The NTT IndyCar Series is interested in returning to Iowa Speedway as soon as next year, which will have the welcome effect of adding an additional short oval to the schedule.
The series only has four oval events on this year’s 16-race calendar, a number which has been trending lower in recent years, to the disappointment of many fans.
Oval racing can bring close and exciting racing lap after lap, and tends to showcase the drivers’ mental stamina better than a road course can.
Iowa Speedway, a 0.894-mile short oval, had been visited by IndyCar every season since 2007, but was left off the 2021 schedule when it was released back in October of last year.
Talking with RACER.com, IndyCar series owner Roger Penske revealed that he is looking to achieve a better balance of track types in the coming years, and would be happy to bring back Iowa.
“When we’re looking at the entire schedule, I want to have a mix of big ovals, like Indianapolis and Texas, and then you want to have short ovals,” Penske said.
“We’d like to get to Iowa, which NASCAR controls, so we’re not in any position now to say yes, we will or we won’t, but that’s a real opportunity for us.
“And then, with the road and the street courses, what we need to do is maintain that date equity.
“That’s my biggest area of focus so that we can have date equity and people can plan to come each year, and at a time that’s convenient for them, and one that they’re used to.
“I would say that the schedule will have somewhere around 16, 17, or 18 races next year.
“We don’t have anything to send out yet, but that would be in that range for our goals, with a good mixture and seeing where we can get extra ovals. We’re certainly focusing on that.”
A return of Iowa, or a different short oval such as Richmond International Raceway, would be a welcome addition in the eyes of many fans.
This season the only oval track left of the schedule is World Wide Technology Raceway, better known as Gateway, which will host the IndyCar series on August 21.