The talk for the past couple years was that Iowa Speedway was bleeding money and either going to be put up for sale or shut down by its owners at NASCAR. Then, following last weekend’s IndyCar doubleheader, the rumor surfaced that Roger Penske is going to purchase the racy oval outside Newton, Iowa to ensure it stays on the schedule.
“At this point it’s owned by ISC (NASCAR) and we’d like to continue to rent it in the coming years,” replied Penske when asked if he was interested in buying the track designed by one of his former NASCAR drivers, Rusty Wallace. “We did a contract this year where we were the promoter, and all we did was make a deal to rent the track. And we’d like to continue to rent it in future years.”
Yet all signs point to Iowa Speedway being on NASCAR’s endangered list. Last May it lost its NASCAR truck race and both NASCAR Xfinity shows when they were shuffled to other tracks, and the staff was sliced to the bare bones.
Despite having restricted fan access, Penske staged a Friday night-Saturday night doubleheader at Iowa in a continued effort to give IndyCar enough races in the face of the pandemic, which knocked out the first four races of 2020.
“I went up and sat in the grandstand Friday night, and that was some of the best racing I’ve ever seen,” said Penske, whose driver Simon Pagenaud came from last to first in the opener before Josef Newgarden gave Team Penske a weekend sweep. “It’s a great track for our cars.”
IndyCar leased Phoenix from 2016-18, and Watkins Glen in 2016 and 2017.