KNOXVILLE, Iowa — There's an obvious difference between Central Pa red clay and the dirt used at the Sprint Car Capital of the World. FOX43s Lyndsay Barna got a one-on-one tour with Knoxville Race Director and Promoter John McCoy.
It maybe the off-season, but just getting to see and hear the history behind what makes Knoxville, Iowa the Sprint Car Capital of the World, is worth a stop any day of the year.
Picture this place, completely sold out for the 60th Knoxville Nationals in August. The track can hold over 21,000 people. With a shorten season in 2020, the track didn’t need to haul in as much dirt, only completing half of their points races.
“Last year, we just did with some fill down here with 80 loads, but we can do as many as 200, 300, even 400 (loads). They kind of stock pile it on the inside berm, until they need it. The berm gets lower and lower," said McCoy.
"It’s a project trying to find dirt, that we like so we’re always looking.“
McCoy also alluded to that the dirt doesn't create a dust that most dirt's do so it's cleaner and helps for the track being right in town.
River bottom gumbo, ever heard of it? Me either until McCoy explained it is the dirt they use on the track.
“Actually, it’s scientific name is Zook soils. Every state has it, about. Usually on river bottoms. There’s several other tracks in the county that have about the same thing. It’s just been really good here. This is a big half mile. It’s not very banked but it’s fast," said McCoy.
And, you won’t believe where a big portion of the dirt has and still comes from.
“We’ve asked so many people for dirt, to try us and we do test it. Really the last two thousand loads on the track has come from my family farm. My uncle gave the track some dirt 30-40 years ago and our farm is on the river bottom and has that in places," said McCoy.
Amazing, using a local resource to let it rip around Knoxville. Doesn't get more natural than that. But, what makes it the most known place for sprint car action?
“That’s a catchy phrase (the Sprint Car Capital of the World). There’s nothing that says there’s a crown we own. But, it started years ago, and it’s really stuck," said McCoy.