One of the more interesting places you might visit in Iowa is Marshalltown Speedway. As the name would suggest, it’s not just a racetrack; it’s a whole community of auto enthusiasts that come together to enjoy not only the cars but also the camaraderie of the racing season.
It might be hard to put a number on how big the Speedway is, because as it is, it’s a bit of a floating community. The track operates out of the same space it’s always had, but the shops and restaurants that sprouted up around it helped it to feel a bit more like a city. The track itself is situated on a hill, with grandstands and paddocks set on either side. But with the shops and offices that line the back straight, it doesn’t just feel like a racetrack anymore.
Why Is Racing Popular In Iowa?
The most popular sport in Iowa is baseball. It’s a sport traditionally played by farm boys in the summer, and something of a middle ground between football and basketball. It enjoys a lot of popularity in the state because there’s plenty of opportunity for everyone to play. You don’t need to be a professional athlete to enjoy a game of baseball in Iowa.
However, the opportunity to enjoy a race isn’t as equally available to everybody. Sure, the occasional motorsport fan will show up at the track on a Saturday night, but it’s not something you could rely on. This was the case until the 1970s, when the Iowa Racing and Antique Auto Collector Shows began to grow in popularity. Started by a group of car collectors and enthusiasts who wanted to share their passion with others, the shows have grown to encompass everything from motorcycles to tractors, and even race cars and aircraft. On an airplane hangar stage, there is typically a flyover by military or civilian planes, along with classic car and bike demos.
The Evolution Of Marshalltown Speedway
Marshalltown Speedway started as a grass roots endeavor. Started by a handful of enthusiasts who wanted to share their love for cars and racing, the track originally operated out of a single gas station. Since then, it’s grown to encompass several businesses spread out over 4.8 miles of highway. It continues to this day, with annual attendance topping out around 35,000. If you happen to be in Iowa this month, you should definitely pay the track a visit. It’s not just the racing that’s worth seeing, there’s also the exhibits, the vendors, and the people. You could spend the whole day just walking around and taking it all in. There’s something for everyone.