Checkered flags wave and loud roars zoom by spectators at any one of the racetracks in Iowa. Located 35 miles southeast of Des Moines, international students studying in Iowa may want to take a trip to Knoxville to see one of the many races on Saturday nights at the Knoxville Raceway. Come to school early before the semester starts in August to see the sprint car event, Knoxville Nationals.
Knoxville Raceway is located on the Marion Country Fairgrounds and originally began as a horse racing track. “No actual auto racing was staged until 1914, unless of course one counts the 1901 race, which can most likely be touted as the first automobile race attempted on a fairgrounds in Iowa, if not the country,” the Knoxville Raceway says.
Thought to be the fourth largest outdoor facility, the seating surrounding Knoxville Raceway is slightly above the 24,000 mark compared to seating in 1954 was which was listed as 2,000.
The Iowa Speedway is located in Newton Iowa, 30 miles east of Des Moines. The track was designed by former NASCAR Champion Rusty Wallace, now an anchor and analyst for ABC-TV/ESPN and was created for year-round use. It is the first track in the world to protect fans and drivers through the use of SAFER barrier technology surrounding the entire perimeter of the track. Concerts, Show N’ Shine hot rod car shows, party decks, and a multitude of races can keep any international student in Iowa busy for the weekend.
In Altoona, part of the Des Moines metropolitan area, there is a different type of racing, horse racing. International students in Iowa might want to check out one of the horse races at Prairie Meadows, even if they don’t bet, from April through October.
For students old enough to gamble, Prairie Meadows also has a casino with nearly 2,000 slot machines as well as blackjack, craps and roulette tables and a smoke free poker room.