The operators of the Iowa Speedway are optimistic the track will have an impact on its hometown of Newton beyond the asphalt oval where the cars will run. Newton lost its major employer when Whirlpool purchased the Maytag appliance company and subsequently announced it was shutting down Maytag’s operations. Iowa Speedway general Manager Craig Armstrong says the track’s first full season of operation will start the ball rolling.
Armstrong says they look at the racetrack "not only an entertainment venue strictly and solely by itself, but also as the sparkplug for new economic development." Armstrong says there’s a lot of potential for development around the racetrack and they hope to see development in all sectors of the economy, and he says that will be good for Newton. The track opened last fall with a short two-race season the Armstrong says was used to get everything ready for this first full season. Armstrong says the full season of racing signals the track is up and running the other development will follow.
Armstrong says it magnifies as one business needs services from other businesses. Armstrong says he’s seen it happen in other places, most notably Banks County, Georgia where Atlanta Dragway was built. Armstrong says it was one of the poorest counties in Georgia until the track was built and now "that place is booming, its bustling, the tax dollars, the sales tax dollars, are just rolling in and they can afford to buy new schools and new jails and all kinds of neat stuff."
Armstrong says Newton is starting out on a better footing than Banks County had. He says Newton already has a good economic base, even with the loss of Maytag. Armstrong says in time they’ll see the influx of tourism and growth of business surrounding the racetrack. Armstrong says the track will not just pull in Iowans, but bring in people from all over. Armstrong cites the Indy race planned for June as an example.
Armstrong says they expect a huge crowd from out-of-town. He says they will have people from out-of-state and even have had inquiries from out of the country as well. The Iowa Speedway’s first event is April 21st.