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NASCAR buys Iowa Speedway, bolsters Heartland track

NASCAR.com

NASCAR has purchased Iowa Speedway.

Officials from the sanctioning body made the announcement Wednesday afternoon, just days after court documents and a special city council meeting indicated that a transfer of ownership was imminent.

NASCAR announced it will host a special event Dec. 12 in Des Moines to outline further details of the purchase and plans for 2014 and beyond. According to Wednesday's news release, "NASCAR has no plans for Iowa Speedway to host a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race next year or in the immediate future."

The sale -- made to a wholly owned subsidiary of NASCAR called Iowa Speedway, LLC -- is the latest development in an offseason of change for the 0.875-mile asphalt track in Newton, Iowa. Doug Fritz resigned as the speedway's CEO on Sept. 9, one day after the track concluded its 2013 racing schedule.

The track was formerly owned by U.S. Motorsport Corp., with minority ownership from NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rusty Wallace, who also served as the track's designer. Wallace will continue to have a role with the track -- located on Rusty Wallace Drive in Newton -- under its new ownership.

The facility, located approximately 30 miles east of Des Moines, has 30,000 permanent grandstand seats.

"Iowa Speedway is a great entertainment facility with a very bright future," said Eric Nyquist, NASCAR vice president, strategic development. "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.

"NASCAR ownership will allow us to draw on the entire resources of our company. It also provides us with the opportunity to execute first-hand a number of entertainment ideas and engagement opportunities with fans -- much of which we have outlined repeatedly as the core of our Industry Action Plan."

Iowa Speedway has three NASCAR national series events scheduled in 2014 -- May 18 and Aug. 2 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and July 11 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Two races for the combined East and West divisions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series are also scheduled, as is a July 12 event for the IndyCar Series.

The track opened in 2006 and played host to its first NASCAR national series events three years later, with Brad Keselowski (Nationwide) and Mike Skinner (Truck Series) the inaugural Iowa winners. Joey Logano edged Kevin Harvick to win the first NASCAR event of any type on the 7/8-mile layout, capturing a K&N Pro Series event in May 2007 -- just four days before his 17th birthday.

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