The long-standing Iowa premise of “If you build it, it will come” originated in the 1989 film “Field of Dreams.”
A twist on the tagline could be used this weekend at Iowa Speedway, where sponsor Hy-Vee took a “if you promote them, they’ll come” approach to the star-studded IndyCar doubleheader.
The West Des Moines-based grocery chain has spent about $10 million to rejuvenate the 1.4 mile cobbled oval built in 2006 to recruit top musical artists to perform on Saturdays and Sundays and host family events all over Iowa. Installation of the highway.
“I think it’s a big, big problem for the city, and I’m not saying this in a disparaging way, but if you look at a lot of these small towns in Iowa, these small towns are struggling and they need a boost.” said Hy-Vee CEO Randy Edeker. “We think Hy-Vee should invest in small town Iowa right now. We should help them grow, find something we can be proud of and organize three or four days that will be great for the city.
Hy-Vee opened Iowa Speedway free to fans for Friday practice and expects about 40,000 spectators a day for Saturday and Sunday races. The grocer has written checks to sign Tim McGraw, Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton and Florida Georgia Line for pre- and post-race gigs, and there’s competition from food trucks across the property.
It’s the kind of push that could turn Iowa Speedway into a destination IndyCar race, similar to its current street circuit stops in St. Petersburg, Long Beach, Nashville, Toronto and next year. in Detroit are celebrated. These weekends are part IndyCar race, part street festival and part family fun.
The race is being promoted at Hy-Vee stores in Iowa with numerous posters and life-size cutouts of IndyCar driver Jack Harvey, who is in his first Hy-Vee sponsored season at Rahal Letterman Lanigan. The British rider hails from a small English town nearly 4,000 miles away and Hy-Vee has made Iowa Speedway feel like Harvey’s home race.
He said he was being arrested throughout the Des Moines area – unfathomable for a Briton who has made his home in the United States in northern Indianapolis.
“I really hadn’t spent too much time in Iowa before, and I live in Indy and I’m from the UK, and it feels like home racing for me,” Harvey said. “The amount of people stopping us from wishing us well or saying it on social media is just beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. You even walk into a Hy-Vee Fast and Fresh and you can’t still not really escaping us, which is hilarious in many ways, just to see my face everywhere.
NASCAR owns Iowa Speedway, but the track is leased by Penske Entertainment for IndyCar racing, and Penske has full rights to transform the facility with the huge red Hy-Vee banners and temporary outdoor suites located in turn 1.
GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR RLL
Harvey said he felt pressure to perform Saturday and Sunday in Iowa, where Graham Rahal’s third-place finish in 2020 with Hy-Vee on the car helped kick off the team relationship with the grocer.
But ovals have been a struggle this year for RLL: Rahal in 14th was the top Indianapolis 500 finisher among Honda’s three entries. Harvey, meanwhile, missed the race at the Texas Oval with a concussion and is 20th in points. His best results this year are 13th, three different times, on the road and on the street.
He’s looking for a breakthrough in both Iowa races, and Rahal is coming off of fourth last week in Toronto.
“Overall as a team we’ve shown more pace, and you get the feeling the season is starting to turn for us,” Harvey said. “I would have liked to have been better this year. Obviously you want to have a good race because it’s a home race, but with the way the season has gone, at this stage you just want to get a good race. result, so wherever you can get that positivity or that rejuvenation, I don’t care where it comes from. I take it.”
Drivers are working overtime to prepare for two days of racing in what are expected to be the hottest temperatures of the year.
The forecast calls for temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) for Saturday afternoon’s race, and many drivers have expressed a desire for the 250-lap event to be held at night under the lights instead.
“It’s going to be very hot and really hard to recover to come back for Sunday’s race,” said Rinus VeeKay. “Saturday’s heat is going to be tough.”
Pato O’Ward said he suspects many drivers will be taking ice baths on Saturday night to cool off and prepare for 300 laps on Sunday, when it’s expected to be around 15 degrees cooler.
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