Newton may host pair of IndyCar races in 2012 season
A dinner conversation between Iowa Speedway President Jerry Jauron and IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard two days before this year’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 raised a unique proposal for the Newton race facility — the potential for a doubleheader race weekend in coming seasons.
According to Jauron, the two groups are in early negotiations to have two separate 250-lap Indy races at the Speedway on a Saturday and Sunday. Both events would have separate qualifying sessions and both races would count toward a driver’s overall points total in the series.
“The event would be such a fast turn around and it’s never been done before, so the odds are probably against us,” Jauron said. “But eventually Randy would like to see it here in Newton. They brought the idea to us.”
The facility president says that he “does not want to put the cart before the horse,” but it’s a proposition he and others at the speedway are excited about. A decision for the 2012 season is expected by Aug. 15.
Currently discussing the proposed race weekend with team owners such as Roger Penske and Mario Andretti, Bernard is weighing the strain a doubleheader race would put on drivers and equipment. The Firestone Twin 275s, a similar event put on at the Texas Motor Speedway, takes one IndyCar race and splits it into two separace days, but Jauron says the Iowa Speedway doubleheader would actually be two separate races both contributing to points standings.
“The only thing we can do is contribute to our own destiny and put on good racing,” he said.
Another issue that could potentially park the two-day event is time constraint in the IndyCar schedule. A two- to three- week time period is needed for the racing series’ international races, which could make preparation for an extensive two-race weekend at the Iowa Speedway difficult, said Jauron.
“If we don’t see it in 2012 there is a possibility we could see it in 2013,” he said.
The Speedway recently signed a three-year contract extension with IndyCar solidifying the series presence in Newton for the foreseeable future.
On the NASCAR Nationwide circuit, Saturday’s U.S. Cellular 250 presented by the Enlist Weed Control System has a sold-out grandstand, but standing-room only tickets are still available.
Mike Mendenhall can be contacted at 792-3121 ext. 422 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.