via Imago

via Imago

Ryan Blaney winning the inaugural Cup Series race at Iowa Speedway certainly brought a huge sigh of relief. After all, the Team Penske driver ended his 17-race winless run. While the victory relieved a lot of pressure on him, even NASCAR caught some respite after the race.

Before the race, the partial repaving of the 0.875-mile track attracted a lot of concerns. Fortunately, the race turned out to be an interesting one, despite all the shortcomings, a theme not so familiar on short tracks this season. However, NASCAR’s Senior VP Elton Sawyer’s comments on the track’s future have left everyone confused.

Elton Sawyer leaves a lot of uncertainty with the future of Iowa Speedway


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Last October, NASCAR added Iowa Speedway to its 2024 Cup Series schedule. While it brought a lot of freshness to the competition, the governing body’s readiness didn’t impress plenty of drivers. Interestingly, while the bottom and middle lanes were partially repaved with jet-black asphalt, the top lane remained untouched.

With the inconsistency in the grip available, many doubted the type of racing the track would provide. While NASCAR faced severe criticism for not repaving the track entirely, it all turned out well on Sunday. With a sold-out crowd, the short track provided some entertaining stuff, especially given how short tracks have failed to deliver this year.

Despite raising concerns about the track before the race, the Iowa Corn 350 winner, Ryan Blaney, looked ecstatic after the victory. As reported by DesMoinesRegister.com, he said, “I thought it was pretty racy. Honestly, it exceeded my expectations as far as race-ability. The crowd tonight was awesome. If that doesn’t make you want to come back, I don’t know what will.”

Interestingly, the race at Iowa Speedway possessed everything. It provided several lead changes with Blaney leading four times with a total of career-high 201 laps. Not only that, the short track also provided various door-to-door passes, one of which saw Kyle Larson lose several places despite taking the pole on Sunday.

All-in-all, the race surpassed expectations. In fact, the reaction was quite evident in Jeff Gluck’s post-race poll. When asked if the race at Iowa was a good one, 91.1% of the fans agreed positively. Clearly, the response couldn’t be more clear. However, the fans would be concerned given what NASCAR Senior VP Elton Sawyer had to say recently.


Speaking on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Sawyer spoke about the partial repaving done. He said, “Our goal going into Iowa when we announced it last October was not to repave. We wanted to get that first race on that old pavement and kind of get a data point. But that just wasn’t the case. Some areas needed attention and we did that, and we have what we had there this past weekend.”

The 64-year-old then spoke about how the race offered plenty before adding mystery to the track’s future. He said, “Now we sit here on Tuesday afterward and we had great racing. We had side-by-side, we had two lanes. So, I’m sure we’ll have a lot of dialogue around if we go back, do you repave the whole facility? Do you just repave that third lane up by the wall?”


However, Sawyer committed to looking positively into answers for the repave activities. He said, “A lot of questions to answer on that, but I think the No. 1 thing is we had really good racing this past weekend. No matter what we do, we need to make sure that we’re either heading in a positive direction to make the racing better, or to leave it as is and have another data point out there next year.”

With the ruling body’s senior VP dropping a big suspense about the track’s future, understandably the fans looked concerned.

NASCAR community left worried after Elton Sawyer looked cagey with the future of Iowa Speedway


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It is worth noting that the inaugural Cup Series at Iowa Speedway attracted 2.69 million viewers on the USA network. While it is a significant number, it only gets better when considered that it became the most-watched Cup Series race on cable since Pocono in July last year.

Certainly, everyone enjoyed the race despite the partial repaving done. After this, when Elton Sawyer suggested an uncertain future for the Iowa Speedway, naturally, it would worry the fans. Many reacted on social media raising their concerns.


One fan said, “HOW is there an “if” on going back!? Trending as the highest Next Gen era short(ish) track race on the was it a good race poll. Sold out crowd. It’s not always about chasing the next shiny new media market, sometimes it’s about good racing in an area that will support it.”

Another fan used the turned-up crowd example to justify why the Cup Series should return at Iowa. He said, “We have to go back. From a racing perspective, fan attendance perspective and from area buy in perspective it was an absolute success.”


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On the other hand, a fan looked upset with the type of decisions NASCAR has been making. He said, “It’s a no-brainer to go back there. But yet again this world is filled with illogical and stupid decisions.”

Indeed, it is concerning what NASCAR will be deciding with Iowa Speedway. Hopefully, the fans’ voices will be heard and the Cup Series will be back for another enthralling race on the 0.875-mile oval short track.