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NASCAR evaluating Iowa surface despite strong debut weekend

NASCAR has a lot to evaluate about the future of the surface of Iowa Speedway after a successful doubleheader weekend.

The track had a sold-out weekend, the NASCAR Cup series race being a long-awaited inaugural event at the facility. Ryan Blaney won Sunday night’s race, and it’s a race that is receiving positive reviews.

But going into the weekend, there were doubts about the surface since many were taken by surprise when NASCAR chose to repave sections of the corners to address what they described as problem areas. Elton Sawyer, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, said there was no anticipation of issues, and he was proven to be correct. Although the aesthetic of the repave garnered criticism, it was not a factor during the weekend’s three races (the ARCA Menards Series ran Friday night).

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“We had great racing,” Sawyer said Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We had side by side (racing). We had two lanes. So, I’m sure we’ll have a lot of dialogue around if we go back do you repave the whole facility? Do you just repave that third lane up by the wall? A lot of questions to answer on that.

“But I think the No. 1 thing is we had really, really good racing this past weekend. No matter what we do, we need to make sure we’re heading in a positive direction to make the racing better or to leave it as is and have another data point after next year.”

The industry is still waiting on the 2025 schedule, however, given the positive reception to NASCAR’s presence at Iowa Speedway, there are high hopes and expectations of returning. It’s a market and fan base that the drivers have praised for being passionate and deserving of a race, and there is no reason to believe NASCAR wouldn’t return next season.

Iowa speedway was built in 2006 and aside from the repaved corners, still has its original surface.

“We went into the weekend with a lot of unknowns,” Sawyer said. “As I said last week, our goal going into Iowa when we announced it last October, was not to repave. We wanted to get that first race on that old pavement and kind of get a data point, but that just wasn’t the case. Some areas needed some attention and we did that, and we have what we had there this past weekend.”

Story originally appeared on Racer