Sale of Iowa Speedway pending (2nd Update)

UPDATE #2 A full release formalized the news, including the confirmation that a wholly-owned NASCAR subsidiary, Iowa Speedway, LLC, is the official purchaser.

“Iowa Speedway is a great entertainment facility with a very bright future," Eric Nyquist, NASCAR vice president, strategic development, said in the release. “The facility has the support of the region, it’s positioned well in the heart of the Midwest, and year in and year out it provides great short-track racing action for motorsports fans."

This will mean a heavy NASCAR schedule occurs at the track in 2014, and even the verbiage has left IndyCar as “second tier" by comparison. The IndyCar weekend, on July 11-12, is referred to as the "NASCAR Camping World Truck Series/IndyCar Series race weekend." IndyCar shifts its date from a traditional June date to July in 2014, and Higdon added in a tweet later Wednesday that, “#IndyCar race very important to @iowaspeedway #NASCAR. Nothing changes."

The key line from the release though is that the track does not plan to have a Sprint Cup race “next year or in the immediate future." Further details about this announcement will be held at a special event in Des Moines on December 12.

Iowa did release its full 2014 schedule though, and is as follows:

Saturday, May 17 – NASCAR K&N Pro Series East vs. West Challenge
Sunday, May 18 – NASCAR Nationwide Series
Friday, July 11 – American Ethanol 200, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Saturday, July 12 – Iowa Corn Indy 300, IndyCar Series
Friday, August 1 – NASCAR K&N Pro Series East vs. West Challenge
Saturday, August 2 – NASCAR Nationwide Series

11/26/13 A reader asks, Dear AR1: Forgive me if I'm applying too much logic. But if the Hulman-George was serious about operating an actual racing business, would they not be looking into purchasing Iowa Speedway? The world-class facility with a track ideal for Indy Cars is currently available for pennies on the dollar, but the HG family probably hasn't even thought of that. After all, it would make sense for the company to be able to control the race tracks their series competes on.

While the France family continues to expand their racing business, and invest in the resources necessary to grow it, the HG family simply banks those puny NBCSN checks. I imagine they're just biding their time waiting for the 100th Indy 500 in two years, when they hit eject, sell the Speedway, and cement their legacy as abject failures who destroyed this once great sport.

How very sad. Randall Cottonwood IV, Cheyenne, Wyoming

Dear Randall, It became clear a long time ago that the only thing the Hulman George family cares about is a strong Indy 500. It appears they prefer to keep the rest of the series miniscule so there can never again be a startup CART series that becomes so successful it overshadows their family jewel.

Why else would they continue to pocket the NBC Sports Network checks instead of negotiating a buyout and moving all the races to ABC? ABC and ESPN no longer have NASCAR. IndyCar would be the perfect fit and buying air time to put all the races on ABC would result in far more sponsorship coming into the IndyCar paddock than it costs to buy that air time. In fact they can sell TV ad spots to offset the cost, so how much does it really cost them?

ABC would pull in about 1.2 to 1.4 million viewers per race on Day 1. That is a number you can build on and attract new sponsors and maybe even that third engine manufacturer they covet. Instead they stick to NBCSN and get around 150K to 225k viewers per race, about equal to an infomercial on ABC and ESPN. Mark C.

Iowa Speedway

11/26/13 The Clement family plans to close on its sale of "substantially all of their assets associated with" the Newton racetrack on Wednesday to a recently-formed company called Iowa Speedway, LLC. The pending sale was announced in documentation provided in advance of a special Newton City Council meeting set for noon Tuesday at city hall. The Newton City Council is being asked to "acknowledge and consent" to Clement's US Motorsport Corporation's intent to assign the development agreements in place with the city in connection with the track to Iowa Speedway, LLC.

"The US Motorsport Corporation is proposing to change the ownership entity of the Iowa Speedway property in the near future to a company called Iowa Speedway, LLC," City Administrator Bob Knabel's report to council in advance of Tuesday's meeting states. "In conjunction with this change, the US Motorsport Corporation intends that all current agreements of the Corporation be assigned to Iowa Speedway, LLC."

City council consent is not required because the minimum improvements as defined in the agreements have been successfully completed. "However, in recognition of the potential benefits to the City of the proposed transaction, to the extent that any consent by City is required in connection with such assignment, the City hereby grants such consent as evidenced by the signature below," a legal document from US Motorsport to the city states. In addition, the Newton City Council will act on a resolution Tuesday that assigns US Motorsport Corporation's airport use and lease agreement to the new ownership of the track. The terms of both agreements are proposed to stay the same under the assignments. Iowa Speedway, LLC filed its certificate of organization with the Iowa Secretary of State's Office effective Oct. 14.

Little information about the company or its ownership can be gleaned from the filing other than its initial registered agent is CT Corporation of Des Moines, a corporate legal provider. Requests for information from Iowa Speedway officials on the planned sale have yet been returned. In early July 2011, the Clement family announced that it had taken over the majority ownership from the original developers of the facility, the Manatt family. The Clements paid more than $19 million for majority ownership. Six months after the change in ownership, the Clements brought a breach of contract lawsuit against Manatt's. The case was settled out of court in August. Newton Independent

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