Completed in 2005 at a cost of approximately $70 million dollars, the Iowa Speedway outside of Newton in Jasper County boasts some pretty impressive facts. First, it's the only track that is owned by and raced at by NASCAR. Secondly, it's the only track that is designed by a former driver and that would be NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rusty Wallace. Third, it's the only 7/8 of a mile asphalt oval in the entire world. The track has a capacity of approximately 30,000 fans and they host many events throughout Iowa's warmer months.
On a recent Saturday, I spent an entire afternoon and evening at the venue with a group of DSM Hummingbirds, a group of community builders that seek to promote and encourage Iowans to explore and take in the many unique and terrific places and events that are located here.
We were given tickets and passes to check out the pits and garages and had full license to roam the various concourses. We also had access and use of a suite, which was a pretty nice perk, and got some pretty sweet SWAG.
One thing that became clear to me pretty quickly, in the many hours I spent there that day, is a lot more going on there than just racing.
There is live music, games (giant checkers and life-size beer pong), vendors, food and beverages for sale, and interesting things to look at, including antique vehicles.
As my group explored the concourse, we found that there is a lot of sponsors seeking to grab the attention of the fans.
There was even oversize lounge chairs.
There is a place to play basketball and we even came across a Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show.
Throughout the concourse, you could find vendors selling food and beverage. However, of course, a lot of fans tailgate in the free parking lots ahead of the races and thus, like any football game, are enjoying beverages and food before they enter the gates.
I did appreciate some of the clever names for the food stands.
Eventually, we got on a tram (John Deere tractor pulling a cart) and headed into the infield to see the garages, pits, victory lane, and more.
We had to go through a tunnel to get to the infield.
Once in the infield, we explored the area and enjoyed checking out the garages. It's like a whole different world.
There is a lot of permanent and temporary infrastructure that is needed to support a race and the many team members that accompany each driver and car.
We got to look into one of the cars.
We also had the opportunity to look into the garages.