Back to News

June 13, 2024

Iowa Speedway repave: What it looks like, what it means for race weekend

When the NASCAR Cup Series haulers roll into Iowa Speedway for the first time this week, plenty of drivers will recognize the 0.875-mile track nestled in Newton, Iowa.

There will be notable changes, though, from NASCAR’s last national series event here, an Xfinity Series race on July 27, 2019, won by Chase Briscoe.

Specifically, the surface, which has been repaved in some spots in advance of this weekend’s inaugural Cup Series race.

RELATED: Iowa entry list

Related Story
Cup Series drivers with past wins at Iowa Speedway Cup Series drivers with past wins at Iowa Speedway

“The one thing that over time with this facility — obviously the winters are hard in Iowa,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Competition Elton Sawyer said. “It took a toll on the surface. Our goal all along, as we announced this race back in October of last year, was to not repave. But as we started scheduling events, whether it be a tire test and looking at the facility, once we got into the early part of the calendar this year, it was apparent there were some areas we were going to have to take a look at and do some repaving.

“Again, our goal all along was not to do that. We wanted our fans to be able to see that track and a race where all the surface had been worn. But that just wasn’t going to be the case.”

All four turns at Iowa — which was built in 2006 and had never had fresh asphalt put down — have been partially repaved as a result of those Iowa winters.

A Goodyear tire test on May 28 saw Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell log plenty of laps to test the new surface and provide key data back to both NASCAR and Goodyear. There was an additional two-day wheel force test to gain additional insights.

The result: This weekend’s tire combination is the same one used last week at Sonoma Raceway. And while larger sections of the corners have now been repaved, some of the original pavement remains.

Expect the grip level to vary, with the repaved sections having more grip than the original sections.

The surface also features several bumps — specifically entering Turn 1 — that will pose a challenge to drivers.

“After we had scheduled tire test, there just wasn’t enough time to go in there and completely do a full repave,” Sawyer said. “So we took the next best option, which was to identify the areas that needed to be addressed. Aesthetically, it looks a little different than how we would normally go into a facility, but we’re confident the repairs are to a high level, and that’s not going to be an issue.”

Cup Series drivers will have a 50-minute practice session on Friday at 5:35 p.m. ET (USA Network) to get accustomed to the new pavement and the track itself.

Additionally, NASCAR and Iowa Speedway will run a tire dragon — a machine that drags tires to help rubber in the surface — on the top and middle grooves. Goodyear and NASCAR plan on conducting daily friction tests, with results provided to the teams.

“We’re still going to have some multi-groove racing around the race track,” Sawyer said. “So we’re looking forward to getting out there and getting cars on the race track and seeing exactly how things unfold. But as we lead into the weekend, we don’t anticipate any issues with the surface.”