In the Fast Lane racing column.
Tracks in the Heartland got two nice additions with the release of NASCAR's 2009 schedules earlier this week.
The Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway is going to be a smash. That is just a great little racetrack, and fans there have supported every series that has raced there since it opened in the fall of 2006.
I bet that Aug. 1 race sells out in one day.
Chicagoland Speedway also picked up a standalone Truck race on Aug. 28. The only trouble is, it's two weeks before the Gateway race. It would be nice if they could space those things out a little better.
Still, that's two more races within easy driving distances for us, and that's good news.
Good and bad
There's good news and bad news about IndyCar's new television contract that was announced earlier this month.
The bad news is 13 races on the schedule are on Versus, a network most people have never heard of. The good news is the network plans a lot of additional programming the series isn't currently receiving, such as qualifying shows and race reruns.
Peoria-area Comcast digital (channel 549) and HD (channel 921) subscribers get this network but it isn't available on Comcast's standard package.
The network currently carries Professional Bull Riding, the NHL and some college football.
The Indianapolis 500 will continue to be broadcast on ABC.
The AMA Flat Track Series has a triple header starting Saturday at Springfield.
There's the Singles season finale on Saturday night, a Twins race next Sunday and the make-up of the rained-out May Mile on Sept. 1.
Jake Johnson leads the Singles standings by 17 points over recent Peoria TT winner Henry Wiles.
Wiles still has an outside chance to win the championship. Wins are worth 23 points and second-place finishes 19 so if Johnson were to fail to make the main and Wiles would win or place second, he could take the title.
Former Caterpillar-sponsored driver Scott Wimmer tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he is not a part of the mix at Richard Childress Racing next year.
Wimmer had hopes of being added to the Cup roster when Childress fields a fourth team next year but, says J-S motorsports columnist Dave Kallmann, Wimmer "wasn't the choice of the sponsors."
Casey Mears got the nod for the fourth seat Saturday.
An interesting report out of Daytona this week: For next year's July race, the superstretch, or backstretch, grandstands will not be open.
Ticket sales for the July race are never as large as for the Daytona 500 in February. The Daytona News-Journal reports that the cost of opening that 57,000-seat grandstand area includes $200,000 for the rental of two Jumbotron monitors plus trams to shuttle fans to the area plus personnel to man concession stands, direct fans to their seats.
The NHRA's biggest event of the season, the U.S. Nationals, runs next weekend at Indianapolis.
There's always a lot of news before, during and after that race. A few of the announcements that have been made coming up to the race are that Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Craig Treble has joined the Don Schumacher Racing stable for the remainder of the season and that Brittany and Courtney Force will both the driving in the Top Alcohol class.
The youngest daughters of John Force had been alternating races in the car this summer but Force is allowing both of them to race at O'Reilly Raceway Park.
Schrader on dirt
Ken Schrader must have dirt in his veins. The veteran driver returns to the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds next weekend, trying for a three-peat in the Southern 100 ARCA race.
This will be the eighth year in a row Schrader has competed in this race. In addition to his two wins, he also has four top-10 finishes and two poles.
The race starts at 1 p.m.
Nevilles at the mile
Mackinaw brothers Derek and Nick Neville will be racing in the ASA Midwest Tour Wisconsin All-Star 100 at the Milwaukee Mile today.
Also in the field are Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch.
Jane Miller is the Journal Star motorsports columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.