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Iowa Speedway could host two IndyCar events

Friday, July 29, 2011

DES MOINES (AP) - One of the smallest markets in the IndyCar series could be in line to host one of its biggest weekends starting next year.

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said the series is looking into the possibility of holding a doubleheader at Iowa Speedway in Newton next season that would award full championship points for each race.

Bernard told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he spoke with Iowa Speedway president Jerry Jauron over the weekend about hosting races on Saturday night and the following Sunday in 2012.

Iowa drew over 35,000 for Saturday night's race won by Marco Andretti despite the threat of storms that could have postponed it. TV ratings were up 35 percent from its 2010 event, which was held on a Sunday.

Bernard says a potential Iowa double-dip would cut down costs for fans, possibly expand TV opportunities, and balance the schedule between road and oval courses. The series will run nine races on road/street courses this season and eight on ovals, such as Iowa's, i n 2011.

"It's such a passionate fan base in that market. The fact that we are selling out, I approached (Jauron) about the possibility of doing a true doubleheader," Bernard said. "If we'd have had a follow up race after that great race on Saturday, that would have been the best advertising for us. "

The racing didn't disappoint, either. Andretti moved ahead of Dario Franchitti, then held off a spirited late charge from Tony Kanaan to win his first race since 2006.

"It's a great track, and there's a lot of race fans in mid-America. They showed up and they supported it. It was loud in there Saturday night when Marco won that race," Bernard said. "They're passionate. They know who the drivers are."

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