BEAN BLOSSOM — For decades sounds of motors filled the air in the northern part of the county as races took off at the Brown County Dragway in Bean Blossom.
Following the passing of owner Sandy Fields in early 2021, her children took over the business, but now the decision has been made to put the longtime business up for sale.
Fields purchased the dragway in 1993, a faithful keeper of the grounds and a memorable personality at the track up until her passing in February of 2021.
Her son and daughter, Billy Fields and Bandy Russell, took over after she passed. The siblings kept up with a busy race season that started in April of last year.
Russell works for Indiana University now, helping high school students get college credit for classes.
Billy does auto paint and body restoration and custom painting as his daytime job, with bikes on the side at his home. He also designs stock cars.
Sandy was able to operate the dragway with low overhead, a feat which not many tracks have been able to do, Billy said last year.
“There were times I saw her open it when the best option would not have been to. But she cared for her employees,” he said.
Their mother loved everyone at the track.
“It may have started out as a track, but everyone there was family,” Russell said last year when they took over.
“Everyone had some respect for all she was able to do on her own.”
Sandy had an entrepreneurial spirit, selling her ceramics in town, writing articles for “Coonhound Magazine,” and trading and selling mules and horses.
She purchased the dragway from their uncle, who had reopened it in the 1980s after it had sat dormant for a few years.
Carl Brummet built Brown County Dragway in 1963, five years after the oldest drag strip in the state opened in 1958. The Indianapolis Raceway Park began in the early 1960s.
The historic track is also likely one of the longest operated businesses in Brown County.
In 2012, Sandy became the owner of the land where the dragway sits after renting it for nearly 20 years.
Her son said that even while leasing it Sandy looked over the property like it was her own, finding pride in every aspect of the business.
After putting on a season themselves, Bandy said last week she found some of that same pride herself.
“Now I enjoyed so many moments at the track, and really got to know why mom loved it so much. The people are wonderful in so many ways and they love this place too,” she said.
With their own lives outside of the track, ultimately the decision was reached to sell the dragway and three other properties belonging to their mother.
Russell said there has been a lot of interest from potential buyers, they are just waiting on the letters of intent to come in.
“Some want to keep it the way it is, some want to make it the best in the Midwest,” she said. “All I hope is that whoever takes it over keeps it as one of the oldest track’s still running and continues to provide a place to race for all of the racing family that mom loved so much.”