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NASCAR is Returning to Iowa in 2024: Is This the Right Move?

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Joshua Lipowski

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Another 2024 schedule bomb was dropped on Monday when Jeff Gluck reported that Iowa Speedway will be on the 2024 Cup Series schedule. Is this the right decision for NASCAR to make, especially considering the options that were once floated around for 2024?

Why would NASCAR even go there?

When people began speculating about the 2024 schedule, Iowa Speedway did not seem like much of an option. It is a short track, and the short track product has not been well-received. It is also just outside of Des Moines, which is not a major market by any stretch.

However, the IndyCar weekends hosted at the venue the last two seasons have proven there is a market for racing in Iowa. There are race fans there, and they will come out to support the track as long as racing is there. It is also a NASCAR-owned race track, which is good for NASCAR considering that the track can replace Auto Club Speedway.

Iowa also moves NASCAR closer to some other untapped markets, even though it’s still a hike to some of these locations. Iowa Speedway is closer to Denver, Colorado than any other race track in terms of driving time, but still nine and a half hours. It also puts another race not too far from Kansas City and St. Louis, which are both markets that have supported NASCAR well in recent years.

Jeff Gluck admitted in his report that this was likely not NASCAR’s first option. It’s understandable why, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. However, that’s probably the main reason why Iowa got a date to begin with. It was a secondary option when something else fell through, which Gluck theorizes is Montreal. Speaking of Montreal and the 2024 schedule…

How does this impact the 2024 Schedule?

The date for Iowa still remains a mystery, but speculation is that the race would be run in mid-June. Darian Gilliam shared a screenshot from Iowa Speedway’s website that said the race weekend would be scheduled for June 15th-16th. I can confirm this was on the website, but it has since been taken down.

June 15th-16th is the third weekend of June, which puts this race around the same time of year as the Sonoma race and the off-week, assuming the dates are accurate. This potentially means that Sonoma could end up being moved into the spring, just like has been speculated. This also brings in the potential that the off-weekend that was once in June could be gone, thus showing evidence that NASCAR will take an Olympic break.

It also shows that Montreal is probably not going to be on the 2024 calendar. With Iowa taking the one open date, it’s hard to see where else Montreal could slot into the 2024 schedule without taking a race date away from another track.

Obviously, many NASCAR fans would prefer Montreal to Iowa for many reasons, however, it does not seem, based on Gluck’s reporting, that this would be Iowa taking a date away from Montreal. It seems that it would be Montreal not working, and Iowa comes to take its’ place.

If that is the case, then maybe Iowa is a good option. However, it may not be as exciting to the casual viewer as a race in a place like Montreal.

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Joshua Lipowski

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