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NEWTON, Iowa -- For gearheads only:

Well, not entirely because Sunday reading will eventually turn to tennis, basebal,l' nine-man football and Survivor.

NASCAR returned to Iowa here Saturday and today with the Camping World Truck Series M&M's 200 and the Xfinity Series, the triple-A of the Monster Energy Cup Series, a circuit at times that serves as a rehab assignment to Cup's showboats.

For some taking the Checkers for the first time, the search may be over as Survivor belted out in concert as part of events during Wide Opening Weekend on the seven/eighth-mile oval surrounded by corn and bean fields.

Brad Keselowski in the past has twice won Xfinity features here at Iowa Speedway, "The Fastest Short Track on the Planet.''

But he won't run today in the Iowa 250 presented by Enogen, neither will Cup hotshoes Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch, who have actually won Xfinity races this season.

Keselowski has won twice.

The big dogs, then. on Father's Day, shouldn't steal the thunder of Xfinity points leaders Elliott Sadler and Cole Custer, and rising stars Daniel Hemrick and John Hunter Nemechek.

Sadler gave up the Cup Series several years ago and remains an Iowa Speedway crowd favorite.

Iowans Joey Gase of Cedar Rapids and Michael Annett, who was born in Des Moines and once played in the United States Hockey League, are also entered.

Annett and Sadler are JR Motorsports teammates.

Gase will steer the No. 35 Chevrolet Camaro for Go Green Racing and his racer will showcase the paint scheme of the unique "Iowa Donor Network.''

  • The televised Iowa 250 (the green flag drops at 3:16 p.m.) on FS1 can also be heard on the Motor Racing Network. Rusty Wallace, who aided in the design of the Iowa Speedway, will be featured.

There have been different winners in the last seven Xfinity races here so new talent may emerge.

Justin Haley, 19, and Riley Herbst are making their Series debuts and could turn heads.

Bet you didn't know who was the first driver to win a premier national stock car series in Iowa.

It was eventual Hall of Famer Herb Thomas, driving the celebrated Fabulous Hudson Hornet at Davenport Speedway in August of 1953.

Twenty-seven subsequent NASCAR races since then have always been in Newton.

Thomas won in the Grand National Series (forerunner to NASCAR Cup).

Only 30 Iowans have driven in NASCAR premier national series events and only three have taken the checkers -- Dick Hutcherson of Keokuk, Johnny Beauchamp of Harlan and Brett Moffitt of Des Moines.

Moffitt won in trucks and Hutcherson and Beauchamp in Grand National.

For some reason, Harlan's Tiny Lund, the winner of the 1963 Daytona 500, is not considered in a pretty closed shop.

  • Morningside College tennis coach Larry Mason drove into the Mason Family Tennis Center parking lot Saturday and was all smiles because the resurgence of junior tennis in Our Town might have begun serving some aces.

Sadly enough, competitive junior tennis has been absent for years in Sioux City, but among others, South City accountant Scott Beeber, is working on a rebirth.

Mason has rebuilt the tennis program at Morningside and continues to play competitively for more than five decades.

Recent foot problems shelved him for much of the spring and summer, but he plans to play in the 39th University of Okoboji International Tennis Classic in July.

In various age group single, doubles and mixed doubles, the aficianado who guided North High tennis for 21 years that included guiding 69 state tourney qualifiers and singles champs Mike Inman and Adeel Qualbani.

In 2015 he paired with one of his former M'side players, Shannon Schroeder of Cherokee to win the Class A mixed doubles at Okoboji.

  • Yes, they play nine-man professional backyard padded (?) football in several Iowa cities ilncluding Rockwell, Carlisle and Blairsburg, Teams from those burgs compete in the Southern Plains Football League along with teams from Minnesota and South Dakota.

The Midwest Rampage in Carlisle is 5-0 right now. Interestingly, the Rampage roster includes Aurelia's John Miller, who played at old Westmar Colllege.

Yes, that's possible. Miller listed as a 16-year veteran of post-college football of some type.

  • Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Matt Koch didn't have extra help in beating the New York Mets Thursday night.

The Cherokee High School grad pitched six strong innings, striking out five to hike his record to 5-3.

The umpire behind the plate was Bruce Dreckman, who was born in Le Mars and resides in Marcus, a strong relay throw from Cherokee.


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