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Local Editorials

Iowa Speedway: A research center for the future

The most powerful natural force on our planet is agriculture. Corn stalks reach to the sun as the champion plant. Iowa grows more of it than any other place on earth. On average 2.5 billion bushels a season.

As I walked the pits and garages of the Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300 on Sunday July 9, I defined what this race track in Newton can be. Just under a mile in distance Iowa Speedway I imagined as a future research center. It’s more than just a high performance banked race track. View Iowa Speedway as a tech place similar in style to California’s Silicon Valley. Forward calculations by energy scientists would take E-15 and E-85 ethanol mixed fuels to new levels of efficiency. Denatured corn ethanol powering small turbocharged car engines with more power than 100 percent fossil fuel gasoline. Brilliant young engineering grads from Iowa State, Iowa, Drake and Northern Iowa universities would become this new corn ethanol research community developed and centered all around Newton.

Liquid gold is what those corn fields of Iowa hold.

According to the Iowa Corn Growers Association, one bushel of corn gives up three gallons of ethanol. Spread those ethanol gallons with newly researched and produced high-octane biofuels. Just like the legion of young electronics engineers in California that became billionaires for their social media and communications inventions, Newton’s new breed of forward moving enterprising innovators would reap massive wealth from fresh fuel mix patents.

What this new futuristic fuel laboratory industrial park would mean for Newton, Iowa is expanded city development both with economic sustainability and community image. Home builders would invest in high-end condominium villages and solar powered architecture. For those millennial aged engineers holding successful fuel patents new residential plats for multi-million dollar residences. A new culture of advanced technology would emerge; derived from the corn farms of Iowa.

While watching one of the greatest drivers in motor racing history, Team Penske Racing’s Helio Castroneves win the Iowa Corn 300, I noticed an inspiring slogan sign at the Iowa Speedway. Scripted from the Iowa Speedway and the Corn Growers Association it read, “Racing and Ethanol Blended for a Better Iowa.” The “fastest short track on the planet” is more than just a race track, it’s the key to Iowa’s wealth and way forward.

William Hume is a retired gentleman from infrastructure land surveying and civil engineering. Writing nationally about transportation issues and his love of motor racing. Email: humewilliam@hotmail.com, for commentary.

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