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  • James Hilchen

Iowa Speedway – Calypso Lemonade 150

Photos by James Hilchen, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14

Iowa Speedway 3333 Rusty Wallace Dr Newton, IA 50208

Calypso Lemonade 150 website

Iowa Speedway website

Year Opened: 2006 Capacity: 30,000


The Fastest Short Track on the Planet

Newton Speedway is a 7/8 mile oval track located in Newton, Iowa, about 30 miles east of Des Moines. Nicknamed “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet,” the speedway currently plays host to both the ARCA Calypso Lemonade 150 and the HyVee Salute to Farmers 300, part of the NTT Indycar Series.

The track has changed ownership throughout the years, with NASCAR acquiring the site in 2013. At the time, there was talk of having a Cup race at the speedway, but that has yet to come to fruition.

The track has hosted numerous IndyCar races along with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and ARCA. The speedway has seen numerous big names on its track including Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, and Helio Castroneves.

Food & Beverage 3

Be sure to bring a card for all purchases. Iowa Speedway is cashless.

There is a combination of built-in concessions along with some temporary stands. Chuckies Famous Tenderloin is definitely worth a stop. Pork tenderloin sandwiches are an Iowa staple and Chuckies does it well. A combo meal will run $14. Chuckies also serves up some of the best chicken strips around. The Rib Shack offers brisket and pulled pork sandwiches ($12 w/chips) along with BBQ nachos ($8). Additionally, burgers, hot dogs, nachos, and kettle korn are available from $5-$8.

Coke products ($5) are the soda of choice along with numerous choices of domestic and premium beer ($7-$8).

Atmosphere 4

Entering the gates, there are different race/car related displays and sales promotions. Concessions and restrooms are all under the seating area. As you enter the seating area, the entire track becomes visible. Grandstand seats and bleacher seats, so you will be sitting on a bench. Padded seats are allowed to be brought in, provided there is no metal in them.

In the middle section of the seating area is the Newton Club. Newton Club tickets cost more than grandstand, but the seats are chairbacks. Another perk of the Newton Club is there is an indoor area where you can sit, and can purchase some concessions without missing any of the race. These tickets came in handy on this night as rain delayed the start of the race for three hours, so sitting in an air-conditioned room with snacks and a full bar was definitely worth the added cost.

The recommended seats are from about halfway up the seating area to the top. If sitting in the first few rows, portions of turns 2 and 3 aren’t easily seen. As with almost all tracks, the seats face pit road so its easy to see what is going on with the cars when they pit.

The only drawback of the speedway is there is no track store to purchase any speedway swag.

Neighborhood 2

The track sits on the outskirts of Newton, Iowa. Newton is a small town (approx. 15,000) and, as such, there isn’t much to do outside of attending the race. Driving into town will yield some good results though. Giovannis Pizza stands out as the option here. The pizza is tremendous and if you want to try something different, they offer a “grinder” crust, which is essentially a fried pizza crust. Giovannis is about 3 miles from the track. Newton also has plenty of fast-food options if you just want to grab something for the road.

If staying for a long race weekend, there are a few lodging options, including the AmericInn and Cobblestone Inn and Suites, which are both within a mile of the speedway.

Fans 3

The past few years, many races had been cancelled at the track, largely due to Covid. Possibly for this reason, the turnouts are less than would be expected. That being said, fans don’t just happen upon a race as one might a baseball game. The fans at the track are dedicated race fans and into the race from green flag to finish. They have their favorite drivers and are engaged throughout the race.

Access 4

Getting to the track takes a bit of time. Newton is about 30 minutes east of Des Moines and the track sit just south of Interstate 80. It’s clear to see and there is plenty of signage to direct you. Parking is ample and fairly close to the entrance gates. Once inside, there are plenty of concession areas and restrooms that are easily sufficient to allow you to quickly get back to your seats. This may be different with a completely full crowd. There is also plenty of handicapped seating available.

Return on Investment 4

Grandstand tickets begin at $19. Prices range up from there. We purchased Newton Club tickets for $55 and were pleased with the extra benefits of doing so. Kids 12 and under are free with purchases of tickets in the grandstand. Parking for all tickets is free. Combine reasonable ticket prices with free parking and typical concession prices, and the Iowa Speedway is a good deal.

Extras 2

One extra point goes to the pre-race concert that was given prior to the race.

Another point for the fun car-related names of the concession areas, including the QualiFryer and the Carbur Eatery.

Final Thoughts

The Iowa Speedway isn’t too fancy and there isn’t much to do in the area. However, the speedway is a great place to watch a race in a relaxed atmosphere and the prices are well worth the great experience.

Follow my sports journeys on Twitter and Instagram: @stadiumjwriter

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