News & Media

Six Pack of Pop: Former RIR chief ready to head west to Iowa

October 04, 2011, Joe Menzer,

Fritz excited about opportunity at Iowa, not so much about the winters

Doug Fritz, former president at Richmond International Raceway who recently was named chief executive officer at Iowa Speedway, answers this week's six questions.

1. How excited are you about your new position?

Iowa intrigue

Iowa had quite a 2011 with three events between the Nationwide and Truck series ... including one of the most dramatic finishes in recent history.

Fritz: I'm very, very excited about it. The track has great potential and obviously a very full schedule right now with two Nationwide Series races and two Camping World Truck Series races and the IRL (Indy Racing League, as well as other events). So I'm really looking forward to getting out there and digging in, rolling up my sleeves and getting to work.

2. What do you see as the long-term future of Iowa Speedway?

Fritz: I keep getting asked about a Sprint Cup date. Everybody I talk to, that's the second question -- if not the first one -- they ask. I know the fans are anxious about hopefully getting one somewhere down the road. For the future growth of it, just like any other race track, we'd obviously love to get a Cup date. We're going to work hard toward that.

We look forward to bringing that facility into [being] one of the premier sports facilities in this country. I'm looking forward to seeing the fans out there. They've got a good experience going now, and we're going to do the best we can to keep that going and build on it and continue to have some fun with it.

3. Are you ready for a change in the weather, coming from Richmond, Va.?

Fritz: People tell me the winters can be a little rougher than they are in Virginia. So I've been forewarned of that. I have not yet experienced that personally, so I guess a little culture shock could come around wintertime. But right now, it's beautiful out there -- in the 70s and 80s [temperature-wise]. We'll see what happens over the next six months.

4. You think you might have to take up snowboarding or learn how to drive a snowmobile?

Fritz: Absolutely. I'll blend in with some cross-country skiing or whatever the case might be. It's beautiful country out there.

5. And the race fans out there are passionate, aren't they?

Fritz: Actually, Iowa has more race tracks per capita than any other state in the country. I did not know that about Iowa, but I've had two or three people tell me that since I took the job -- so I trust it as fact. That's what they're telling me, so I hope my sources are good.

So they love their racing out there. I'm looking forward to getting to know the Midwestern race fans better.

6. What does the facility currently seat, and would you have to expand to get that elusive Cup date in the future?

Fritz: It's 30,000 permanent seats, and I think they've had as many as 48,000 total spectators in there for Nationwide races in the past with some temporary seating. They've got a nice hillside around the facility and great sightlines for both the permanent seats and the temporary seating.

We probably would have to add permanent seating [to get a Cup date], but it could easily be done. That track was designed to have seats added, so there's no question it could be done if we needed to. The challenge is getting the Cup date. But if we get a Cup date, we'll add the seats.