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What Happened With the Iowa Repave?

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What’s Happening?

As the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Iowa Speedway for the first time in series history this weekend, fans might be surprised at what they see. The old, worn-out surface was partially repaved in the off-season, with the bottom two lanes of all four turns sporting fresh, new asphalt. While this was originally panned by fans and drivers alike, Jeff Gluck of The Athletic revealed the reason behind the repave on the most recent episode of “The Teardown.”

  • Iowa Speedway is the newest addition to the NASCAR Cup Series calendar for 2024. The repave was never officially announced by NASCAR, and most discovered it during a Goodyear Tire Test in late May.
  • Gluck reports that this repave was necessary because of the timeframe in which NASCAR announced Iowa was joining the schedule. What made this time frame such a big issue?
  • Fans did not like the repave when it was unveiled. Repaves often produce lackluster racing, and this one, in particular, could make the racing groove exceptionally narrow.

Why Did NASCAR Repave When They Did?

Jeff Gluck was in Sonoma this weekend, covering the race weekend for The Athletic. Following the negative response of the half-repave, which Gluck called “Frankensteinish”, Gluck asked NASCAR why the repave happened the way it did.

[NASCAR’s] explanation actually does make sense. When they announced that they were going to do this last summer, basically, they only had a certain amount of time before it gets too cold to pave in Iowa to get things done. So they had to decide, ‘we don’t have time to do the entire track, and guess what, we’ve also got to test before June. We can’t just show up in June. We have to have enough time to have a tire test, to have a confirmation to decide what tire were bringing to the race.’ So it had to be done by May

Jeff Gluck

Gluck is generous with the timeline in stating that Iowa was announced in the summer of 2023 because wasn’t announced until October 3, 2023. That gave NASCAR roughly seven and a half months, at most, to complete a full repave of the track, with three months of that being in the dead of winter. Realistically, NASCAR would have had about four and a half months, if even that much time, to repave Iowa.

Atlanta Motor Speedway, a 1.5-mile track, said that its reconfiguration took 163 days or around five and a half months. North Wilkesboro announced its repave in November 2023 and completed it in March 2024, about four months later. Iowa is not nearly as long as Atlanta, but it’s longer than North Wilkesboro.

The timeline to repave Iowa was quite tight, and it seemingly doesn’t allow for any setbacks. NASCAR seemingly determined that the safest thing to do was to repave what they could and solve the current problems before the Cup Series came to town. Brad Keselowski even said he believes the repave will help the Next-Gen car because there will be fewer bumps.

A lot [changed] with the track surface. It used to have this really wicked tunnel bump down in [turns] and two, and now that’s been kind of taken care of, which is nice because the Next-Gen car doesn’t really play well with bumps, kind of like an IndyCar. But I think it’ll make the car more raceable

Brad Keselowski

It seems NASCAR knew they had to repave the track, and they did what they could within the given time frame. Repaves are a necessary evil, and it seems, based on Keselowski’s comments, that there was at least a reason for NASCAR to repave Iowa when they did.

Gluck did say he has an article about this coming out this week, so we will have to wait until then for further details.

What do you think about all this? Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget that you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

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