Photo: James Gilbert/Getty Images via NASCAR

Drivers Favor Future Return to Iowa Speedway after Entertaining Inaugural Event

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

NEWTON, Iowa – To return to Iowa in the future or not to return, that is the question.

Ask any of the drivers after Sunday’s inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race on the 0.875-mile oval, and the answer is an unequivocal “Yes.”

Throughout the weekend the grandstands were packed despite the heat and even with the doom and gloom and the unknown of how the partially repaved surface would race, the event delivered an entertaining race. One that will leave Cup Series schedule makers with a big decision on whether to grant this track and its multitude of fans another date or play the bad guy with it being one and done.

“I hope they have a Cup race here next year. I hope it comes back for a long time,” winner of the Iowa Corn 350, Ryan Blaney said afterwards.

“I think the atmosphere around here this weekend was awesome. When was the last time Xfinity and Trucks ran here? ’19.

“To have NASCAR back in general, let alone a Cup race, people were psyched about that here in the Midwest who might not get to go to other races throughout the year. Maybe when we left, they couldn’t travel to go to a race. It’s nice to bring that back.

“The stands being packed tells the story. From my side, that’s a cool atmosphere. Makes it seem like we’re doing something right coming to these tracks and putting on good shows for fans. They’re dedicated. That vibe I really like.

“Whenever you go to a new place, it’s a new feeling. You’re not really used to it all the time as opposed to tracks you go to every year, maybe twice a year. It’s always nice when we can experience this.”

Blaney’s comments were echoed through the driving corps, with many of them having one simple request: Finish the paving job before we hopefully return next year.

“I think it would be better if they repaved the rest of it,” said Blaney’s teammate Joey Logano, who joked about the wonkiness of the current partially repaved surface.

“Because at no point does the track have more than two-and-a-half, three lanes, like it’ll never be wider like it is. Ever. Ever. Probably just do the rest. You don’t have to do the whole race track. You can keep the straightaways like it is, that’s fine. I would probably just bring it to where it all ends at the same point.

“I don’t know. It looks like they ran out of money. I don’t know the story of what happened, but what’s two more lanes?”

Likewise, from top-five finisher Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who had race and won at Iowa in its previous iteration.

“I thought the track raced really well for new pavement. Hopefully we can get more new pavement from all the way to the top and we can maybe start running all over this place like they were when we were last coming here.

“I think they did a great job. We were all questioning it and whether you could pass. The tires gave up a little speed every now and then. Late in the run, early in the run. There’s always things that could be better, but they did a pretty good job.

“We were all nervous about it. I felt like watching the Xfinity race and then our race, we were able to pass a ton of cars, so that was huge. Pretty fun. All in all, a great weekend.”

Tags : , , , , ,

David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.