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Iowa Interested In Second Nationwide Date

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, July 31 2010

The grandstands at Iowa Speedway will be filled Saturday night for the Nationwide Series race. They could be filled twice next season. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer

Newton, Iowa – Iowa Speedway has not formally requested a second Nationwide Series date in 2011.

But officials at the 7/8-mile oval that plays host to the second annual U.S. Cellular 250 tonight in front of a sold out crowd will gladly listen if NASCAR is willing to offer.

“We’re confident we’ll be renewing our agreement with NASCAR for 2011 for this event,” Iowa Speedway vice president Craig Armstrong said late Saturday afternoon. “And if a second (Nationwide Series race) is offered to us, we will certainly consider it.

“It is entirely NASCAR’s decision, and we respect that.”

NASCAR is expected to release next year’s schedule for its three major national touring series in about four weeks.

Armstrong’s comments about the possibility of NASCAR’s junior circuit visiting the facility designed by Rusty Wallace twice next year comes just days after the announcement that Gateway International Raceway does not intend to host the Nationwide Series in 2011.

This season’s Nationwide Series schedule includes two stops at the 1.25-mile oval near St. Louis.

“It’s kind of a new thing,” Armstrong admitted, when asked about the timing. “It sort of came up suddenly.

“There’s a possibility that there might be a (second) race. Where it comes from, I don’t know.”

A year ago this weekend, Wallace stood in front of the media prior to the inaugural race here and fielded questions about the possibility of a Sprint Cup event coming to Iowa.

Wallace said at the time he had no immediate plans to approach NASCAR about bringing the Sprint Cup Series to Iowa.

Instead, he preferred to let the track grow and mature and wait until the timing is right.

That line of thinking appears to still be in place with Iowa Speedway management, even when it comes to courting the Nationwide Series for a second date.

“Even if we go to (NASCAR) and say ‘We’d like this,’ if the answer is no we respect that,” Armstrong said. “We’re not going to say ‘Well, why not?’ They have a world view of the sport that we do not have.

“We, obviously, have kind of a narrow view. We would like to do whatever is best for Iowa Speedway. NASCAR does what’s best for the sport of stock car racing. And we respect that.”

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, July 31 2010
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