Ira Bastin, a multi-time track champion at both Brownstown Speedway and Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, will be honored with the inaugural Ira Bastin Memorial at Brownstown on April 8.
He died Jan. 18 at the age of 82.
Bastin began his racing career in 1963 racing jalopy-style cars at Bloomington Speedway. He would also run super-modifieds (a precursor to sprint cars) until going late model stock car racing in the late 1960s.
Bastin won three Brownstown track championships (1972, 1977 and 1978) and narrowly missed a fourth by just one and a half points to Dennis Boknecht in 1979. He captured track titles at Haubstadt in 1972 and 1980. He also won the Kentucky Dirt Track Championship in 1978.
He made four starts in the Jackson 100 at Brownstown with his best finish being sixth place in the inaugural race in 1980. He had four starts in the National Dirt Racing Association in 1980 and 1981 with his best finish sixth at Florence Speedway in Kentucky in 1981.
Besides driving for himself for several years, Bastin piloted cars owned by Claude Kern, Sonny Arthur, Susie Mills, Gene Dalton and Butch Tucker. His brothers, Ezra and Phil, also raced.
His 40 career feature wins at Brownstown rank him sixth on the all-time win list in the late model division behind Jim Curry, John Gill, Don O’Neal, Steve Barnett and Paul Crockett. His first feature win at Brownstown was in 1969, and his last was 20 years later in 1989. He was voted into the Brownstown Speedway Hall of Fame in 2005.
By profession, he was the owner and operator of Bastin Excavating. But he loved to drive race cars, and his hard-charging style and his strong, massive build — his helmeted head frequently was visible atop his vehicle, but he never had a serious racing injury — gave him a personal following, especially locally but notable wherever he raced. He won more than 200 feature races competing on tracks around the United States.
Ira was educated in Bloomington schools and in the late 1950s served in the U.S. Navy, primarily stationed in California. He was a particularly strong follower of Indiana University basketball and his friend, Bob Knight.
Also racing April 8 will be the super stocks, pure stocks and hornets.
Terre Haute gets new promoter
Terre Haute Action Track on March 23 announced details of its 2023 racing season. In addition to the race schedule, officials announced the track has named its new promoter, Bill Rose Racing out of Plainfield.
Rose has a long racing career that started when he was a crew member for his dad, Thomas “Spike” Rose. Bill later started racing himself beginning with go-karts, then sportsman stock cars and finally sprint cars.
Rose said he’s excited about his new role as the track’s promoter.
“The history of this place is just so cool, and the promoters they had last year, they did a lot to it and fixed the place up, and that was great on that part,” Rose said. “So I’m kind of excited about getting started into it and another chapter of my racing stuff that’s going on.”
The track’s schedule begins this season with the USAC Sumar Classic on April 16. The Tony Hulman Classic will be held May 23. The Indiana Sprint Week Race will take place July 26.
For information about events at the track, visit the Terre Haute Action Track Facebook page or follow the track on Twitter.
Upcoming local race schedule
Today: Weather permitting, Lawrenceburg Speedway – season opener – USAC National Sprint Cars, plus modifieds and hornets. For information, visit lawrenceburgspeedway.com.
Today: Weather permitting, Brownstown Speedway – Opening Points Night – Pro late models, pure stocks, super stocks, hornets and crown vics. For information, visit brownstownspeedway.com.
Today: Weather permitting, Florence Speedway – 47th annual Spring 50 for late models $10,000 to win, plus crate late models, modifieds and hornets. For information, visit florencespeedway.com.
Sunday: Lincoln Park Speedway – season opener – sprints, modifieds, super stocks and bombers. Hot laps at 2 p.m. with racing at 3 p.m.
Friday: Circle City Raceway – season opener – crate late models, modifieds, pro legends, mod lites and super stocks. For information, visit circlecityraceway.com.
Friday: Bloomington Speedway – season opener for 100th year of racing – 410 sprints, modifieds, super stocks and hornets. For information, visit racebloomingtonspeedway.com.
April 8: Brownstown Speedway – inaugural Ira Bastin Memorial for the Northern Allstars Late Model Dirt Series, plus super stocks, pure stocks and hornets.
April 8: Lawrenceburg Speedway – 410 sprints, modifieds, pure stocks and hornets.
April 8: Florence Speedway – crate late models, modifieds, sport mods, hornets and crown vics.
April 8: Paragon Speedway – 410 sprints, super stocks, bombers and hornets.
James Essex writes a motorsports notebook for The Tribune. Send comments to [email protected]