NEWTON — Potential is a word used quite a bit by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France when discussing Iowa Speedway.
“It is an established venue in a NASCAR-rich fan region. They’ve had a lot of success at Iowa Speedway over the years. We’ve always liked the facility and recognized its potential for motorsports and non-motorsports events,” France told the Daily News in a telephone interview Thursday.
NASCAR purchased Iowa Speedway in 2013 through a wholly-owned subsidiary named Iowa Speedway LLC. The state-of-the-art 0.875-mile asphalt paved tri-oval race track and motorsports facility was designed by NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace.
Iowa Speedway has produced action-packed, competitive racing in its history of hosting NASCAR Nationwide Series races. In eight series races, the speedway has produced five different winners and five Coors Light Pole winners.
“We’re excited about being in Newton and in Iowa, in general. We’re also all excited about this weekend. The staff we have in place at Iowa Speedway has worked hard over the past six months getting ready for this weekend,” France said.
France talked to media the week after the formal announcement of NASCAR’s purchase of Iowa Speedway in early December. NASCAR became the facility’s third ownership ground since it opened in 2006.
When neither International Speedway Corporation or Speedway Motorsports Corporation were able to purchase the track, NASCAR stepped in.
“The public companies that are in the space, for various reasons, the timing wasn’t right for them, but the time was right for us. So, from a NASCAR standpoint, we’ll get to give some stability to a facility that needs that, number one,” France said.
France reached out and named 28-year-old Jimmy Small as president of Iowa Speedway.
“Jimmy is energetic and a very quick study. He fits in well with Iowa Speedway and the community of Newton. He is a good community ambassador for our sport,” France said. “We are about taking care of the race fans and making sure they have a great experience at every NASCAR event.”
Growing the fan base of motorsports, and NASCAR specifically is important to France and his organization. He said Iowa Speedway has always had a great fan base. Fan-focused initiatives have been developed by Small and his staff at Iowa Speedway, France said.
“NASCAR can expand things at a faster clip than past ownership groups. They did a lot of things right here over the years. We’re just building on that to provide a great place to experience motorsports and non-motorsports events,” France said.
“The Newton community and racing fans across the state of Iowa have supported Iowa Speedway from the beginning. We’re excited to be part of that community.”