NEWTON — The Verizon IndyCar Series announced the open wheel series’ 2018 race start times and TV schedule Wednesday, and with it came a change for Iowa Speedway.
The 7/8-mile oval in Newton has been host to an IndyCar race since 2007, and over the course of those 11 races, the race date and start times have fluctuated. The last two years, the NBCSN broadcast has spearheaded a start time in midafternoon — approximately 4:30 p.m. — for the Sunday races. The 2018 event, still to be broadcast on NBCSN, will move back to 1 p.m. for the Iowa Corn 300 on July 8.
Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small told The Gazette on Wednesday that move was a conscious effort to respond to fans who felt that start time made for difficulty with travel before a day most have to return to work.
“We worked with IndyCar during the offseason to move the race up due to the feedback we received from our fans this year,” Small said. “It makes it easier for out-of-state fans to get home after the race before work on Monday. It should also be better temperature-wise for our fans as well.”
The IndyCar start time completes Iowa Speedway’s 2018 schedule and start time slate.
For the third straight season, the season will open with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series doubleheader, but after a year away, the races return to Father’s Day weekend on June 16 and 17, with 5:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. starts, respectively. Small has talked at length about date equity in the past, and Father’s Day weekend is one in which Small and Iowa Speedway find value, he said.
The rest of Iowa Speedway’s schedule essentially is a repeat of 2017.
The ARCA Racing Series takes to the track July 7 for a 7:30 p.m. start, a day before the Iowa Corn 300. Indy Lights also will be in action July 8. The racing season concludes July 27 and 28 with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and second Xfinity Series date, the flagship U.S. Cellular 250, with 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. starts, respectively.
Full 2018 Iowa Speedway schedule:
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Iowa 200 — Saturday, June 16; 5:30 p.m.
NASCAR XFINITY Series American Ethanol E15 250 presented by Enogen — Sunday, June 17; 3:30 p.m.
ARCA Racing Series Iowa 150 — Saturday, July 7; 7:30 p.m.
Indy Lights Iowa 100 — Sunday, July 8; TBA
Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300 — Sunday, July 8, 1 p.m.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series Casey’s General Store 150 — Friday, July 27; 7 p.m.
NASCAR XFINITY Series U.S. Cellular 250 — Saturday, July 28; 2 p.m.
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