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Deja Vu: May Nationwide race gets top honor from NASCAR

Published: Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 11:37 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 11:44 a.m. CST
(Shane Lucas/Daily News)
Cars line up for the start of the Pioneer Hi-Bred 250 at Iowa Speedway on May 20. The race, which was won by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., was named a "Top Race" by the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

For the second time in as many days, officials at the Iowa Speedway in Newton are basking in some postseason honors from the top race sanctioning body in the world.

This time, Iowa Speedway was touted for hosting one of the three 2012 Top Races on the Nationwide Series schedule. There are 34 races on the Nationwide schedule, one of which was the May 20 Pioneer Hi-Bred 250.

“We are literally overwhelmed that both of NASCAR’s national series’ racing at our track have rated Iowa Speedway as the ‘top race’ of the year,” Iowa Speedway CEO Doug Fritz said. 

“Top Race” ratings are given to races based on both competition and entertainment value. And, much like the rating for Iowa Speedway’s Camping World Truck Series race, the drama in Newton involved one of NASCAR’s top up-and-coming drivers, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The reigning Nationwide Series champion completed a trifecta, having won both of the Nationwide races at Newton’s 7⁄8-mile tri-oval in 2011, followed by a third victory in the May 20 race this year. And while Stenhouse dominated the event, fans saw each of the top six drivers, and all four manufacturers, lead at least one lap.

Stenhouse’s 1.465-second margin of victory over NASCAR veteran Elliott Sadler wound up mirroring the final 2012 season championship standings.

“But I have to say, this is no fluke. The racing at Iowa Speedway is simply the closest, most competitive and most entertaining that you will find anywhere,” Fritz added. “In any case, we are grateful to NASCAR for honoring us twice this week, and we look forward to another great season of NASCAR racing in 2013.”

Bob Eschliman can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 423 or via email at bschliman@newtondailynews.com.

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