Rollie Helmling of Vincennes, Ind., one of USAC's most respected car entrant participants of the past two decades, has been named to succeed retiring John Capels as President of the United States Auto Club. He will assume his new position...
Rollie Helmling of Vincennes, Ind., one of USAC's most respected car entrant participants of the past two decades, has been named to succeed retiring John Capels as President of the United States Auto Club. He will assume his new position of president-elect effective December 3 and will work with Capels to facilitate the transition during the months of October and November, with ratification of his Presidency expected as part of the annual USAC Board of Directors meeting in Indianapolis, Ind. in January.
Helmling, 50, has an extensive background in business and in motorsports. He was President and owner of Harold's Supermarkets, Inc., which he recently sold to the Kroger Company, the nation's largest food retailer, and now co-owns Andretti Helmling Automotive Corporation, which operates CARQUEST auto parts stores. He also served as President of the Board of Directors of the Indiana Retail Grocer's Association and as Chairman of the Indiana Retail Grocers Association Trade Show. A Director on numerous civic Boards, Rollie also served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Ambank Corp. from 1986-1998 and on the Board of Directors of United Federal Savings & Loan from 1976-1986.
A USAC licensed Midget Car entrant from 1978-1994, his cars were driven by many of the top names in the sport, with Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and John Andretti posting major victories. Gordon's posted eight victories in Helmling-owned cars on his way to the 1990 USAC National Midget driving title, including the prestigious "Night Before the 500" at Indianapolis Raceway Park and the "Hut Hundred" at Terre Haute, Ind. Gordon also won the "Night Before the 500" in 1989 and in 1991 drove one of Helmling's cars to victory in the "4-Crown Nationals" at Rossburg, Ohio. Stewart also won the "Hut Hundred" for Rollie in 1993. Rollie's 15 USAC Midget Car wins started with Dana Carter's 1983 victory indoors at Dayton, Ohio's Hara Arena and other Helmling wins were posted by John Andretti and Johnny Parsons. In 1990 Gordon also drove one of Rollie's cars to victory in the prestigious Belleville Midget Nationals in Kansas.
Other Helmling drivers in USAC competition included Mel Kenyon, Stan Fox, Ken Schrader, Larry Rice, Eric Gordon, Andy Michner and Chuck Gurney. Most recently, Rollie teamed with Andretti to field a Silver Crown championship car with CARQUEST sponsorship for former USAC Western Sprint Car Champion Bud Kaeding, who nearly won last year's "Tony Bettenhausen 100" at Springfield, Ill., finishing second to eventual winner Jack Hewitt.
Among Rollie's distinctive awards are an Outstanding Alumni Award from Vincennes University, a Citizen of the Year Award from the Vincennes Jaycees and a Distinguished Alumni Award from Vincennes Lincoln High School, as well as a Mechanic of the Year award from the Hoosier Auto Racing Fans.
Mr. Helmling owns a Bachelor's degree from the Indiana University School of Business. He and his wife Carol have three daughters, Heather, Holly and Hillary.