Iowa's Crown Jewel: Iowa Speedway, More Than Just a Racetrack
Iowa Speedway — the Fastest Short Track on the Planet — plays host to NASCAR, ARCA Racing Series and INDYCAR every summer. Nestled in the corn fields of Greater Des Moines (DSM), the Speedway enjoys the distinction as the first-ever, driver-designed track and the only oval track owned and raced on by NASCAR.
When designing the 7/8-mile tri-oval, NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rusty Wallace took cues from Richmond International Raceway, a track where he had great success during his career. He also placed emphasis on sightlines, resulting in the visibility of the entire track from almost any seat in the house. Competition at Iowa Speedway is widely regarded as some of the best racing around and is a favorite track among drivers.
A Professional Sports Venue
Located 30 miles east of Des Moines, Iowa Speedway is the only major professional sports venue in the state. In addition to a summer-long race season, Iowa Speedway is also used for driving experiences and driving schools, group tours, various auto shows and events, corporate outings, weddings and concerts.
Through the years, the Speedway has become a destination for out-of-town visitors and new businesses as well as a catalyst for growth in Iowa’s sports, entertainment and tourism sectors. Each race, thousands of fans venture to the track for a weekend full of camping, tailgating and unrivaled short-track racing. This makes race season at Iowa Speedway one of the largest annual recurring events in the state, resulting in an estimated $50 million of direct and indirect economic impact to the state of Iowa.
What's Next for Iowa Speedway
This year the Speedway sought to utilize its property for a large-scale event outside the realm of motorsports by hosting the venerable Metallica on June 9. The concert not only provided fantastic entertainment but also increased the exposure of Newton, Iowa, on a very large stage. Based on the success of the concert, the track will look to host similar events in the future.
As a state with the 30th largest population, Iowa accounts for a nation leading 2.5 billion of the 13.6 billion bushels of corn grown in America each year. Of the 2.5 billion bushels, 47% of the corn is used for ethanol production for cars — the most by any state.
Both the NASCAR and INDYCAR Series run on blends of ethanol; E15 on the stock car side, and E85 for INDYCAR. With the complete lifecycle of ethanol production (corn growth to biofuels refinement to consumers at the pump) taking place on local soil, it is fitting that the Speedway has become a platform for ethanol promotion.
To better showcase the power and performance of ethanol, Iowa Speedway has cultivated partnerships with industry heavyweights, namely the Iowa Corn Growers Association / Iowa Corn Promotion Board and Growth Energy’s American Ethanol.
The alliances have allowed for a wide array of topics to be addressed on a local, national and international stage through events at Iowa Speedway, including the obvious tie to the cars that compete on the track.
Press conferences, pre-race speeches, digital and social media, as well as at-track activations have also allowed these partners to illuminate the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and to demystify many of the beliefs associated with corn-based ethanol.
Other agriculture-based partners like Syngenta Global and Sukup Manufacturing Co. have helped further organic and symbiotic relationships between the Speedway and the native industries of Iowa.
Now in its 11th year of operation, Iowa Speedway is more focused than ever on promoting all the Hawkeye State has to offer while highlighting the current state of American farming, the growth of biofuels and homegrown racing.
Interested in learning more about other outdoor recreation options in Greater Des Moines (DSM)? Visit our Outdoor Recreation & Trails page.