Iowa Speedway Sets the Stage for NASCAR Cup Series Debut

Located in Newton, Iowa just outside Des Moines, sits the .875-mile short track known as Iowa Speedway. The track will play host to the NASCAR Cup Series for the first time in its existence with this weekend’s Iowa Corn 350 Powered by Ethanol on Sunday, June 16 at 7 p.m. ET on the USA Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Iowa Speedway will become the 176th different track to host a NASCAR Cup Series points-paying race since the inception of the series in 1949.

Iowa Speedway was built between 2005-2006, by then owner Paul Schlaak of the U.S. Motorsports Entertainment Corporation. International Speedway Corporation purchased the property in 2013, and it is now owned by NASCAR.

The first race held at Iowa Speedway was an ARCA Menards Series event on October 15, 2006, and the race was won by Steven Wallace driving a Dodge for Rusty Wallace Inc., a team owned by his father NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace.

The speedway is measured at 0.875 mile (1.4 km), with 10 degrees of banking in the frontstretch, four degrees in the backstretch, and a progressive banking system utilized from 12 to 14 degrees in the turns.

All the on-track NASCAR Cup Series action at Iowa Speedway will begin with a 50-minute practice at 5:35 p.m. ET on Friday June 14, and followed by Busch Light Pole Qualifying at 1:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 15. Both events will be broadcast on USA Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Race to the Playoffs: Four of last season’s Playoff drivers are outside the points cutoff

Through the first 16 races of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, nine different winners have secured their spot in the Playoffs by virtue of their victory. At the other end of postseason outlook, 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace holds the 16th and final transfer spot into the Playoffs by a slim eight-point lead over Richard Childress Racing’s Kyle Busch as the series heads to Iowa Speedway for the Iowa Corn 350 Powered by Ethanol this Sunday, June 16 (7:00 p.m. ET on USA, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

The nine drivers that have earned a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs by virtue of wins this season are Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick, Brad Keselowski, Daniel Suárez, and Austin Cindric. Seven spots are still up for grabs in the hunt for the championship.

The seven drivers currently occupying the remaining postseason spots on points are Martin Truex Jr. (+128 points ahead of the Playoff cutoff), Ty Gibbs (+86 points ahead of the cutoff), Ross Chastain (+73),  Alex Bowman (+65), Ryan Blaney (+64), Chris Buescher (+32) and Bubba Wallace (+8).

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Hamlin looking for third short-track win this season  Since 1997, the NASCAR Cup Series has run six races each season on tracks that measure less than a mile in length (two races at each short track) – Richmond (0.75-mile), Bristol (0.533-mile), and Martinsville Speedway (0.526-mile). The only season since 1997 to not have six total races on tracks less than a mile was the 2020 season. Due to Covid restrictions, the series only ran five races that season. Iowa Speedway, this weekend’s facility, measures 0.875 miles.

This year, Hamlin has won two races on short tracks and will be looking for his third this weekend.

Since 1997, the most wins by a driver on tracks measuring less than a mile in a single season is four by NASCAR Hall of Famer Jimmie Johnson in 2007.

Three other drivers have been able to win three races in a single season since 1997 – Denny Hamlin (2010), Kyle Busch (2009, 2018) and Martin Truex Jr. (2019).

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