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New Miss Iowa Speedway crowned

In her very first interview since being crowned Miss Iowa Speedway 2013, West Des Moines native Haley Zahren couldn’t contain her excitement.

“I just got crowned last night (Friday) and I’m pretty shocked,” Zahren said. “Just to think that I applied for fun and I got to where I am. I am thankful for this opportunity.”

The contest is put on by the Iowa Speedway Foundation and is open to any unmarried woman enrolled in an accredited college or university for the 2013-2014 school year. The winner gets to represent Iowa Speedway during race weekends and also receives a $1,500 scholarship.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have selected some outstanding young women to represent us as Miss Iowa Speedway in the past,” said ISF Director Debb Smith.  “Since the Foundation is responsible for the selection process and supervision of Miss Iowa Speedway throughout the season, it is very important for us to attract the ‘best of the best’ among Iowa’s college-bound women.  That makes the final selection a little tougher, but we know that we’ll have a great representative in any case.”

Zahren is the ‘best of the best’ as far as this year’s candidates are concerned and has an impressive resume in addition to the pageant contestant looks.

She recently returned from a study abroad trip in Australia, she currently interns at Wells Blue Bunny Ice Cream as a quality assistant tech and is majoring in biology, with a business and chemistry minor and photography cluster at Morningside College in Sioux City.

“I want to go to vet school (after graduation),” Zahren said. “I’m probably going to apply to Iowa State (University) and Colorado State (University), but I’m not completely sure on the application process for that. I already completed a vet internship last year and that was super exciting.”

“I always tell people that the vet let me neuter my own cat,” Zahren continued. “That was so cool. He loves me the most though, so I don’t think he holds a grudge to bad.”

The title of Miss Iowa Speedway does come with some responsibilities and Zahren seemed ready for the challenge.

“I go around and talk to fans and get my picture taken with them,” Zahren said. “Some little kids asked for my autograph, so I have to practice that this summer. I help out the marketing crew and if they have tasks like showing garage tours to sponsors I do that. I visit the hospitality tent and visit the sponsors there.”

With four race weekends to go, Zahren is going to have a busy summer.

“I’m just looking forward to talking to fans, getting a little break from work and coming here and having a good time,” Zahren said. “It’s so exciting, I actually got to go in the pace car today for the first time. I think it was 115 mph and it was super fun and I was sitting in the back seat and there are no handles so I was holding on to the front seat.”

“I screamed a little, no big deal,” Zahren said jokingly. “Tires were squealing, but it was really fun just to sense the thrill the drivers have. I see why they enjoy it so much.”

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at

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