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Source: Racer Magazine

NASCAR doesn't anticipate any issues with repaved Iowa corners

by Kelly Crandall | June 11th, 2024

NASCAR visits Iowa Speedway for the first time in five years this weekend, and the facility will look different from what race fans remember.

NASCAR has owned the speedway since 2019 and July 27 that year was the last time a NASCAR national series event was held at Iowa Speedway with the Xfinity series. But Cup series teams are visiting the track for the first time this weekend.

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One of the most noticeable variables for the weekend ahead is the racing surface for the 7/8th-mile track. Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio there were no plans to touch the surface before race weekend, but a closer look at the facility revealed trouble areas.

Both ends of the racetrack - through the corners - have been repaved. It was done on the bottom lane and, in some areas, extends perhaps a lane or lane and a half up the track.

"Fortunately, we were 70 to 80 percent where we needed to be from all the infrastructure, race control, SAFER barrier, things of that nature," Sawyer said Tuesday morning. "The one thing that over time that with this facility, obviously the winters are hard there in Iowa, and it took a toll on the surface. Our goal all along when we announced this race back in October of last year was to not repave.

"But as we started scheduling events, whether it was a tire test and looking at the facility, and once we got into the early part of the calendar this year, it was apparent that there were some areas we were going to have to take a look at and do some repaving. Again, our goal all along was not to do that. We wanted our fans to see that track and a race where the surface had been worn, but that just wasn't going to be the case."

Denny Hamlin compared the look of the repaved corners to those at Pocono Raceway. Hamlin said last month that Iowa might now have "grip strip vibes" in the corners.

Sawyer admitted that there was not enough time to do a full repave. The best option was to handle the individual areas that needed to be addressed.

"Now, aesthetically, it looks a little different than what we would normally go into a facility (and see)," Sawyer said. "But we're confident the repairs are to a high level, and it's not going to be an issue and we're still going to have some multi groove racing around the racetrack. We're looking forward to getting out there and getting cars on the racetrack and seeing exactly how things unfold.

"But as we lead into the weekend, we don't anticipate any issues with the surface."

Iowa Speedway is sold out for Sunday's Cup Series race, and Goodyear did a confirmation tire test at the end of May. Christopher Bell (Toyota), Kyle Larson (Chevrolet), and Brad Keselowski (Ford) were the three drivers who participated.