IA Officials Approve $1M for Speedway

Fri June 24, 2005 - Midwest Edition

DES MOINES, IA (AP) A proposed NASCAR racetrack in Newton received another boost from the state when the Iowa Department of Economic Development Board voted to guarantee a $1 million loan for the project.

The $70 million project is expected to create 26 jobs at an average wage of $14.66 an hour, development officials said.

The city of Newton promised a $1.3 million loan for land and a $2 million loan to finalize the project, said Mayor Charles Allen. The money was borrowed by the city and backed by tax receipts from a tax increment finance district in Newton.

U.S. MotorSport Entertainment Corp. is building the 7/8-mi. asphalt oval, to be designed by NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace, on 226 acres along Interstate 80 south of Newton. Track organizers said it will be the industry’s first driver-designed speedway.

Allen said although an official groundbreaking has not been held, construction has begun.

“There are bulldozers and Caterpillars all over that site right now,” he said. “It’s great. It’s quite a sight to see out there. They have that whole 226 acres and Cats running over the ground right now.”

The speedway will have 42,000 permanent seats for races and space for 40,000 temporary seats. It will feature auto racing and entertainment venues for exhibitions, car shows, trade shows and similar events.

ARCA, USAC and ASA have all agreed to sanction races at the complex.

Last month, Gov. Tom Vilsack signed a $12.5 million incentive package –– exempting the track from paying sales tax on the first $12.5 million in sales. The tax break would end if the track’s ownership changes.