In the heart of the heartland, there’s a NASCAR-owned track that has yet to take the limelight. This track is the Iowa Speedway.
Construction of the Iowa Speedway was completed in 2006. The Newton, Iowa racetrack is approximately 38 miles from the state capital of Des Moines.
Nicknamed “The Fastest Short Track on The Planet,” this 7/8 mile oval is exactly what track designer and NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace envisioned.
The Iowa Speedway has hosted many events and races since its completion in 2006. With a capacity of 30,000 spectators, the track has already hosted everything from concerts to NASCAR-sanctioned races.
The ARCA Menards Series has been raced at the Iowa Speedway since 2006, apart from 2014, and there have been many big names who have won at the track in this series, including current Cup Series drivers Alex Bowman, Ty Dillon and Chase Briscoe.
In 2009, the Truck Series competed on the fast short track for the first time. The Iowa Speedway was on the series schedule every year through 2019, and current Cup Series drivers Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones and William Byron all found the winning lane.
It was back on the original schedule in 2020, but due to restrictions related to COVID-19, the 2020 race was moved to the street circuit of Daytona International Speedway.
The series has not returned to the Iowa Speedway since.
That hasn’t stopped riders from voicing their opinions on the matter. In 2021, the series drove at Knoxville Raceway for the first time. Knoxville Raceway is about 29 miles south of the Iowa Speedway.
After the 2021 race at the former, Sheldon Creed had this to say.
The Xfinity Series started at the Iowa Speedway in 2009 the same year as the Truck Series and even added a second race at the track in 2011. Current Cup Series drivers Blaney, Jones, Byron, Briscoe, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chris Buescher and Christopher Bell all found the winning lane.
Many drivers praised the Iowa Speedway, including Busch.
But just like the Truck Series, the pandemic was the reason the Xfinity Series stopped coming to the Iowa Speedway. The two races scheduled to be held there in 2020 have been moved to Kansas Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway, and the series has no plans to return to the track.
The Cup Series has never raced at the Iowa Speedway and has no plans to do so in the future. The only NASCAR series the track still has on the schedule is the ARCA Menards Series.
But there is one major racing series that has been going to Newton every year since 2007 except for 2021, and that series is the NTT IndyCar Series.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson, who is competing in his first full season with IndyCar, tested at the Iowa Speedway earlier this week. Johnson had nothing but good things to say about the track in a post-test interview.
“He drives really well,” he said. “It doesn’t matter which series is participating in it.”
So, with all the praise from some of the best drivers in the world, why isn’t NASCAR putting the Iowa Speedway on the schedule?
One reason could be the small market size. Although the Iowa Speedway is only about 38 miles from Des Moines, the state’s largest city, Newton has a population of only about 15,000.
With such a small market size, the advertising measures must be impeccable. A bright page in the track’s future is the HyVee IndyCar Race Weekend, set to take place next month (Friday, July 22 through Sunday, July 24).
The promotion team is putting on a show for the weekend that IndyCar is coming to town. They’ve booked four concerts with some of music’s biggest names including Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton.
Hopefully, the success of the promotions leading up to IndyCar races at the Iowa Speedway can show NASCAR that not only is there a lot of racing fans in Iowa, but that NASCAR belongs at the Iowa Speedway.