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Local Sports

IndyCar returns to Iowa Speedway “Under the Lights” in 2020

Battling up front early in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway are Team Penske teammates pole winner Simon Pagenaud (Menards No. 22) and Will Power (Verizon No. 12). The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series Iowa 300 will have a true under the lights start time 8 p.m. at the Newton racetrack.
Battling up front early in the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway are Team Penske teammates pole winner Simon Pagenaud (Menards No. 22) and Will Power (Verizon No. 12). The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series Iowa 300 will have a true under the lights start time 8 p.m. at the Newton racetrack.

Mother Nature made sure the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series Iowa 300 was indeed a night race, as billed. After severe weather delayed the race four-and-a half hours past original start time of 6 p.m. on a July Saturday, the IndyCar drivers were given the command to start their engines.

Josef Newgarden of Team Penske reigned over the 22-car field to claim victory at 1:14 a.m. Sunday morning.

Well in 2020, NTT IndyCar Series fans will get what they have asked for at Iowa Speedway: the return of a true night race. IndyCar and speedway officials announced Monday that next year’s race in Newton will take the green flag under the lights.

The NTT IndyCar Series Iowa 300 will be held the evening of Saturday, July 18. The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series Iowa 300 will fall between the Streets of Toronto and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on the schedule — the 13th race of the IndyCar season.

“The return of a night race for IndyCar at Iowa Speedway is exciting news for our race fans, sponsors, and the entire region,” Iowa Speedway President David Hyatt said. “The cars look great under the lights, and the competition should be even more fierce given what should be cooler conditions.

“Our track provides some of the best racing you’ll see anywhere, which will be good for attendance. This will be a can’t-miss weekend for all race fans.”

The return to a true night race at Iowa was the result of fans requesting it. The race will begin at 8 p.m. on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network. And for fans and drivers, it is nostalgic, hearkening back to the first race many of them experienced … a night race on a short track.

The series hasn’t held a race that began after dusk at Iowa Speedway since 2015, and drivers and fans are welcoming it. Not only does it look more vibrant — and create sparks as cars bottom out — it also makes for better racing. Tires grip better when the track is cooler. Fans also avoid sweltering conditions during summer afternoons.

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