by Phil Prazan
He's a racing legend that holds Iowa close to his heart. We're talking about Rusty Wallace. He played a big role in getting the Iowa Speedway to Newton. He has an ownership stake.
Wednesday at the Statehouse Governor Branstad made the NASCAR Hall of Famer an honorary Iowan. Wallace has 55 NASCAR premier division wins.
The new honorary Iowan is trying to get one of the 36 Sprint Cup NASCAR races to the Iowa Speedway.
But after that major crash at the Daytona 500 this past weekend, the team here in Iowa is waiting anxiously for some new NASCAR safety recommendations.
The crash at the Daytona 500 involved a dozen cars and sent 28 people to the hospital. It began a national conversation about the role safety plays in the sport of racing. The CEO of the Iowa Speedway, Doug Fritz, says NASCAR has an elite team studying the crash and it's effects.
"They just announced that they would have a team looking at it from the Daytona International Speedway as well as NASCAR. So they'll investigate and see if there's any improvements to be had and of course we'll pay loose attention," says Fritz.
With so much attention paid to the upcoming report, all hopes of eventually having a NASCAR Sprint Cup run in Iowa are put on hold. The Iowa Speedway has not had any safety problems says Rusty Wallace. They even pioneered the soft-wall technology that surrounds the track.
"With that said, with us never having a problem it doesn't mean we're not going to be pro-active. When NASCAR comes out with their recommendations, what they're finding through their research, we're going to jump right on it. Because we don't ever want a problem that happened at Daytona happen at the Iowa Speedway," says Wallace.
To get one of the 36 Sprint Cup races, one of the other tracks must give one up. Rusty Wallace hopes to negotiate one here to Central Iowa within five years.