American Ethanol will be on center stage at the Michigan NASCAR race this weekend including driver Austin Dillon behind the wheel of the #33 car in a cool black and green ethanol paintout.
Dillon says the use of 15% ethanol blended fuel as a clean burning alternative has had great benefits for NASCAR racing. “If you look back on our history on performance and see how clean our engines burn, it’s been an easy transition from our old fuel to American ethanol,” he says. “Our engines run great and create horsepower each and every race and you don’t have a fuel problem as far as running out of fuel and you can still run the long runs over a long period of time.”
Dillon also uses ethanol in his everyday car because he believes it is helping to create a better, greener future for future generations. “The fuel speaks for itself, the way that it’s enabling us to have cleaner burning fuel,” he said. “To be able to go out and really perform well and still have a fuel that burns clean is awesome. I want my kids to be able to enjoy the same things that I have been able to enjoy with our country and I feel like moving to a green initiative like American ethanol is important for everyone.”
As the grandson of racing legend Richard Childress, Dillon and his family have been involved in the racing business for generations and he says having American Ethanol as a sponsor has opened their eyes to the benefits of ethanol to the environment for the future.
The campaign is hosting a National Tree Planting initiative this month encouraging racing teams, tracks, drivers, partners and fans to pledge to plant some trees today – Earth Day – to help offset carbon emissions produced over the three national series over the season. Through the course of one mature tree’s lifetime, it absorbs about one metric ton of carbon dioxide – the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a NASCAR Sprint Cup™ car driving 500 miles.
American Ethanol has pledged to plant a tree for every mile raced in April. With almost 4,000 miles fuels by Sunoco Green E15 over the month, the 4,000 trees planted will be enough to offset the carbon emissions of all the miles driven on American-made ethanol in practices and qualifying laps.
“American Ethanol shares the commitment of NASCAR to operate sustainably and do our part to protect and preserve the environment,” said National Corn Growers Association board member Jon Holzfaster of Nebraska. “Farmers manage their farms every day with the tandem goals of making a profit but doing it in a way that is better for the environment. So we are proud to expand our commitment to NASCAR Green.”
NASCAR has also released a 30-second TV ad featuring Roush Fenway driver Greg Biffle and spotlighting the use of ethanol. “So, wanna be eco-friendly?” the announcer asks Biffle, who answers “Of course.”
ANNCR: “Ok, got corn?”
BIFFLE: “We got that.”
ANNCR: “Got some of it blended into fuel?”
BIFFLE: “Got it.”
ANNCR: “Got a car to use that fuel?”
BIFFLE: “Sure do.”
Today Growth Energy is kicking off its fourth annual Executive Leadership Conference in Las Vegas. The event is designed to bring Growth Energy members together to assess the state of the organization as well as the state of the ethanol industry. The conference will feature several roundtables with moderators and special guest speakers from NASCAR as well as the automobile, agriculture, and renewable energy industry.
“The Executive Leadership conference provides an excellent opportunity for our members to have a frank and open discussion regarding the state of the industry, the successes we have realized in the past year as well as the challenges moving forward,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “As our organization continues to grow, so does the size and scope of the conference,” Buis continued. ‘This year promises to be the best yet with many in depth conversations about how our industry moves forward on a number of fronts.”
Buis said in particular, there have been a number of forums planned to discuss the global marketplace, E15 and the path forward, the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and many of the myths surrounding it, as well as market conditions moving forward. Additionally, there will be a in-depth discussion of American Ethanol’s role in this year’s NASCAR season.
“We have always strived to put together a broad conference that addresses many of the specific issues our membership faces and this year will be no different. I am confident that this conference will help outline the strategic goals of our industry and how best to achieve them in these challenging times,” continued Buis.
“I look forward to this year’s conference and also celebrating the many successes our industry has achieved in the past year. Regardless of the challenges this industry has faced, the individuals gathered here are among the very best and exemplify true leadership in every sense of the way and I look forward to working with them the next few days to help identify the strategic goals and challenges we will face together in the biofuels industry.”
NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace is now an “Honorary Iowan”. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad gave him this honor due to his work in highlighting the importance of ethanol and E15. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series both use E15.
“Iowa is one of the largest producers of ethanol. All the NASCAR cars are running on 15 percent ethanol, and I hope that one of these days all Iowans can run on 15 percent ethanol also,” said Wallace.
American Ethanol will be continuing its partnership with Richard Childress Racing and driver Austin Dillon, who won Rookie of the Year last year, for the 2013 NASCAR season. Dillon will race the No. 33 American Ethanol Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Michigan International Speedway on June 16 and will drive a RCR-fielded entry in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Eldora Speedway on July 24 with an American Ethanol paint scheme.
“We want to show the people coast-to-coast there is a great alternative to imported oil and our association with NASCAR and RCR is doing that extremely well,” said Jon Holzfaster, a Paxton, NE farmer and chairman of the National Corn Growers Association’s NASCAR Advisory Committee. “Ethanol is also responsible for bringing a rural renaissance from Main Street to the family farm.”
