ASA STARS National Tour
The Mile’s Youngest Winner Looks to Re-Create The Magic
Jun 9, 2023
The Milwaukee Mile was a staple of the ASA National Tour from the 1970s all the way until the 2000s.
Mike Eddy. Mark Martin. Bob Senneker. Dick Trickle. Rusty Wallace. Kevin Cywinski. Butch Miller. Bryan Reffner. Johnny Benson, Jr.
Those are all names that come to mind for short track racing fans as former champions with the ASA National Tour. They are also drivers who went to victory lane in ASA races on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Fair Park, at the track better known as The Milwaukee Mile.
Opened in 1903, few racing venues have more history than The Milwaukee Mile. It had a 75-year legacy of motorsports competition before the first ASA National Tour event at the facility in 1978. Over the next 20-plus years, however, The Milwaukee Mile became a staple of the ASA calendar, hosting at least one event every year between 1978 and 2000.
Naturally, the list of winners in those races includes some of the all-time greats in short track racing. Along with the previous champions mentioned, ASA winners at Milwaukee include the likes of Alan Kulwicki, Joe Shear, Jim Sauter and Mike Garvey.
Bob Senneker took the first ASA win at The Milwaukee Mile in 1978, finishing ahead of Larry Phillips and Dick Trickle. It was one of six wins in 14 ASA starts for Senneker that season.
During the early 1980s, Milwaukee frequently hosted two ASA races each year. During the first year of this arrangement, Mark Martin swept the Milwaukee dates in 1980. On both occasions, Martin led very briefly in the early stages, then took the lead for good in the final 20 laps to take the wins.
Some of the great early races at The Milwaukee Mile can be found on YouTube, for fans looking to take a trip down memory lane. One such race is the ASA Miller High Life 200 on July 10, 1983, when Alan Kulwicki took the lead on a late restart from Bob Senneker for the win.
Another such race is a particularly historic one, the 1989 Badgerland 150. Rookie Scott Hansen scored his first career ASA win that day, while Junior Hanley and Butch Miller battled it out for second behind him. Hansen would add a second win at the Minnesota State Fair Speedway later that year, as well as Pat Schauer Memorial Rookie of the Year honors.
Butch Miller rattled off three straight ASA wins at Milwaukee between 1986 and 1987. He won the series’ lone trip in 1986, then swept the 1987 dates. The August 1987 date was also part of the brief Stock Car Connection collaboration between the ASA, American-Canadian Tour and ALL PRO Series.
While complete recorded data is not available for all of these races over the years, the closest known margin of victory during ASA’s time at Milwaukee came in 1995. That year, Glenn Allen, Jr. held off Mike Eddy in a drag race to the checkered flag, with a recorded margin of 0.090 seconds.
Like Scott Hansen in 1989, Kevin Cywinski also scored a Milwaukee win during his Rookie of the Year season in 1996. Cywinski’s Milwaukee Mile triumph came one week after a victory in the Anderson 400, announcing to the competition he would be one to watch for years to come.
Milwaukee saw another rookie winner in 1999, with Derrick Gilchrist taking the checkered flag ahead of Jimmie Johnson. It was his third win of the season, but he’d finish 10th in points and behind a winless, but more consistent, Rick Johnson in the Rookie of the Year fight.
While he was never a full-time competitor with the American Speed Association, there’s not much ground you can cover when it comes to Wisconsin racing without mentioning Joe Shear. Shear’s fifth and final ASA National Tour win came at Milwaukee in 1993, as he led 66 of the 150 laps that day.
From beginning to end, as the cars, series and sponsors evolved with time, the one constant at The Milwaukee Mile was Bob Senneker. Including that inaugural win in 1978, Senneker visited victory lane seven times at Milwaukee with ASA. The last of those seven wins came in Senneker’s final full-time season with the series at the 1998 Badgerland 200.
Other multi-time winners at Milwaukee included Dick Trickle (5), Mike Eddy (3), Butch Miller (3), Mark Martin (2) and Scott Hansen (2).
The ASA legacy returns to The Milwaukee Mile on June 18, with the ASA STARS National Tour contesting the Father's Day 100 at the historic venue in a co-sanctioned event with the ASA Midwest Tour. Tickets for the Father’s Day 100 are now on sale at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds ticket office, or online by clicking here.
-Featured photo: Dean Bentley collection
Mark Martin (2)
Bob Senneker (2)
Bob Senneker (3)
Dick Trickle (2)
Dick Trickle (3)
Dick Trickle (4)
Butch Miller (2)
Butch Miller (3)
Dick Trickle (5)
Scott Hansen (2)
Mike Eddy (2)
Bob Senneker (4)
Johnny Benson, Jr.
Mike Eddy (3)
Bob Senneker (5)
Glenn Allen, Jr.
Bob Senneker (6)
Bob Senneker (7)