If you want to see some auto racing this summer than the state of Iowa will provide many chances again this year. More than 50 tracks operate across the state ranging from drag strips to figure 8 racing. Jim Amstutz, general manager of Hawkeye Downs speedway in Cedar Rapids says Iowa has the most tracks per population next to Indiana. Amstutz says the popularity of auto racing can be traced back to the county fairs where racing is a big part of the culture or the rural county fairs.Most of the tracks in Iowa are one-quarter to one-half mile dirt ovals. One notable exception is Hawkeye Downs which has been an asphalt oval since 1989. He says it’s a double-edged sword as if someone wants to run there, they have to build a car to race only there. Amstutz says the explosion in popularity of NASCAR racing has also been felt at the local level. He says it has legitimized the sports and they get more coverage and sponsorship than they used to as people realized there’s a broad fan base. He says the downside is it’s easier for people to stay home and watch televised races if the weather is bad.
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