Will Iowa hosting two Nationwide races kill IndyCar ticket sales? The Associated Press has reported that Iowa Speedway is on schedule to host two Nationwide Series races in 2011.
NASCAR sent a copy of the 2011 Nationwide schedule, which was obtained by The Associated Press, to its teams last week. It shows the Newton track hosting the second-tier series on May 22 and July 23.
Iowa has hosted just one race a year since it received its first NASCAR-sanctioned event last season.
Iowa Speedway vice president and general manager Craig Armstrong said track officials are in discussions with NASCAR about the 2011 schedule, but nothing has been finalized.
“The concept has been offered to us — having a second date has been offered to us, and we are definitely talking with them,” Armstrong said. “Dates are being discussed. No agreement has been made and no date has been finalized. So it’s just way preliminary here.”
Armstrong said the track’s success with NASCAR — and whether one or two Nationwide Series races will be at Newton in 2011 — is firmly rooted in fan support. The track’s July 31 Nationwide race drew a sellout crowd of 55,988.
“It is due to the fan response to what we are offering currently that makes it even possible or feasible to think about adding another Nationwide race, or anything else for that matter,” Armstrong said. “It’s just a matter of how well does your fan base support your events? ... There’s no question if we couldn’t, in their opinion, sustain a second race, we wouldn’t even be having these discussions at all. So I guess it’s a tribute to not just the race track but to the fans of Iowa Speedway — the folks who support the race track by buying tickets and coming out here — that we would be even under consideration.”
A NASCAR spokesman described the schedule that was sent out as "tentative." It shows two open spots where NASCAR is still trying to schedule events to make it a 35-race season.
The IndyCar race runs in June. Two NASCAR races, one before it and one after it, could kill ticket sales and drive IndyCar out.