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A ‘treacherous’ tire and other Iowa bits

Iowa Speedway finally hit the big time Saturday and not just because it hosted a Nationwide Series race.

No, the track joined the elite tracks becasue it had a tire controversy, albeit a little one. All of the top drivers said the tires were rock-hard, potentially contributing to a series-high 12 cautions.

“The reason there were so many cautions here was because the tires were a little bit treacherous,” said Carl Edwards who finished fourth. “I think, and I hope Goodyear will work on it just a little bit, get it a little better.”

Goodyear likely played it safe on a new track and opted for durability over grip. It just makes you wonder, if these guys can’t get the tires right, what goes on at the extensive tire tests. Ther e have been quite a few at Iowa in its three years of existence.

More help: While the track drew rave reviews, some drivers can’t wait for a new car for the series, which is scheduled to debut next year. The current model is underpowered for some tracks, and a tightened-up rule book, likely designed to cut costs, leave many drivers wanting more.

Jason Leffler, for one, seeks an extra boost.

“We could use a little more horsepower in these cars,” said Leffler, who finished third. “And if they could loosen up the rules a little bit that would be good. But I’m looking forward to coming back (to Iowa) for sure.”

A theory: Why do all the drivers love Iowa Speedway so much? Kenny Wallace has a theory, and it has nothing to do with progressive banking.

“What makes the track such a success right now is that everybody likes my brother Rusty,” said Wallace, who finished a season-best seventh. “Let me tell you, my brother is working his butt off for that track. Everybody talks about how great it is because of how much work he did at the track.

“Now that we have this Nationwide and Truck Series date, they can do more, they can add on. But that is his signature on this track, and that is what made it so big so fast.”

It’s just a theory. But he might be on to something there.

Wallace watching: Even more difficult for Rusty, trickier than helping to build the track, is watching his son, Steve, race.

“It’s definitely nerve racking,” he said. “It’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to do. When we started this three years ago I told my wife, ‘OK, here we go, get your crash helmet on because there’s going to be a lot of people who don’t like him.’

Steve finished 17th in Saturday’s race, but ran as high as second. He was merely a passenger in a three-car crash on lap 236 that took him, and Illinoisans Justin Allgaier and Erik Darnell out of contention.

“We heard everything. We heard some really horrible things that made my wife cry. But it’s been really neat to watching the maturity that happened.”

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