Race Weekend Central

NASCAR A Winner At Shrinking Its “Carbon Footprint”

This week on Voices, it’s all about “the news.” Three releases in particular have caught my eye over the last couple of weeks concerning NASCAR’s efforts to “Go Green.” Well, two actually; the third is just proof that the sanctioning body is super serious in its efforts. Yet another press release has been in front of me, over and over, week after week since the 2013 season began and it too can be tied, or at least should be, to “NASCAR’s Race to Green” as it is officially called.

Here is the first…

UPS has gone from sponsoring a race car in NASCAR’s top series to contributing in another, subtle way: helping their efforts to protect the environment.

NASCAR launches additional environmental initiatives: As racing season shifts gears into April, NASCAR is launching two programs further bolstering the sustainability efforts the sanctioning body, industry, and a wide range of partners have in place to help reduce the sport’s carbon footprint. Headlining the month-long NASCAR Green initiative leading up to Earth Day and Arbor Day are two signature programs designed to help drive more sustainable behavior within the sport. NASCAR Race to Green will galvanize teams, tracks, drivers, Official NASCAR Partners, and most importantly fans around the theme of protecting and preserving our environment. The NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program Delivered by UPS will plant trees to absorb carbon emissions equivalent to all of the racing in NASCAR’s three national series for the entire season. One mature tree over the course of its lifetime absorbs about one metric ton of carbon dioxide, the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a NASCAR Sprint Cup car driving 500 miles. NASCAR Race to Green includes a call-to-action for fans and the industry to pledge trees that will be planted across the country as well as in a number of areas recently devastated by natural disasters. As presenting sponsor of the NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program, UPS has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to commit to plant more than 8,000 trees – including 90 in each market where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for the remainder of 2013. Additionally, UPS will serve as presenting sponsor for the NASCAR Green Summit later this fall.

Really? “The NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program Delivered by UPS?” While I am all for planting trees and the overall gist of the program, don’t ya think they could have come up with a shorter name for the durn thing? Heck, it’s gonna take a grown tree a full two minutes just to absorb the carbon dioxide exhaled from a person’s lungs every time someone happens to mention the name out loud! Another thing I like about this particular press release is its assessment of its own importance with the line, “NASCAR Race to Green will galvanize teams, tracks, drivers, Official NASCAR Partners, and most importantly fans, around the theme of protecting and preserving our environment.”

Well, thank the Good Lord for that! I’m sure that my readers didn’t need me to point all this out, seeing as I’m sure you were already “galvanized” concerning the situation thanks to NASCAR! But just in case you weren’t already “galvanized” by that first one, the powers that be still want to make sure.

Liberty Tire Recycling Joins NASCAR Green: As part of NASCAR Race to Green, a month-long, industry-wide effort to reduce the sport’s carbon footprint, NASCAR and Liberty Tire Recycling announced a new partnership that designates the tire recycling services provider as the Official Tire Recycler of NASCAR Green. NASCAR has the largest recycling program in sports, including a comprehensive effort that accounts for approximately 120,000 Goodyear tires recycled across NASCAR’s top three national series each year. Liberty Tire Recycling will join other Official NASCAR Green partners, which comprise a comprehensive recycling program, including Coca-Cola, MillerCoors, Creative Recycling, Goodyear, Safety-Kleen, and Sprint. In conjunction with the NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program Delivered by UPS, an initiative that will neutralize the carbon emissions of all of the racing in NASCAR’s three national series, Liberty Tire Recycling will provide GroundSmart Mulch that will enhance the landscaping of trees that are donated to areas of need throughout the country. The rubber mulch lasts longer than its wood mulch counterpart and prevents soil from washing away. Additionally, Liberty Tire Recycling products, such as rubberized asphalt will be used to repave racetracks and parking lots at NASCAR Home Track racetracks across the country.

Do you know how these tires are “recycled” throughout the top 3 series? They are leased by Goodyear to each team for x amount of dollars. Unused tires must be returned for a “partial” credit of the original lease price. Those “unused tires” are then leased again and sometimes even again! All these deals are tracked by tiny micro chips embedded into the tires, but that is another story. Don’t be misled; very few actual race tires will ever end up in a playground or around your tree.

Now that you are even more aware of your environment, this next one proves just how far NASCAR is willing to go save the planet.

With the Pit Crew Challenge cancelled, the only stops you’ll see this year will be at the track, during race conditions.

Pit Crew Challenge cancelled: (Credit: The Sporting News) NASCAR will not conduct its All-Star Pit Crew Challenge this year as it was unable to land sponsorship for the event. The event, a staple of NASCAR’s All-Star week since 2005, featured pit crews competing in an arena setting where they would jack cars, change tires and push cars across the arena floor. The results of the Pit Crew Challenge had been used to determine the order that teams selected pit stalls for the All-Star Race. NASCAR will use qualifying results just as it does for all regular-season events to determine pit stall selection order for the All-Star Race, which is scheduled for May 18th at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Craftsman and then Sprint had sponsored the Pit Crew Challenge throughout the years, but Sprint reallocated its money to sponsor the season-opening exhibition Sprint Unlimited race at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR officials have said since January that they were looking for a sponsor to continue the event.

First question is, why does it need a sponsor? Surely, NASCAR can afford to “present” this popular event with its own money. What better way to advertise your green efforts than to sponsor a competition where they don’t even turn on the engines?! Oh, I get it; if you cancel the event altogether, just think of all the carbon you eliminated from fans attending! Genius!

But let’s not hoist their petard too high, because there is a very special opportunity that NASCAR is missing and that concerns the longest bit of “running” news release I can remember on jayski.com. This bit is still posted, week after week, day after day, since it came out.

NASCAR will no longer provide attendance estimates: (Credit: USA Today) NASCAR will end its policy of providing estimated attendance figures in its race reports this season. Spokesman Kerry Tharp said tracks still will have the option of providing crowd estimates, but it will be their prerogative. “NASCAR’s race reports generally becomes a box score for the media, and box scores from sporting events do not generally provide estimates,” Tharp said. Of the 23 tracks that play host to races in NASCAR’s premier series, 21 are owned by publicly traded companies such as International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Officials with those tracks have said they don’t provide attendance figures because they don’t want to provide earnings guidance.

Why the sudden change? Is it really because they got tired of the evil “media” always pointing out how they dip year after year? And why is this item still posted day after day since it was released? I guess I didn’t realize providing earnings guidance was so dangerous!

As I see it, the way it should be done is to not only continue to release the attendance figures, but revel in the fact that they continue to dwindle! After all, what better way to reduce the sport’s overall carbon footprint than by having 50,000 fans not show up!

I thought Brian France was supposed to be a marketing genius? Just think of all the parking lots at racetracks that won’t have to be repaved with old racing tires simply because there is no need for them.

NASCAR has been reducing its carbon footprint for years; they just weren’t smart enough to see it!

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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