When NASCAR cancelled their three annual races at Iowa Speedway for the 2020 season under the guise of COVID-19 things seemed off.
NASCAR could have hosted their races at Iowa with fans. The local government in Newton, Iowa would have allowed a limited capacity crowd at the 15 year old race track. NASCAR could have run an Xfinity doubleheader with the annual Truck Series race. Instead, the governing body chose to cancel the races.
CLOSED, Or Something
It now appears that Iowa Speedway will be closed. Last weekend’s IndyCar doubleheader could very well have been the final swan song for the track Rusty Wallace helped build.
Since Iowa Speedway opened in 2005 the 7/8-mile track has faced financial instability. Six years after opening the Manatt family who built the track sold the property to the Clement family (Featherlite trailers) while Rusty Wallace continued to hold a minority share. Two years after the Clement family purchased Iowa Speedway they ran into financial issues with the track.
In 2013, International Speedway Corporation (NASCAR) stepped in and purchased the track adding it to their robust roster. When that occurred many expected Iowa to land a NASCAR Cup Series race. Then NASCAR CEO Brian France had other ideas and locked all current tracks into a 5-year deal. In doing so the only way Iowa could land a race would be if ISC transferred one of their existing dates to Iowa. That never happened.
Flash forward to 2020 and it appears the track will likely be closing. When NASCAR announced they were canceling their races for the 2020 season the track released the majority of their staff. Only a skeleton crew was retained to operate the track for the IndyCar/ARCA weekend.
It’s a shame to see Iowa go. It was the first race track to be designed and built in the SAFER barrier era. Iowa doesn’t have concrete walls with a SAFER barrier in front of it. Instead the track only has SAFER barriers with reinforcement behind. Iowa was innovative, it just got lost along the way.
Everything so far has lined up to indicate something will be happening with Iowa Speedway. Whether it is sold to another promoter or sold to a developer, it appears Iowa’s time on the NASCAR schedule has unfortunately come to an end.
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