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Iowa Speedway Sponsor Summit: ‘It’s a speedway thing’

Published: Friday, April 25, 2014 11:24 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, April 25, 2014 11:44 a.m. CDT
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(Bob Eschliman/Daily News)
Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small speaks during the speedway's annual Sponsor Summit at MB2 Raceway in Grimes on Thursday.

Iowa Speedway hosted its annual Sponsor Summit at MB2 Raceway in Grimes on Thursday.

The sponsors got a first-hand look into the business side of auto racing from executives representing NASCAR and Iowa Speedway. The sponsors also had a chance to learn about the business from a driver’s perspective, as NASCAR and former IndyCar driver Sam Hornish Jr. told his story, from getting into racing with go-karts at age 11 and IndyCar and NASCAR.

“It was an amazing summit. I have never seen a racetrack do an actual sponsor summit,” Hornish said. “It’s a very unique idea.”

Iowa Speedway and NASCAR representatives gave an overview of the state of NASCAR. Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small gave an introduction on who he is and announcing the first weekend will be “Wide Opening Weekend.”

“We will be making more announcements about the specifics of the first race weekend next week,” Small said. “It will truly be an exciting weekend.”

Small gave a teaser indicating many things have been lining up for the 2015 season at the Iowa Speedway.

“We have multiple music groups and festivals interested in coming to the Iowa Speedway next year,” he said. “We’re working through the specifics and will announce more information as it comes available.”

Iowa Speedway presented the new marketing campaign for the 2014 season titled “There’s a Race Fan in All of Us.” The opening commercial took place in a grocery store with a lady seeing an open checkout lane.

“Everybody races at some point in their day, and we want to show that many more people are truly race fans,” Small said.

After lunch, MB2 Raceway opened up the track for the first running of the Iowa Speedway Sponsor Summit 100. Four teams were assembled to break in the new track before the opening of MB2 Raceway for today.

The staff at the speedway gave awards for the top three fastest teams, most cautious driver, craziest driver and fastest amateur time. Sam Hornish Jr. had the fastest time on the day with an 18.134 second lap time and in a close second was Iowa Speedway Vice President of Sales and Marketing Chuck Spicer with 18.315 seconds.

The race was filled with bloopers, with minor injuries of pride had on the track by a few, but memories were made in the first year of the Iowa Speedway Sponsor Summit, which could only be described in one phrase.

“It’s a speedway thing,” Small said.

Staff writer Zach Johnson may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at zjohnson@newtondailynews.com.

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