NASCAR Nationwide and IndyCar racing, among other events, hit the asphalt at the 7/8-mile Iowa Speedway track. The experience is much more than the race: Camping spots provide a view of the track, and tailgaters arrive early to grill hot dogs and discuss the stats of their favorite drivers. Many race weekends feature concerts before or after the race.
Fans can get close to the action with a Fan Walk Pass, which allows access (via a shuttle) to a walkway next to the pits and to Victory Lane. On-site concessions include the local favorite Iowa Machine Shed, known for hearty, meaty meals, plus many smaller vendors.
After the race, head to Holiday Inn Express in downtown Newton for a clean and comfortable place to crash (from $105).
Local breakfast spot Midtown Cafe is the sort of homey place politicians love to visit. It serves large breakfasts of biscuits and gravy, omelets and hash browns.
Newton’s quaint town square includes some noteworthy shops, such as The Farmer’s Wife, packed with country-chic home decor, and Just Fabulous Darling, a women’s clothing and accessories boutique heavy on glitz and bright colors.
While downtown, stop for a mocha or panini at Uncle Nancy’s, a local lunch and coffee joint.
Cheese lovers will want to visit Maytag Dairy Farms, home of Iowa’s famous aged Maytag blue cheese, where you can snap up an entire wheel (or just a wedge).
Dinner options include Okoboji Grill for burgers and sandwiches or Montana Mike’s Steakhouse for hearty comfort food.
More information: Newton Chamber of Commerce (800) 798-0299; experiencenewton.com