Jimmy Small appointed president of Iowa Speedway

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Two weeks after purchasing the 7/8-mile Iowa Speedway, NASCAR has announced that 28-year-old Jimmy Small will take over as the track’s new president.

Small has worked with NASCAR for the past six seasons, and most recently served as senior manager for team marketing services within the sanctioning body’s Industry Services division. He worked as a business and marketing liaison for teams and drivers across all three NASCAR national series.

He also has accrued some accolades for his work in the sport, having been named one of the top sports executives under the age of 30 by Sports Pro Magazine in 2012.

“Jimmy’s tireless dedication, energy and experience make him the ideal candidate for leading Iowa Speedway into this new era,” NASCAR vice president of strategic development Eric Nyquist said in a statement.

“He has a strong background in identifying and creating fan experience improvements and defining best practices designed to help strengthen sponsor relations and ticket sales. In addition, he will have a great support structure at the Speedway and NASCAR.”

In an interview with The Des Moines Register, Small ruled out a potential Sprint Cup race for Iowa Speedway in 2015. This coming season, the track will host two Nationwide Series weekends and a combined weekend featuring the Camping World Truck Series and the IndyCar Series.

However, he did tell the Register’s Bryce Miller that he hoped to re-start discussions with the Iowa state legislature in regards to funding that could provide future upgrades.

“We hope we bring a lot of value to Newton, to Des Moines, to the state of Iowa,” Small said. “We want to continue to be an economic force in this area and continue to drive development. We want the speedway to be an entertainment hub year-round.”

This past summer, the track hoped to attain an $8 million grant from the state but it did not get approved by the state House after the Senate pushed it through.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.