IRL announces two-year extension at Iowa Speedway
Rusty Wallace said as he watched the overflow crowd stand and cheer as Dario Franchitti edged teammate Marco Andretti by 0.0681 of a second to win the inaugural IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway he "knew we had a real winner on our hands."
Iowa Speedway and Iowa Corn Growers Association officials announced a two-year extension of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 with the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series. The extension includes 100-mile Indy Pro Series races in conjunction with the June 2008 and June 2009 IndyCar Series event weekends.
"It's an honor for us at Iowa Speedway to continue our relationship with a primary sponsor like Iowa Corn and, of course, the Indy Racing League, each with a special interest in ethanol fuel," said Wallace, designer of the 0.86-mile track in Newton and a minority owner. "It's a win-win-win."
Wallace was joined at the Iowa State Fair announcement by Craig Floss, chief executive officer of the Iowa Corn Growers Association; Stan Clement, president of Iowa Speedway; and Terry Angstadt, president of the Indy Racing League's commercial division.
"The IndyCar Series cars run on 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol produced by our corn growers in Iowa," Floss said. "Last year, we had corn growers come out from across Iowa and surrounding states. The race offers an opportunity for education and a chance for us to congratulate the corn growers who continue to grow corn for ethanol and promote its use."
Clement said the partnership with the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Indy Racing League is a natural. The Iowa Corn Promotion Board oversees the investment of funds generated by the Iowa corn check off. The board's primary activities include domestic and foreign market development, research into new and value-added corn uses, and education about the corn industry.
"Anyone who watched this year's Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway - and people all over the world did - saw a world-class race at a world-class facility," he said. "If you live in Iowa, or the Midwest, you already have a very good idea of how corn, agriculture, and auto racing fit together. Now, you also know why Iowa Corn, Iowa Speedway and the Indy Racing League are teaming up to race again. It's a perfect fit and, based on this year's event, racing fans in Iowa and around the country seem to agree."
Franchitti, coming off a victory in the 91st Indianapolis 500, started third and led 96 laps in a race that featured 13 lead changes. Andretti advanced 10 positions to post a season-high finish.
"Back in June the IndyCar Series debuted at the Iowa Speedway and we could not have asked for a more energetic reception," Angstadt said. "Statewide the welcome mat met our arrival and with that still very much in mind we are thrilled to announce a two-year commitment for the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series to race at the Iowa Speedway offering fans the most diverse racing schedule in the world.
"The IndyCar Series prides itself on innovation and the use of 100 percent fuel grade ethanol combined with Iowa Speedway's partnership with the Iowa Corn Growers Association makes the partnership even more relevant."