IndyCar finds connection with Corn

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Partnerships and branding are essentials in the motors ports world.

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Iowa Speedway president Jimmy Small points to a 10-year partnership right here at Newton’s 7/8-mile track as one of the best in the business. Sunday will be the 10th running of IndyCar racing at Iowa Speedway sponsored by Iowa Corn.

“What a natural and authentic partnership this is. It’s an amazing one,” Small said.

“IndyCar was the first major racing series to take a chance on Iowa Speedway. Iowa Corn coming to the table at the same time here was the right elements at the right time.”

The Verizon IndyCar Series’ Iowa Corn 300 is the feature race in the Speedway’s second weekend of racing this season. Racing fans will see contrasting styles of racing this Saturday and Sunday at the track with the ARCA Racing Series Casey’s General Stores 150 and the IndyCar racing.

ARCA is another stock car racing series where drivers are making their marks to find opportunities to move into the NASCAR racing levels.

On Sunday, racing fans will see the Indy Lights Iowa Challenge presented by Cooper Tires that will be broadcast on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts IndyCar Radio Network.

“Racing on Sunday is huge as it was two weeks ago for our NASCAR Xfinity Series race,” Small said. “The Iowa Corn 300 is the only major motorsports race on television Sunday, so all eyes will be on our track, our town and our state.”

Iowa Speedway opened in the fall of 2006. IndyCar came to the Newton track in 2007 with Iowa Corn with the race entitlement. The race represents the second longest running entitlement in IndyCar competition.

Small said for IndyCar to take a chance in racing on the short track here in Newton was big then and is still big. IndyCar Series racing is done on road courses and big ovals, he said.

“It is atypical for Indy cars to race on short ovals like ours mainly because their speed is so high. This place is built perfect for these guys to come out and race on our track,” Small said. “We’ve got multiple grooves for these guys to race in, and it can be three wide in certain cases during a race.”

The race was the Iowa Corn 250 until 2013, when 50 laps were added. Small said he tries to take credit for the additional laps.

“Really, I just signed the document because that was my first year here and the deal was already set. Our fans wanted more and Iowa Corn wanted more because these cars go so fast around our track, and the race goes fast. We’re all about the fan experience,” he added.

Iowa Corn as a race sponsor was perfect because Iowa is proud to be the top ethanol producing state and top corn producer. Small said the partnership was created at the right time when IndyCar was making the transition to ethanol fuel for its racing.

“The horsepower and speed from these cars are generated by corn-based ethanol. What a natural partnership to happen for these two and Iowa Speedway,” Small said. “We’re happy and proud to be a part of it.”

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