Snapshot: Get to Know Newton 250
May 18, 2014, Brad Norman, NASCAR.com
All you need to know about the season's first stand-alone Nationwide race
What: Fourth annual Get to Know Newton 250 presented by Sherwin-Williams.
Where: Iowa Speedway.
When: Sunday, May 18.
TV/Radio: ESPN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (2 p.m. ET).
Distance: 250 laps; 218.75 miles.
Fastest in practice
First practice: Chase Elliott, JR Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet (134.690 mph).
Second practice: Brian Scott, Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet (134.811 mph).
Third practice: Chase Elliott, JR Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet (135.566 mph).
Fourth practice: Dylan Kwasniewski, Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet (135.077 mph).
Defending race winner
Trevor Bayne, Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford.
From the box: Crew chief Chris Rice serves as a guest analyst for NASCAR.com this year. His quick outlook on the race: "There's a lot of practice time here this week, and that's good. That's the reason I personally picked a brand-new car to use here, and others may have as well. Iowa is a great track, too. This place has gotten a lot bumpier, so it's going to be a better race. But it's hard to test at a bumpy place because it does something different every lap, so you really have to hone in. Even with the bumpiness and the changing track, it's still going to be the same people who typically do well here that are the favorites to win. Elliott Sadler, he's going to be good, Chase Elliott is going to be good. And James (Buescher) will be good once we get to racing."
He said it: "The last few weeks at school there hasn't been really much going on. I was checked out way before they gave me that paper (diploma)." -- Chase Elliott, with a serious case of senioritis.
He said it II: "It's awesome having your peers be close to your age. It's great for the sport. It shows that us young guys have talent, we have speed, and we're ready to compete. Hopefully, we can try to race with these older guys." -- Dylan Kwasniewski, 18, exiting the media center.
He said it III: "Am I one of the older guys he's talking about? I still feel young." -- Michael McDowell, 29, entering the media center.
He said it IV: "We'll probably have a group of 30 or 40 family members in the stands. You'll know because there's a huge group of people in black Ryan Blaney T-shirts. Just look for the big, black blob in the stands. That's my family right there." -- Ryan Blaney, popular in Iowa with roots in Ohio.
Different type of double: With the stand-alone season starting, all of the big-name NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the All-Star Race. There's still plenty of drivers doing the double, though. Ryan Gifford and Cale Conley are doing it in the more traditional sense -- they drove in the K&N Pro Series race Saturday night, and will follow that with the Nationwide Series race Sunday. Ryan Blaney and Ryan Ellis, on the other hand, drove in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event on Friday in North Carolina, then flew to Iowa and picked up at the track on Saturday. Both Blaney and Ellis were involved in wrecks in the Truck Series event. And both Landon Cassill and J.J. Yeley competed in the Sprint Showdown event Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway before heading to the Hawkeye State.
A win? Yes, dear: Trevor Bayne has a history at Iowa. He raced in the first-ever event on the track in 2006, and won last year's spring race at the 0.875-mile oval. That race came days after Bayne and wife Ashton were married. They essentially honeymooned in Des Moines. The spring race is a few weeks earlier this year, so the two won't celebrate their one-year anniversary here. But there's another special occasion. "It was actually my wife's birthday Saturday," Bayne said with a laugh. "Now she's putting the pressure on me again. I just can't get away from it."
Elite Elliott: Among drivers in the field Sunday, Elliott Sadler has -- by far -- the best average finish at Iowa. His mark of 3.7 stands far above Regan Smith's 9.0, which is second place.
Former Iowa winners in the field
Trevor Bayne (1), Elliott Sadler (1).