In addition to the races mentioned above, American Ethanol, a program that seeks to expand consumer awareness of the benefits of ethanol and E15, will be an associate sponsor of Dillon’s No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday, Feb. 23, and Honey Nut Cheerios No. 33 car in the Sprint Cup Series this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
“American Ethanol is extremely pleased to once again partner with Austin Dillon, Richard Childress and the entire RCR team to help promote a sustainable homegrown American fuel that is better for our environment, reduces our dependence on foreign oil and creates jobs right here in the U.S., while revitalizing rural economies across America,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.
As part of the sponsorship, Dillon has become and official spokesperson for American Ethanol. “It feels good to be able to help spread the news about American Ethanol and encourage every American to run the fuel of the future, American Ethanol, in their personal vehicles,” said Dillon. “If American Ethanol can withstand the rigors of NASCAR, it can withstand everyday driving. Homegrown biofuels like American Ethanol have stepped up to help our nation’s economy, and are proving to be a better fuel. I am proud to wear the American Ethanol colors in NASCAR and I hope I can bring them to Victory Lane in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2013.”
NASCAR race cars powered by a blend of 15% ethanol have now officially passed the three million mile mark.
American Ethanol partner Growth Energy announced the milestone today at the annual National Association of Convenience Stores Show (NACS) in Las Vegas. Austin Dillon, driver of the No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet in NASCAR, made an appearance at the event to mark the achievement.
Dillon, who is currently contending for the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship on the strength of two wins, 14 top five and a series-leading 22 top 10 finishes, applauded American Ethanol’s efforts to increase knowledge about renewable fuels. When visiting the Growth Energy booth at the trade show, he said, “since the 2011 racing season, NASCAR drivers have seen a considerable increase in horsepower thanks to Sunoco Green E15. Reaching three million miles on this proven renewable fuel is yet another testament to the quality and value of ethanol – for my fellow American drivers both on and off the track.” NASCAR drivers hit the three million mile threshold in mid-September 2012 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, proving the continued durability and high performance of American-made E15.
In order to increase awareness of ethanol and dispel myths about the renewable domestic fuel, Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association formed the American Ethanol partnership with NASCAR in 2011. Over the past two seasons, NASCAR has been powered by a fuel comprised of 15 percent ethanol, made from American-grown corn. The durability and high performance capabilities of E15 have been continuously proven while racing the rigorous conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™, NASCAR Nationwide Series™, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™.
The President of the Chicagoland Speedway believes that Illinois Farmers and American Ethanol have been great partners for NASCAR.
“NASCAR’s a great platform for them to get their important message out there about the role that farmers play in our overall well being,” said Scott Paddock during an interview at Saturday’s Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. “And also the value of American ethanol and that blend. If it’s good enough for the world’s best stock car drivers, it’s certainly good enough for American consumers,” Paddock added, noting that ethanol is a cleaner burning fuel and helps the country be less dependent on foreign oil.
This morning at Chicagoland Speedway the driver of the American Ethanol car, Austin Dillon, paid a visit to the Family Farmers exhibit in Champions Park outside the track. He made some remarks to the people who had gathered around to see him before signing autographs.
I was able to get a moment with Austin. He says he’s always excited to come to the midwestern tracks in the heart of corn country where a majority of the feedstock that’s making the Sunoco Green E15 he’s racing on is grown. He’s glad that corn growers can come out to see him race and have a good time at the track.
At the NASCAR Fuel for Business Council® meeting in Chicago, New Holland became the Official Agricultural Equipment of NASCAR®. Here’s New Holland on display outside of Chicagoland Speedway for this weekend’s NASCAR races. I’ll be covering the Nationwide Series Dollar General 300. In fact, I’m out at the track working with Illinois Family Farmers and the Illinois Corn Growers. You know these cars will be racing on Sunoco Green E15, a 15-percent ethanol blend fuel made with corn grown in the United States!
New Holland, the latest NASCAR Official Partner, has served the needs of farmers and ranchers across North America for more than 110 years, and its equipment plays a critical role in the production of ethanol.
“We are proud of our newly expanded alliance with NASCAR and the role our equipment plays in helping power the sport,” said Abe Hughes, vice president of New Holland, North America. “We are the agricultural industry’s Clean Energy Leader, and are looking forward to further enhancing our 30-year relationship with a sport that is pushing the bar on clean and efficient fuel that is not only helping to restore America’s energy independence, but also serves to strengthen American farmers and the rural economy. New Holland stands 100% behind this impact.”
