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More NASCAR Schedule Rumors: Iowa Speedway on the 2024 Calendar?

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In the most recent episode of Dirt Mo Media’s “Door Bumper Clear”, the subject of the 2024 schedule came up, and they brought up a surprising suggestion. If Montreal does not work out, then they suggested a “Slim chance” that Iowa Speedway could take that open slot on the calendar. However slim this might be, why would NASCAR even consider this?

Why NASCAR Would Go There?

The major reason why NASCAR would look at Iowa as an option is because it is a race track owned by NASCAR. The track was originally designed by Rusty Wallace before switching ownership hands and getting bought by NASCAR in 2013. Even though there was never a Cup Series date at Iowa Speedway, NASCAR saw enough value in it and the Xfinity and Truck Series races it held to buy the track.

It’s a race track that the local community supports, and, despite being left behind by NASCAR following the pandemic, the track has gotten an unlikely savior in the Hy-Vee supermarket. Hy-Vee helped to fund a doubleheader IndyCar weekend in 2022, an event that still continues to this day. The event also brought in major music acts Ed Sheeran, Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, and Zac Brown Band.

The track is still alive and well, and NASCAR still owns the track. Keep in mind that Montreal would essentially be taking the place of Auto Club Speedway, which is also owned by NASCAR. Therefore, a NASCAR-owned date would move to either a NASCAR-owned track or the event would be under NASCAR’s control.

Therefore, Iowa Speedway could theoretically slot into this spot on the calendar. However, there is a reason why they claimed the chances are slim. Why would NASCAR not go back to Iowa Speedway?

What Makes this a Longshot?

There are two major problems with Iowa Speedway. First off is the market size. The track is situated about a 40-minute drive outside of Des Moines, Iowa.

Des Moines is the 68th-ranked TV market in the United States, which is not as big as the markets NASCAR is trying to reach. As is evidenced by races such as the Chicago Street Race and the Clash at the Coliseum, NASCAR is looking to stay and expand into the top markets in the country, and Des Moines is not one of them. There is a reason why Iowa does not have a major professional sports franchise.

The other issue is the racing product. It is no secret that the short track racing product has been a struggle with the Next-Gen car, and Iowa Speedway is a 7/8 mile short track. Its closest comparison is Richmond Raceway when combining both the old racing surface with the track size. Iowa does have variable banking, which could allow for multi-groove racing.

That could mitigate some of the short track racing issues, but, in all likelihood, the race will probably play out similarly to a Next-Gen Richmond race. It will be all about track position and tire strategy, which some love, but some hate. It would not be as rough as the issues are at a track like Martinsville, but it won’t be a banger in all likelihood.

For that reason, Iowa Speedway is still an outside contender for the 2024 schedule. It might work out, but, it’s hard to see a scenario where NASCAR goes there unless in an absolute emergency scenario. However, it may be worth a shot to go there.

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