s facilities to ensure it stays open for another 75 years. He says the plumbing and electrical systems, though adequate for now, will need to be upgraded. He says he would like to launch an improvement project similar to recent ones at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway, though on a smaller scale.

“We want to make sure it’s preserved for the future,” Dawson said. “This whole project will be driven by the fans and what they want to see.”