NASCAR Michigan Xfinity Auto Racing

Daniel Suarez yells after winning the NASCAR Xfinity series auto race at Michigan International Speedway, Saturday, June 11, 2016 in Brooklyn, Mich. The was the first win for Suarez. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

NEWTON, Iowa | It's purely conjecture, of course, but it seems like one out of every three vehicles on the road in Siouxland is some variation of a fancy pickup.

In Our Town, Sioux City, it might be one out of two.

Which leads us to the truck situation in this town, Newton, which is home to Iowa Speedway, "The Fastest Short Track on the Planet.''

It wasn't curious, only intriguing, but while watching NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing you naturally become curiouser and curiouser.

Saturday, the NCWTS visited the 7/8th-mile speedway as a prelude to Sunday's NASCAR Xfinity Series American Ethanol E15 250.

The second-tier -- only Sprint Cup is higher -- NASCAR series has become a staple here.

But, the NCWTS Speediatrics 200 was quite a curtain-raiser and was a show in itself, truck drivers you didn't mind in the least. They weren't raising your ire, only their rivals.

Among those gunning for the checkers in both wide open weekend events were Xfinity points leader Daniel Suarez and Ben Kennedy.

Suarez, from Monterrey, became the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR major series feature last week at Michigan International Speedway.

Kennedy, just 24, and an oldster in the Truck Series that features nine drivers 21 years old or younger, is the great grandson of NSACAR founder Bill France, Sr.

Suarez, also 24, will be challenged by the sport's hottest shoes today.

Because Sprint Car takes Father's Day Weekend off, Brad Keselowski returns to Iowa and the three-time winner here will have a legion of Hawkeye State fans cheering for another checkered flag.

A late entry to slip into a driver's seat is 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr., who takes over for Matt Tifft in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

Tifft has an ailing back.

"It feels good for sure and I'm still trying to relive how everything happened (at Michigan) to be honest with you,'' said Suarez, after an Iowa practice. "It was just unbelievable in the way everything worked out because, to be honest with you, it wasn't an easy weekend at all.

Kennedy is making his Xfinity debut in the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing No. 2 Camaro.

The youth movement in the Xfinity Series also includes Brandon Jones, who is sixth in points. He made his Series debut in Iowa last year.

COLLEGE INFLUENCE: In the ultra expensive sport of big time auto racing, sponsorship is vital and a hard sell.

Interestingly, three drivers in the Trucks have lined up collegiate support and keep in mind many of the major league drivers, crew chiefs and crew members possess engineering degrees from universities across the country.

Liberty University is one of 18-year-old William Byron's sponsors and technical giant Vatterott University backs 17-year-old Jake "Fireball'' Griffin of Quincy, Illinois, in the Truck Series.

Xfinity and Truck driver Brandon Brown gets backing from Coastal Carolina, in the news this week primarily because the school's baseball team has qualified for the first time for the College World Series in Omaha.

SISTERS: Paige and Claire Decker were attempting to make track and Xfinity Series history in Saturday qualifying for Sunday's 250.

The sisters from racing hotbed Eagle River, Wisconsin, have never accomplished the breakthrough feat.

Driving Vroom Brands Chevys, Paige (21) and Claire (23) finished 21st and 27th, respectively, in the Camping World feature in Martinsville, Virginia., in April.

In doing so, they became only the second sister duo to accomplish that in the NCWTS competition.

POLLS: Because the county seat of Jasper County isn't all that many laps from either Iowa City or Ames, there was talk in the Speedway media center about prognostications for Iowa and Iowa State football fortunes in 2016.

The Sporting News picks Iowa to win the Big Ten West and the Hawkeyes are 17th in the national preseason poll. Iowa State is ticketed for ninth in the 10-team Big 12.

Oh, some folks were wondering if North Dakota State, picked No. 1 to win a sixth straight Football Championship Subdivision national title, would probably beat Iowa and Iowa State if they were matched.

Northern Iowa, by the way, is listed No. 4 in FCS by the magazine and South Dakota State 12th.

NDSU plays at Iowa Sept. 17. ISU, fortunately, does not have to play the Bison.

SDSU's schedule runs the gamut of competition. The Jacks open at No. 25 Texas Christian (FBS) then host Drake.

Race/football fans in the media room from nearby Ottumwa were also bursting with pride about new Rutgers football coach Chris Ash. Ash is a graduate of Ottumwa High School, played at Drake and coached at Drake and Iowa State before landing as a top aide at Ohio State.

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