NASCAR purchases Iowa Speedway

Sean Gardner

In a move that should ensure the long-term viability of the popular short track, NASCAR has purchased Iowa Speedway.

The once cloudy future of Iowa Speedway was rectified Wednesday when NASCAR announced it had purchased the short track located 30 minutes outside of Des Moines, Iowa for an undisclosed amount.

"It’s a strategic move. NASCAR doesn’t buy tracks. We thought long and hard about it. It’s a great facility with great racing."-NASCAR spokesman

The .875-mile oval has regularly held Nationwide and Truck Series races since 2009, and IndyCar races two years prior. Drivers often have heaped praise on the track designed by NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, and was seen as an ideal place that one day could host a Cup event.

However, in recent years the track has faced financial difficulties, and there was doubt about the viability of Iowa going forward. In September, the track was sold for just more than $19 million according to court documents and was behind on payments to several vendors. And Iowa's schedule for 2014 was trimmed from five race weekends to three.

The purchase is unique in that it is the first time NASCAR has bought a track outright. NASCAR spokesman David Higdon told the Des Moines Register the impetus to buy Iowa came directly from NASCAR CEO Brian France.

"Brian is very much personally involved in this," Higdon said. "This is driven from the top. He loved the idea. He pushed it hard. He made us work to see how it would work within our structure. He's a big, big believer in what we're doing here."

NASCAR is privately owned, unlike International Speedway Corporation, a publicly traded company which has 72 percent of its stock controlled by the France family. ISC owns and operates 12 tracks that currently host 21 Cup races.

"We're excited," Higdon told the Des Moines Register. "Basically, it's a strategic move. NASCAR doesn't buy tracks. We thought long and hard about it. It's a great facility with great racing."

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