This weekend was a unique one on the NASCAR schedule. With the Cup series taking a week off, the lower divisions had the opportunity to main event the racing weekend. In addition to watching the next generation showcase their talent, one underrated racetrack became a star for a weekend. Opening in 2006, Iowa Speedway has hosted the Camping World Trucks and NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2009. Eight years later, the 7/8 mile speedway has become a tradition on the Truck and Xfinity schedules, leaving fans with one major question... When will Iowa host a Cup race? In this post I will not be able to say when Iowa will run a Cup race, but why the track deserves one. In the next few paragraphs I will highlight three reasons why this young speedway belongs on the Cup schedule. Before we get going, remember to follow me on Twitter at @nascar_opinion, and let me know your thoughts on Iowa Speedway and this post! Now, let's get to it!
1. Great Facility.
Iowa Speedway has everything any other racetrack already has. The 7/8 mile speedway has a sizable pit road, garage and media booth, providing plenty of room for Cup teams and the necessary media. In addition, Iowa has experience in hosting major events. The speedway has hosted 9 IndyCar races along with 13 Xfinity Series and 8 Truck races. The biggest question at hand would be the seating arrangement. With only 30,000 seats surround the 0.875 mile speedway, NASCAR executives may hesitate to grant the racetrack a highly coveted Cup race. It is understandable that the small number of seats could keep the Cup series away, but with small renovations more seating could come quick. When looking at a map of the speedway, additional seating should be very doable with the right funding. Even if seats weren't added, it's not like bigger tracks are selling out. Perhaps NASCAR should stick with the 30,000 seats and see if a smaller seating arrange leads to more success in terms of ticket sales and selling out a venue. While the winner's purse may be smaller, allowing a limited amount of seats may be the secret to creating another valued tradition on the Cup schedule. Leaving the current seating would also lead to less parking and traffic frustrations on race day.
2. Fans want it.
If you ask any race fan to name a track that should get a Cup race, Iowa is near the top of every list. Fans have been questioning why the speedway hasn't hosted a Cup event for years, and each season just fuels the fire. In a decade where it seems money is more important than fans, this could be NASCAR's opportunity to satisfy the people who drive the sport (fans) and add Iowa to the Cup schedule. Fans enjoy new facilities, just look at the success of Kentucky Speedway. Kentucky has now become a staple track on the Cup schedule, drawing fans in since the inaugural event in 2011. Iowa also provides a unique form of racing, part short track, part speedway. The closest comparison would be Richmond International Speedway, but Iowa is a tenth of a mile longer and has slightly lower banking, providing a multi-style form of racing. The fact of the matter is, fans want something new on the schedule to lower the staleness of the Cup series... which leads me to my third and final point.
3. Cup series can become stale.
Daytona, Phoenix, Martinsville, Texas, Bristol, Richmond, Talladega, Kansas, Dover, Charlotte, Pocono, Michigan and New Hampshire are all tracks the Cup series visits twice on the current schedule. Most die-hard fans agree with many of these facilities hosting multiple events, but the same fans have a hard time understanding why tracks such as Michigan, Pocono and New Hampshire deserve more than one annual event. Adding a new track on the schedule could kill two birds with one stone, giving fans a new track to enjoy, and eliminating one of the more 'boring' races of the season. It's important to understand that these facilities may need the revenue from a second event, but tracks such as Darlington, Chicagoland and Homestead have survived for years hosting just one Cup race. It's no lie that the Cup series can become stale during the 40-week season, and adding a 24th track to the schedule could add a bit of freshness to the 10-month long season. New tracks are exciting to drivers, the media and most importantly the fans.
Thanks for reading! Honestly, I do believe Iowa will host a Cup race in the future. The new track agreements may force fans to wait a bit longer, but I foresee a future Cup event rolling in to Newton, IA. Remember that NASCAR purchased the track in late 2013, so any decisions will be made by NASCAR officials. Let me know what you think!!! Feel free to comment on this post and as always remember to follow my Twitter account (@nascar_opinion)! NASCAR Opinion will also start hosting live and recorded podcasts and videos! Follow @nascar_opinion on Periscope & NASCAR OPINION on SoundCloud! Have a great rest of your day, and happy late Father's Day!