The man who first envisioned a speedway near Newton back in 1998 was in Newton’s City Hall last night, reminiscing with the governor as Tom Vilsack approved a 12.5 million dollar tax break for the proposed track. Construction is set to begin within the month, and Larry Clements of Newton, a car dealer who sells airplanes, too, says the track will make Newton a destination. He says the Speed Channel has called, asking for details of the project.
“That means they’re talking about Newton, Iowa,” Clements says. “It’s really exciting that we can do something like this for our hometown.”
Clements is one of the investors in the track, which he says will be entirely owned by Iowans. The track will be seven-eighths-of-a-mile long, with a road course on the inside.
“We don’t mention any sanctioning body’s names, but we’re going to have stock car racing. We’ll have open wheel racing — three or four different series of each. We’ll have sports cars racing and motorcycles,” Clements says. “It’s going to be a very diverse group.”
Clements brought the red race car he owns and parked it outside the Newton City Hall for Wednesday’s festivities. The car races in ARCA events. The cars are exactly the same as NASCAR/Nextel Cup cars. The driver of Clements’ car, Frank Kimmel, has won the last five ARCA national championships.
“We have the most successful racing team in American and we intend to keep it that way,” Clements says, with a laugh. Clements intends to take a few laps himself once the Newton track is built. Clements has driven cars at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids.
“I don’t know if I’ll be racing in a race, but I’ll be around the track in a race car,” Clements says.