In a season of much change – a brand new points system for the first time in over three decades; the elimination of the catch can man from the over the wall crew; new splitter brace-less front ends; a first time track (Kentucky) on the Cup circuit and a shake up in the composition of the Chase tracks – the biggest adjustment comes in arguably the most vital area of all… the fuel inside the car.
This season, as part of a long-term commitment to “going green,” NASCAR will use Sunoco Green E15 racing gasoline in every race of all three national series. The new 15% ethanol blend is made with corn grown in the United States, so it’s very much a case of fuel that comes “from the green fields of America’s heartland to the green flag on race day.” Here’s how it works in practice; it’s a four-step process from field to track:
1. American Farmers harvest corn throughout the country.
2. Ethanol Conversion: An ethanol production facility in Fulton, N.Y. processes the corn into grain ethanol using the latest, most efficient production technologies that have made American Ethanol a viable energy source.
3. Blending & Refinement: The grain ethanol is then moved to the Sunoco refinery in Marcos Hook, Pa. where it is blended with gasoline to create Sunoco Green E15.
4. At the Racetrack: The new fuel will be pumped directly from tankers at the track, rather than from on-site underground storage tanks providing increased horsepower and decreased greenhouse gas emissions.
As part of this new fuel initiative, NASCAR also announced a major long-term partnership with American Ethanol – led by ethanol advocacy group Growth Energy, a coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters including farmers and members of the ethanol supply chain. The purpose of this collaboration is to spread the message of American ethanol to millions of race fans the length and breadth of the country. The Growth Energy partnership will support drivers, teams and tracks with marketing, promotional activities, advertising and a season-long weekly contingency award in 2011.
“NASCAR and American Ethanol are ideal partners,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “American Ethanol’s new partnership with NASCAR is much larger and more ambitious than a typical sports sponsorship. Here we have an entire industry looking to NASCAR to communicate its message that America is capable of producing its own renewable, greener fuel. The entire NASCAR industry will benefit from American Ethanol’s multi-faceted support of NASCAR, as well as from thousands of farmers and members of the ethanol supply chain now serving as new ambassadors for the sport.”
This program is just the latest in a long-term plan that’s designed to make stock car racing one of the most eco-friendly sports in America, both on and off the track. From “NASCAR Green Clean Air” – a program to help capture the carbon emissions produced by racing that plants 10 new trees for each green flag that drops during Cup Series events – to Roush Fenway Racing’s push to recycle 96% of their racecar, E15 is just the latest, most innovative way the sport is looking to make a difference in the environment.
“E15 is an enormous opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create U.S. jobs and strengthen national energy security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “There is nothing more American than NASCAR and there is no fuel more American than ethanol. We are so proud that the bounty of American farming will be used in NASCAR racing.”
Activation will begin with the “Great American Race” at the famed Daytona International Speedway, where 120,000 replica American Ethanol green flags will be distributed to NASCAR fans at the race as a visible reminder of the new, greener fuel.
“NASCAR is leading by example and showing that American ethanol-blended fuel works in the most challenging engine environment,” added Jeff Broin, CEO of POET, a network of 27 ethanol plants producing more than 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol annually. “When the racecars take the green flag at Daytona, American Ethanol will be catapulted to a global stage and a new level of proof as the fuel of the future is already here today. The whole world will see we are developing our own domestic energy sources right here in America with jobs that can’t be outsourced.”
In addition to the partnership with Growth Energy, the nation’s corn growers are joining forces with NASCAR to promote the use of corn-based American Ethanol. As an Official Partner of NASCAR, The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) will leverage their relationship to authentically spread the message to NASCAR fans around the role American Farmers play in the development of American Ethanol.
“The goal is to bring ethanol’s positive messages from job creation to cleaner air to consumers,” Chairman Darrin Ihnen, a family farmer from Hurley, S.D. When people hear a message like ‘American Ethanol: Trusted By NASCAR’ that carries a lot of weight and adds to ethanol’s credibility and reputation.”
“We’re greatly excited about this opportunity to help educate NASCAR fans at the race tracks and around the country about the great work of our corn growers in feeding and fueling the world,” he continued. “Ethanol is a growing use for corn and provides us a domestic, renewable fuel that reduces emissions and creates jobs right here at home. We are encouraging corn farmers nationwide to watch the Daytona 500 on Feb. 20 and be proud of their role in fueling NASCAR and the nation.”
So, if you’re headed to the track this weekend, make sure you pick up your American Ethanol green flag and bring a whole new meaning in 2011 to going green.
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