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Winter Gives Way To Spring (Training) At Iowa Speedway

From NASCAR

With “Wide-Opening Weekend” at Iowa Speedway less than two weeks away, six NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers representing five teams took to the popular short track located in Newton, Iowa Tuesday for a test session in hopes of gathering information to help their efforts for the Get to Know Newton 250 presented by Sherwin-Williams May 18.

Stars of the NASCAR Nationwide Series – past, present and future – including last June’s winner Trevor Bayne, participated in the test which was a joint venture between the track and NASCAR. It also was the first run of the 2014 season at the “Fastest Short Track on the Planet.”

“As Iowans know, we experienced an unusually cold winter this year,” said Jimmy Small, Iowa Speedway track president. “Some areas on the race track underwent repair and as a result we worked with NASCAR to conduct this one-day test – what we like to call our own version of spring training – to be sure the track is ready and teams are prepared so we can put on an exciting show for our fans during ‘Wide-Opening Weekend.’”

Bayne (Roush Fenway Racing), Brian Scott (Richard Childress Racing), Sam Hornish Jr. (Joe Gibbs Racing), former NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion Brad Keselowski (Team Penske) along with teammates Chase Elliott and series newcomer Austin Theriault (JR Motorsports) participated in the test, which ran from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. local (CT).

For Elliott, who leads the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship standings by one point over Elliott Sadler, the test was a cram session before “Wide Opening Weekend.” Though he has run three races in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, next week’s race will be his Iowa debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Elliott also will graduate from high school next weekend, so turning as many laps as possible today was imperative for the 18-year-old driver who won consecutive races at Texas Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway earlier this year.

Fans watched the test from their cars or brought chairs to enjoy the warm and sunny but breezy day from “Rim Road,” an area that overlooks the backstretch.

“Wide-Opening Weekend” kicks off Saturday, May 17 at 8 p.m. CT (9 p.m. ET) with the Casey’s General Stores 150 NASCAR K&N Pro Series event, an exciting combination race between the stars of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and West. The Get to Know Newton 250 presented by Sherwin-Williams will take center stage at 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET) Sunday and will be broadcast live on ESPN.

Iowa Speedway NASCAR Nationwide Series Test Quote Board:

Wayne Auton, Managing Director, NASCAR Nationwide Series:

“We are delighted … with this test. We had some major concerns coming in because the winter was so rough. All the drivers think this is going to be a great race next week.”

Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang:

“I like this facility a lot for a number of reasons. It has a great balance between what the drivers like and the fans like. The drivers like it because you can run and not spin out for no reason and they like the smaller tracks but not too small. This track is 7/8 mile so it’s smaller but you’re not on top of everybody. From the fans perspective with the progressive banking and the way the track has aged and gotten rougher the cars run side by side really well and that makes for great racing. It’s a unique track in that it has achieved a balance that is hard to find for drivers and fans. Along with that is a lot of accolades and that includes great attendance. Every year I’m amazed by how many people show up and if the track keeps going down that path it has a very, very bright future.”

Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Monster Energy Toyota Camry:

“I always look at this like it’s in between Richmond and Kentucky. Those have been good to me and I always like coming back here. Anytime we can get to places like this, Kentucky or Atlanta, places that have that age to them I love it because it brings the drivers ability to manage the tire over a long run back into the equation a lot more.”

Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing AdvoCare Ford Fusion:

“The biggest thing for coming here was to see the new patches, to see the race track and to see how it aged over the winter. It’s gonna [sic] be great. We drove around here this morning; the track seems really good as usual. It is still bumpy but that makes for great racing and multiple lines so we’re excited to get back here to Iowa.”

Brian Scott, driver of the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Shore Lodge Chevrolet Camaro: 

“I think a lot of people enjoy tracks with character and I associate Iowa as one of those tracks. It’s fun because it’s more challenging as a driver. I think teams and drivers like that as opposed to places that have just been repaved and are fast and it takes drag out of your car and it becomes just a track position race. Drivers, fans and teams call that ‘tracks with character’ and I definitely think Iowa Speedway is that way.”

 

About Iowa Speedway

Iowa Speedway, “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet,” is a state-of-the-art 7/8 mile asphalt paved tri-oval race track and motorsports facility located in Newton, Iowa. Our 2014 schedule includes three exciting race weekends: May 17-18 (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West and NASCAR Nationwide Series), July 11-12 (NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and IndyCar Series) and Aug. 1-2 (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West and NASCAR Nationwide Series). Great seats are still available. For tickets, call 1-866-RUSTY-GO. To learn more, visit www.iowaspeedway.com, “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @IowaSpeedway.

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