August 15, 2022

The Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend brought people, dollars back to the greater Newton area


When Hy-Vee announced its sponsorship of a race weekend at the Iowa Speedway about a year ago, they said it would be an event. That it was. From the busiest weekend at the airport to no hotel rooms to be found, thousands of people descended on Newton and gave some life back to the track.

“It was our largest weekend,” president of Midland Aircraft and manager of the Newton Municipal Airport Ethan Nasalroad said. “The weekend was our busiest not only in operation but number of aircrafts.”

For the weekend, there were 57 aircrafts that came to the airport with 38 of them being jets. While all 57 weren’t in Newton at the same time, the airport stayed busy from Wednesday to Monday of the race weekend.

“We had more than 260 labor hours from Wednesday to Sunday,” Nasalroad said. “We enjoyed it, it is exciting. What is really exciting is they are all very appreciative. We get a lot of compliments that this is the best place we go in and out of. That is exciting to us and that makes us want to keep going.”

For total operations, which is an aircraft landing and then departing the airport, clocked 80, but that number could go up as they assess the weekend further. That much activity keeps everyone on their toes but they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It is a high stress, Sunday is the busiest day, a lot of high stress and anxiety of is everybody going to fit,” Nasalroad said. “It goes form stress to thankfulness and spend the next six hours coming off of a high.”

Don’t ask who is on those planes, nobody with Johnson Aviation will tell you. But given the names on the track and those who took the stage, is it safe to say the airport saw high profile passengers throughout the weekend.

“We don’t tell who was in or out,” Nasalroad said. “We don’t ask who is on the plane.”

Along with the airport, the rest of Newton and Jasper County felt the benefits of the race weekend. The City of Newton reported in Jasper County, all hotels, campgrounds and other lodging facilities were at full capacity along with local grocery and convenience stores taking on an increase in customers throughout the weekend.

“The Iowa Speedway facility has never looked as beautiful, purposeful and fan-friendly as it did for the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend,” City of Newton Economic Development Specialist and former track GM Craig Armstrong said. “The Hy-Vee hospitality suites on Turns 1 and 4, the incredible variety of food trucks, the colorful and festive signage and, of course, the A-list concerts, transformed our beloved hometown racetrack into a gleaming, exciting, World Class entertainment facility.Newton couldn’t have been prouder of this amazing event weekend and we look forward to next year’s edition.”

With 60 percent of the Hy-Vee INDYCAR Race Weekend attendees coming from out-of-town, area restaurants also saw a boost. The bump is anticipated to continue with the Pyrotechnics Guild International Convention beginning Aug. 2 and running through Aug. 6.

“Not only were the actual dollars spent significant, but the visibility of Newton in the state and beyond was invaluable,” Jasper County Economic Development Corporation Director Jeff Davidson said. “Des Moines sports talk radio was abuzz Monday about what an incredible weekend it was. I happened to be in a Hy-Vee in Cedar Falls Tuesday and a cashier who had attended was talking about it.

“Without exception people are amazed at what a pleasant, first class weekend it was; both the racing and the entertainment.”

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or