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Local Sports

Track Talk: The season is ‘green’ at Iowa Speedway

After a long, cold, seemingly interminable winter, ‘green’ is popping up everywhere in Newton, and the racing season at Iowa Speedway is finally underway.

The ‘green’ to which I am referring is both the vibrant color of the grass growing profusely around our racetrack facility, as well as the flags that were waving from our front-stretch starter’s stand last weekend.

NASCAR had returned to central Iowa with the K&N Pro Series East vs. West challenge, the Casey’s General Store 150 on Friday, June 7, and the show produced the first winner from the West division since the first Iowa Speedway K&N Pro Series race in May of 2007. The 41-car field was very competitive throughout, and the atmosphere was electric when the first green flag of 2013 was waved.

Although the Saturday, June 8, DuPont Pioneer 250 Nationwide Series race was delayed by persistent rain showers to Sunday morning, it was very entertaining show from start to finish, and pole-sitter and fan favorite Austin Dillon had his potent Chevy out front early and often. But the man who drove to Pizza Ranch Victory Lane was none other than 2012 Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne, who reeled in and passed Dillon near the end, much to the delight of the crowd.

So now we all take a collective deep breath, pause for a few moments to reflect on the results and “learnings” from this past weekend’s season opening races, and dive headlong into the final two events in this busy month of June, as the excitement of Open Wheel racing returns once again to “America’s Place to Race.”

Saturday, June 22, will be here in the blink of an eye, and we will be practicing, qualifying and racing with the three 50-lap IndyCar Qualifying Heats in the afternoon, and watching the sparks fly during the Sukup 100 Firestone Indy Lights clash in the early evening. It’s racing on fast-forward, and this annual Rite of Speed is one of our most anticipated weekends of the year.

Saturday will be a full day and evening of excitement and entertainment, and race fans can choose among a wide variety of additional activities, including driving Rusty Wallace Racing Experience go-karts at the north end of the concourse, or enjoying a cold beer in our north-end Beer Tent, with a great view of the race track. By the way, the Beer Tent is open both Saturday and Sunday, and there is no cover charge to get in, even when the live bands are playing!

It’s hard to believe it, but the Sunday afternoon, Iowa Corn Indy 250, presented by the DEKALB brand, will be the 7th annual edition of this great event. We are all proud and yet humbled by the fact that our wonderful partners at the Iowa Corn Growers Association and Iowa Corn Promotion Board have been steadfast in their support of our IZOD IndyCar race since the very first one in June of 2007.

New this year as a presenting sponsor is Monsanto’s DEKALB brand, and we are delighted that they have chosen to associate their venerable brand of seed corn, which has been a top choice of so many Iowa corn producers, with our Iowa Corn Indy 250 speedfest. It’s always gratifying to welcome new promotional partners who are as excited about their involvement as are the folks from Monsanto!

There is much to do in a relatively short period of time to prepare for yet another big event weekend, especially after the unusual challenges of our first ‘rescheduled’ race in seven years of operation this past weekend. But our amazing Iowa Speedway staff was more than up to the challenges, and our focus is now on the numerous details to ready the World’s Fastest Short Track for the world’s fastest oval track racecars.

And now we offer to all of you, the race fans who love IndyCar racing as much as we do, the opportunity to see these incredible machines – piloted by such iconic racing stars as Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay — on arguably the most entertaining racetrack on Planet Earth: Iowa Speedway in Newton.

Your ticket for this high-energy adrenaline charge can be had for as little as $20 and it’s about as easy as it can be to get one. Just log on to, click on “Tickets”, and make your selection. Or, if you prefer, give us a call at 866-RUSTY-GO (787-8946), or visit the Ticket Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 3333 Rusty Wallace Drive in Newton.

The grass at the track may be green and growing, but the excitement of IndyCar racing will be growing even faster when “green” is waved on June 22 & 23. Hope to see you all at Iowa Speedway!

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