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Will NASCAR Return to Iowa In 2025?

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What’s Happening?

NASCAR’s first Cup Series race weekend at Iowa Speedway was a home run success, with a sellout crowd and an entertaining race. However, neither the track nor NASCAR officially announced a return, despite the track taking renewal deposits for 2025 on its website. Will NASCAR go back to Iowa in 2025, or will this be a one-year wonder?

  • Iowa Speedway hosted its first NASCAR Cup Series weekend in 2024 to a sellout crowd. NASCAR owns the 0.875-mile oval. However, the track was seemingly added to the calendar late in the schedule development cycle.
  • The 2025 NASCAR schedule has not yet been released, but rumors continue to run rampant. This calls into question whether or not Iowa fits into the schedule long-term.
  • Fans would love to see Iowa return to the schedule in 2025. A fully repaved Iowa could produce a very entertaining race, and the local fans would likely support it.

How Iowa Joined the Schedule

Throughout most of 2023, Iowa was not considered a serious possibility for the 2025 Cup Series schedule. Montreal was the hot topic of the summer, with Adam Stern reporting in June that both NASCAR and the track were discussing a future race there. This was to replace the open date held by the outgoing Auto Club Speedway

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It wasn’t until that fall that Iowa became a public possibility, and the race was officially announced in October 2023. Iowa being a potential last-minute addition is further evidenced by its repave. Jeff Gluck of The Athletic reported in a recent episode of “The Teardown” that Iowa was partially repaved because NASCAR did not have enough time to repave all of it, which makes the most sense if the Iowa race wasn’t a plan until late in the game.

NASCAR disputed this rumor during their “State of the Sport” press conference in November 2023 at Phoenix Raceway. Steve O’Donnell had this to say.

I wanted to dispel kind of some of the rumors that were out there that Iowa came in in place of Montreal. It’s not the case. In an ideal world we actually wanted to potentially bring on both racetracks.

Steve O’Donnell

Certainly, there is a scenario where Iowa and Montreal could both coexist on the calendar. It would require taking a race away from an existing track, but it could have happened.

That said, to the general public, Iowa’s addition to the schedule felt a bit random. It makes some wonder whether or not Iowa does have a future in NASCAR.

The Future of Iowa Speedway

Strangely, on social media, Iowa did not announce a NASCAR return for 2025, but, they are taking renewals on their website. Gateway announced they would return to the 2025 NASCAR schedule in a now-deleted post and are also taking renewals for 2025. The post has been archived in the Reddit thread below.

Given that Gateway deleted its social media post regarding the 2025 schedule, maybe Iowa is indeed on the schedule, and NASCAR wants both entities to wait to announce until the full schedule is announced. To this point, every race date that has been officially announced has a reason to be announced. Those races are listed below.

  • 2/16: Daytona 500 (Season Opener)
  • 5/18: All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro
  • 5/25: Coca-Cola 600 (Amazon’s first race)
  • 6/28: Atlanta (In-Season Tournament opener AND TNT’s first race)
  • 8/24 Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona
  • 11/2: Season Finale at Phoenix

Each race on that list is unique for one reason or another, whether it’s a “Crown Jewel” race (Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600), a special event (All-Star Race, Season Finale, and In-season Tournament), or just an obvious date (Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona). NASCAR is very strategic with which race dates they drop before the schedule is released, and both Iowa and Gateway are fairly standard races at this point.

However, the speculation still runs rampant about what could happen on the 2025 schedule. In the spring, Jordan Bianchi of The Athletic reported that NASCAR is likely racing in Mexico, potentially taking a date away from Richmond, whereas racing in Canada is more uncertain. If Canada joins, that date has to come from somewhere, and that date has to be in the summer.

Of all races in June, July, and August 2024, Richmond is the only track with a second date on the schedule, and they could be losing a date to Mexico. Aside from that, there are tracks in or near critical markets like the Chicago Street Race, Gateway (St Louis), Sonoma (the only race in California), Nashville, Indianapolis, and Michigan (near Detroit). The other two races are tough to take away, too, since Pocono sold out in 2023, New Hampshire is New England’s only Cup Series race, and Daytona is Daytona.

Looking critically at Iowa, the track is not in a major market. Iowa has no major professional sports teams, and the closest major city to the track is Des Moines, which is still a fairly small market. The track also has 30,000 permanent seats, which is small by Cup Series standards. Nashville, for example, holds around 40,000 people when NASCAR comes.

Iowa could be the easiest line to cut, as sad as it would be. Maybe if the Chicago Street Race gets caught up in political turmoil, it could be dropped, but it’s tough to see if that’s even possible.

Iowa did exactly what it needed to do to earn a Cup Series date for 2025. However, was it enough?

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

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