Iowa Lawmakers Luring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series With Expansion Plan
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For NASCAR fans in South Dakota, the closest to live Sprint Cup racing you can get is a 360-mile jaunt south to Kansas Speedway. Or you could head east about 575 miles and take in a race at Chicagoland Speedway.
Those tracks are similar in nature as 1.5-mile ovals that create amazing amounts of speed. In some circles those tracks have been derided as “cookie-cutter” tracks because there are so many facilities of that type where NASCAR currently race. Atlanta, Charlotte, Kentucky, Homestead and Texas come to mind.
Our friends in Iowa are trying to figure out a way to get their own brand of racing on the top circuit. The State Legislature is currently considering a plan that would funnel $8 million to the Iowa Speedway in Newton, just east of Des Moines. The track is about 320 miles from Sioux Falls.
The track capacity currently is 40,000 seats. The track hosts two NASCAR Nationwide Series events and one Camping World Truck Series competition. Even an IndyCar event is staged at the track. If Sprint Cup would ever consider joining the ranks, it would be a major accomplishment. However, for that to happen about 100,000 seats would be needed. Thus the need for a huge bump draft from the elected officials. Then there is the obstacle of actually being awarded a date on the schedule. NASCAR is not looking to add a date to the 36-event schedule. Nor will the sanctioning body be willing to horse trade with another track to let Iowa Speedway host a premier event. Would the drivers like to take one less trip to Pocono? Maybe. Also if there would be a track that has trouble putting fans in the stands for one or two events, there could be a shift.
The track is uniquely configured with a distance of .875 miles, which technically makes it a short track. Plus Rusty Wallace, the man who designed the place was extremely successful at races with distances of less than a mile around the joint. Not much of a stretch that he built it with his preferences in mind. As far as the action, one case could be made that it would be an upgrade for NASCAR as the Nationwide Series footage at the top would attest.
Nonetheless, the Iowa House of Representatives has yet to consider the measure that could put the plan in gear. The Hawkeye state will have to carefully consider if the investment will pan out because NASCAR could always say, “Let’s go race somewhere else, boys.” Boogity, Boogity, Boogity.