Iowa Speedway has tapped longtime NASCAR and Kansas Speedway executive Eric Peterson as its new president ahead of NASCAR’s national series return to the Newton, Iowa facility.
Peterson, a Kansas native, will assume his duties immediately as the track prepares to host its inaugural Cup Series weekend June 14-16. It will also mark the first time the Xfinity Series has competed on the 0.875-mile oval since 2019.
“I mean, absolutely thrilled. So excited to get started in this role,” Peterson told NASCAR.com. “I’ve been very fortunate to be involved with Iowa Speedway over the past several years with several initiatives and just the incredible passion that race fans have for Iowa. It certainly boosts my excitement as well.”
While there are no major professional teams in the Hawkeye State, Iowa is no stranger to big-time sports and fan enthusiasm with a handful of high-level Division I universities. Iowa is also home to the famed Field of Dreams in Dyersville, where the iconic baseball film of the same name was shot.
With NASCAR’s top series set for its Iowa debut, Peterson plans on ensuring the same energy will be brought to the race track for the Cup Series.
“I think it’s just the passion that these folks have for coming out to live events and it’s our responsibility to live up to that hype, and certainly that’s our plan to do so,” Peterson said.
“We’re bringing a major event that’s a party for three days in a row. As you look at what we have coming out, we’re very confident that the product on the track is going to be phenomenal. But it’s also our responsibility to ensure that everybody coming out all three days is having a great time so there’s something for everyone to do as they come out to the track.”
The enthusiasm and anticipation for the Cup Series are already palpable as Peterson noted the Cup race “sold out within minutes of being available.”
Iowa Speedway offers both Xfinity and Cup Series drivers a new challenge as Iowa is a distinctive 0.875 miles in length. Peterson said that the individuality of the oval will provide a show for the fans in attendance.
“It’s absolutely unique and there’s a reason that it’s the ‘fastest short track on the planet,’ and we’re certainly going to prove that and I know competition will as we approach that June race,” Peterson said.
2024 will be busy for Iowa as the facility not only preps for three days of NASCAR events in June, but will have a quick turnaround with IndyCar set to return to the track in July. While there will be plenty of moving parts to have both race weekends go smoothly, Peterson is confident in both the track employees and racing leagues as the summer months approach.
“A lot of planning and preparation goes into that, but IndyCar has been a phenomenal partner with NASCAR and Iowa Speedway over the past four years,” Peterson said. “And it’s really a tip of the cap to the work that they’ve done to put us in a position and prepare us to host this so I’m very confident that working with their team we’ll have two very successful race weekends.”
While general admission for the Cup race is sold out, tickets are still available for Friday and Saturday when you can catch the ARCA Menards Series race, Xfinity Series event and Cup Series practice and qualifying.
“I can personally say the excitement is unlike anything I’ve experienced in my 13 years,” Peterson said. “And I have had a chance to work with the folks like the Iowa Corn Growers (Association), the entitlement sponsor for the Cup race, and spend some time with their partners and fans in the Iowa area and everybody’s talking about it. That excitement just bleeds into everyone else and all of our fans that are coming out there inspires us to put on a phenomenal show.
“We cannot wait ’til June for all the loyal fans to come out and prove that this is going to be a very good event.”