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NASCAR-owned Iowa Speedway opens season on Sunday

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 13, 2014 at 2:45 pm •  Published: May 13, 2014
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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Speedway will reopen just six months after its purchase by NASCAR.

New president Jimmy Small is among those eager to see how Sunday's Nationwide race will set the tone for the short track's future.

NASCAR took the rare step in November of purchasing the track for a reported $10 million, a steep drop from the $70 million it cost to build it less than a decade earlier.

The 28-year-old Small is the third person to run the Iowa Speedway in less than three years. He inherited a track that has remained popular with fans and drivers despite patches of instability.

"As far as challenges, I think the biggest one has been timing," he said. "We knew we only had a short amount of time before our first weekend here in just a few days now."

Points leader Chase Elliott, Trevor Bayne and Ty Dillon headline the list of drivers in the first stand-alone race of the Nationwide season.

NASCAR, which also owns the Road Atlanta course under its IMSA sports car banner, became Iowa's third owner in just eight years when it bought the track from Featherlite Inc., founder Conrad Clement and his family.

Although NASCAR officials made it clear that they won't schedule a Sprint Cup series race in Iowa in the immediate future, Small said the new owners see plenty of potential for growth.

NASCAR plans to kick start the track's new era this weekend with some initiatives based on fan feedback.

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