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Get To Know Newton 250, K&N Series race kicks off Iowa Speedway season

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 11:50 a.m. CST • Updated: Friday, May 16, 2014 11:57 a.m. CST

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Wide-Opening Weekend at Iowa Speedway is here.

The 2014 racing season at Iowa Speedway begins now. 

Today, NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers are on the track for a “Day Early” — teams are testing the track and their cars in preparation for Sunday’s Get To Know Newton 250 presented by Sherwin-Williams. Drivers have three sessions of on-track testing or “practice” today.

Saturday, Nationwide Series drivers will share practice runs on Iowa Speedway’s 7/8-mile track with the young up-and-coming drivers of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Late afternoon and evening gives way to the qualifying for Saturday night’s K&N Pro Series’ Casey’s General Stores 150 and Sunday’s Nationwide Series’ Get to Know Newton 250.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment since Dec. 12, which was our formal announcement last year heading into the holiday season,” Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small said. 

“We’ve been working hard ever since then just to prepare for this first weekend, what we’re calling our Wide-Opening Weekend, really kick off NASCAR ownership in our inaugural weekend with a bang. We have a number of initiatives we’ve been working on for months and have been releasing information about those for the last few weeks.  We can’t wait for Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.  We’re going to have an absolute blast out here.”

The Casey’s General Stores 150 is NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series combo race The 150-lap event is an annual clash between the K&N Pro Series East and West, and features a large group of NASCAR’s rising stars, including nine members of the 2014-2015 NASCAR Next class. 

The green flag drops on the Casey’s General Stores 150 at 8 p.m. at the Speedway. The K&N race will be telecast via tape delay, on May 24 at 7:30 a.m. CT on FOX Sports 1.

Being first is nothing rare for Cole Custer as he looks for another first in the Casey’s General Stores 150.

The 16-year-old NASCAR Next driver has four NASCAR K&N Pro Series wins to his credit in just 19 starts including one at Iowa Speedway in Newton last August. If Custer can find his way back the Pizza Ranch Victory Lane Saturday, he’ll become the first two-time winner of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West showdown event in its 10th edition.

Ben Rhodes brings an 18-point lead over fellow NASCAR Next driver Gray Gaulding in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, while Greg Pursley brings a 10-point lead over NASCAR Next driver Brandon McReynolds in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.

When Sunday rolls around, the starting positions for the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Get To Know Newton 250 will be set. The drivers will go to the Newton track in the morning, be introduced to the Speedway crowd at 12:30 p.m.

Then it will be “start your engines” for the 1 p.m. race, which will be televised live on ESPN.

Iowa Speedway also has been a great place for young driver’s to taste victory at the NASCAR level. Six drivers in Sunday’s field have won a NASCAR race at Iowa Speedway: Chase Elliott (K&N Pro Series East), Dylan Kwasniewski (K&N Pro Series East), Ryan Blaney (NCWTS), James Buescher (NCWTS), Trevor Bayne (NNS) and Elliott Sadler (NNS).

Elliott has a one-point lead over second-place Elliott Sadler and is just three points up on third-place Regan Smith. Though Elliott has a NASCAR K&N East win at Iowa, this weekend will be his NNS debut at the track. Sadler has three Coors Light Poles, one win and six top 10s, in six starts at Iowa. Smith has made two starts at Iowa, posting one top 10, but has an average finish of 9.0.

Bayne is fourth in this year’s standings coming into Sunday’s Get To Know Newton 250. Bayne posted a Nationwide win here last June. In five races at Iowa Speedway, Bayne has a pole position start, a win, two top 5 and three top 10 finishes.

Blaney, who already has two truck series and one NASCAR Nationwide Series wins on his resume, will be joining teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano in the field for Friday night’s race at Charlotte before racing in the Get To Know Newton 250. Blaney was the youngest winner to win a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race when he crossed the finish line first at Iowa Speedway in 2012. He made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut last Saturday at Kansas, finishing 27th.

Staff writer Jocelyn Sheets may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 432, or at jsheets@newtondailynews.com.

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