INDIANAPOLIS — John Robbins grew up around short-track racing and in recent years he’s used his National Short Track Alliance to help grow the sport he loves.
Now Robbins will be taking his passion for short-track racing a little further as he has purchased the ICAR Top Speed Modified Tour and will begin promoting it this season as the NSTA Top Speed Modified Tour.
If the name Robbins seems familiar to the short track world, it should. The 34-year-old Robbins is the nephew of Rex and Becky Robbins, who founded the American Speed Ass’n and operated the successful short-track racing sanctioning body for several decades.
“I never had the desire to jump in a race car. I fell in love with the business of the sport watching Rex and Becky. I got to be a fly on the wall for a lot of years — seeing this business from behind the scenes,” Robbins told SPEED SPORT. “From a very young age, I always dreamed of following in my uncle’s footsteps. To have this opportunity now is a dream come true.”
After growing up around short-track racing, Robbins went to Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. The original concept for the NSTA was born as part of a class project. Since then he’s worked with numerous startup companies before returning to motorsports.
“I’ve wanted to get into racing since I was 12 and over the last two years that desire has gotten stronger,” said Robbins, who purchased the series from Dave Muzzillo, who also operates Indiana’s Baer Field Motorsports Park. “I have heard all the talk about short-track racing, and how there are no fans, no cars, no sponsors and no future. I kept looking around and seeing things that told me that wasn’t true and that we really just needed to take a different approach. The whole mission of the National Short Track Alliance is to help support, preserve and grow short-track racing in America.
“We work with a lot of tracks and sanctioning bodies, but I felt like if I was going to tell them how to do their job I should be right there in the trenches with them, which is why I acquired the series.”
Robbins is a fan of modified racing and has watched the NSTA Top Speed Modified Series, which debuted in 1989, since he was a youngster.
“It goes back to modified racing being so exciting and under appreciated,” Robbins said of the reason he purchased the series. “I remember watching what at the time was the ICAR Jasper Modified Tour and USA Modified Tour at Anderson Speedway. It was always great racing. My first racing business plan, when I was 17, included this series in it. So I’ve really loved this type of racing for a long time.