While I was out at the track yesterday I ran into Mark Schneidewind, farmer and manager of Will County Farm Bureau. He was helping set up the exhibit area for Illinois Family farmers. Listen to my interview with Mark to get a preview of the action for race fans when they come out to the track: Interview with Mark Schneidewind
Ethanol had another victory on the NASCAR track today when Elliott Sadler won the Nationwide Series STP 300. The race came out of caution with two laps to go so it made for an exciting finish. Placing 4th today was master agvocate Kenny Wallace, spokesperson for the Illinois Corn Growers Family Farmers.
After the race I asked Elliott what he thinks about racing on a fuel that’s made in part by Illinois corn growers. He says the initiative that NASCAR has taken to go green in the last couple years is a great one. Since the track is surrounded by corn and soybeans he says, “It’s neat to see something in the field growing. I’m a farmer at home too.”
Then Richard Childress, RCR Racing, chimed in. “In NASCAR we’ve put in almost 4 million miles or maybe a little over by now on E15, American Ethanol blend of fuel. That says a lot for what E15 can do for your car.”
E15 is on display again today at the NASCAR Nationwide STP 300 race in Joliet, IL. We had a few raindrops just before the green flag but it dissipated and the race is on.
Prior to the race I spent time with the Illinois Corn Growers Family Farmers High Performance Team. Spokesperson, Kenny Wallace, driver of the 09 car today was on hand. I recorded a conversation he had with Glenn Fritz that I thought you might enjoy. Kenny calls Glenn Fritz “the ultimate farmer.” We were located at Greenfields Campground owned by Glenn.
Glenn has a grandson on the farm that is now the 5th generation of the family on the land. He’s got an interesting story to tell and I hope you’ll enjoy listening to it.
The winner of the American Ethanol 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is James Buescher. He’s pictured here in Victory Lane at Chicagoland Speedway. Presenting the trophy is Chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board Bill Christ and Tricia Braid, Communications Director.
During the post race press conference I asked James what he thought of racing on a blend of home grown fuel made by corn farmers. He says “It’s really cool to be able to be part of NASCAR going green. It’s only positive. We’re helping the environment.” By the way, he had to have his carburetor replaced during the race!
Illinois corn farmer Donna Jeschke got to wave the green flag for the American Ethanol 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race tonight. Donna is ending her term on the board of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.
She found the experience to be exciting and just a little scary. She says this type of promotion puts what she does as a farmer out in front of the public to help them better understand where their food comes from.
This is just the first race of an ethanol sponsored weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. You’ll be able to find more interviews over the next few days on the Illinois Corn Growers Corn Corps Blog.
Then on Sunday we’ve got the second annual STP 300 which is part of the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The Sprint Cup Series has the weekend off.
Family Farmers cannot be missed at the event, with a 17,000 square foot exhibit area onsite to be complemented with both a Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series “Family Farmers” entry. This work is aimed at improving the trust between consumers and family farmers. In corn checkoff funded research, it was revealed that most influential people in the Chicago area think that corporations own most of the farms in Illinois. This erodes the base of support among that same group for issues that are important to farmers regarding regulations, food safety, transportation, and trade.
I’ll be hanging out with Kenny Wallace and Illinois Corn Growers this afternoon. Kenny will be driving the #99 Family Farmers car in the STP 300.
“Chicagoland Speedway is a great track for me. We finished seventh in this race last year with our Family Farmers Toyota Camry. Since they closed Gateway International Raceway in 2010, Chicago has become sort of like a home track for me since it is only about four hours away from my hometown of St. Louis. Not only that, but it is the home of Family Farmers and American Ethanol, so I want to run well for them and I feel confident that we will run well.”
So, look for photos and interviews later today and tomorrow from an Illinois NASCAR weekend. See you from the track.
NASCAR driver Todd Peck of Peck Motorsports made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at the Iowa Speedway in Newton this past weekend.
The day before the race, Peck filled up with B15 at Love’s Travel Center near the track and took part in a pump promotion there. Area fans came to the event to learn about biodiesel and meet Todd Peck (center) who signed autographs. Peck is pictured with Grant Kimberly of the Iowa Soybean Association (left) and Randy Olson of the Iowa Biodiesel Board (right).
“Peck Motorsports is dedicated to be environmentally clean leaders in NASCAR,” said Peck. “Fueling our team transporter full of biodiesel has been a part of that process. We can’t thank the Iowa Biodiesel Board enough for joining our efforts in Iowa this race weekend in making our journey as ‘green’ as possible.”
Based in Pennsylvania, Peck Motorsports, with help from Renewable Engineered Systems, has outfitted its race hauler with solar panels on the roof, which power the newly installed LED lights and equipment. The team’s goal is to drive to and from races using biodiesel blends. He has has used up to 50 percent biodiesel when filling up.
“We commend Peck Motorsports for taking the initiative to use biodiesel, and would be thrilled to see more NASCAR teams follow suit,” said Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. “NASCAR’s popularity as a spectator sport presents a great opportunity to raise public awareness on biodiesel, and I’m proud that Iowa biodiesel is helping to kick off this team’s racing series.”