NASCAR Leader Testifies for Biofuels

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing this week on advanced biofuels. Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow of Michigan says advanced biofuels are here now, and they are an important part of the energy title in the recently passed farm bill.

“The Energy Title funds critical programs that helps our farmers produce energy from non-food sources and helps companies get low-interest loans for those facilities, and of course, all that creates jobs,” Stabenow said, adding that to continue to grow the industry, there needs to be policies that support it. She said passing the Farm Bill was a strong first step toward to that goal. “Now we need to provide certainty through a strong Renewable Fuels Standard and tax credits to support long-term investments in our energy future.” Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senate Agriculture Committee

childress-testOne of the witnesses at the hearing was NASCAR team owner Richard Childress who talked about the many benefits of corn-based biofuels, such as the higher fuel performance he has seen in more than five million miles of racing since the E15 ethanol blend was introduced in the 2011 racing season.

“When they decided to go with an ethanol-blend of fuel, in 2010, NASCAR started looking at what was the correct blend to use. After many tests, they came up with E15,” Childress said, pointing out that his own racing team tested up to E30 blends, which he believes would be even better. “Nothing but positive results came out of our tests. Engines ran cooler, ethanol makes more octane so it makes more horsepower, less carbon buildup, better emissions, and our parts when we tore the engines down looked much better.” NASCAR team owner Richard Childress at biofuels hearing

American Ethanol on the NASCAR Green® Team

nascar-race-greenAmerican Ethanol is once again partnering with NASCAR® for the NASCAR Race to Green™ initiative now through April 25 to promote environmentally friendly biofuels.

The goal of the initiative is to highlight the accomplishments of green programs that have helped reduce the NASCAR’s carbon footprint. “This partnership with NASCAR Green truly shows the sport’s commitment to preserving our environment. Each race further proves ethanol is a reliable, high-performance fuel that has revitalized our rural communities and created more than 400,000 jobs across the country,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.

American-Ethanol-and-NASCAR-LogoAmerican Ethanol has partnered with NASCAR since 2011 to promote the use of biofuels by using Sunoco Green E15, a 15 percent ethanol blended fuel, across its three national series. American Ethanol also sponsors the Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet SS driven by Sunoco Rookie of the Year™ contender and 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series™ Champion Austin Dillon.

I had a chance to catch up with Buis while in DC last week and this year’s American Ethanol program was one of several topics we discussed. Interview with Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis

Ethanol-Fueled NASCAR Welcomed Back to St. Louis

gateway1NASCAR racing, fueled by ethanol, is being welcomed back to the St. Louis area. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) says NASCAR returns to Gateway Motorsports Park with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on June 14, 2014.

National Corn Growers Association President Martin Barbre joined track owner Curtis Francois, NASCAR VP of Racing Operations Jim Cassidy, and American Ethanol spokesman and St. Louis native Kenny Wallace for the announcement.

“We have had great success utilizing the American Ethanol brand to educate the NASCAR Nation about the performance, economic and environmental benefits of corn-based ethanol over the last three years.” Barbre said. “This track sits in the heart of corn country so it will provide us another good opportunity to educate the public.”

NASCAR Drives 5 Million Miles on E15

NASCAR has announced that during the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Phoenix it surpassed more than five million competition miles across its three national series on Sunoco Green E15, a biofuel blended with 15 percent ethanol, made from American grown corn. The five-million-miles have been accumulated across practice, qualifying and racing laps dating back to 2011 when the biofuel was introduced.

“Fuel is fundamental to our sport and our teams demand performance without compromise,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “With more 5 million miles on E15than five million miles of hard competitive driving across our three national series, Sunoco’s Green E15 renewable fuel stands up to rigorous racing conditions while significantly reducing our impact on the environment.”

In 2011 NASCAR entered into a partnership with Sunoco and the American Ethanol industry, launching its long-term biofuels program to reduce emissions of the fuel used across its three national series. The transition to the biofuel has reduced on-track carbon emissions and teams report an increase in horsepower.

“The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) joined the American Ethanol partnership with Growth Energy and NASCAR because we knew ethanol would perform and shine in a very public way. General awareness of ethanol and its benefits is extremely high with the tens of millions of fans who watch racing every week,” said Martin Barbre, NCGA president and Carmi, Ill. farmer. “Ethanol support has always been strong in corn production states, but now the knowledge of ethanol’s economic, environmental and energy security advantages are growing coast to coast.”

Since transitioning to the biofuel blended with 15 percent ethanol, American Ethanol says NASCAR has helped validate the fuel’s qualities and the positive environmental impact of ethanol in front of an audience of millions of NASCAR fans, helping shift attitudes and behaviors around the use of ethanol.

“This five million mile mark is yet another testament to Sunoco Green E15′s value as a fuel and a real validator of our product,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “You couldn’t ask for a tougher testing ground and Sunoco Green E15 stands up to the challenge each weekend and that’s good news for everyone who supports renewable fuels.”

Kenny Wallace to Drive in 900th NASCAR Race

Kenny WallaceNASCAR driver Kenny Wallace will be making his 900th NASCAR start at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, September 13, 2014  in the Dollar General 300. Joining the “900 Club”, Wallace will be among an elite group of drivers that includes Richard Petty, Ricky Rudd, Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jarrett.

Wallace will be behind the wheel of the RAB Racing No. 29 ToyotaCare, American Ethanol Toyota Camry, in a special paint scheme to commemorate the NASCAR milestone. Wallace currently sits at 898 NASCAR starts, but will also compete in the Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in the No. 81 SS Green Light American Ethanol Toyota Tundra on Friday night, thanks to Illinois farmers and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.

To put into perspective the achievement of 900 NASCAR starts over his 24-year career, Wallace has traveled more than 276,000 miles across the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck Series, garnering nine wins, 75 top five finishes, 204 top 10 finishes, and an astonishing 198,164 completed laps. Wallace has also been named the Nationwide Series Most Popular Driver three times in his career. Continue reading

Ethanol NASCAR Driver at Farm Progress Show

While at the 2013 Farm Progress Show, NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace stopped by to talk about ethanol and why he’s so passionate about helping farmer’s get their message out about E-15 and using it, not only in race cars, but in cars traveling up and down the highway as well.

Wallace loves to help spread the message about how ethanol blends can help increase the performance of all types of vehicles, because he knows how E15 performs in the race cars he drives on the NASCAR circuit.  He teamed up with the Illinois Corn Growers Association as a sponsor several years ago and never gets tired of talking about the home-grown fuel.

“I get to educate people that ethanol is a high performance fuel, it burns really clean and all it did was do good.”

You can listen to Leah’s interview with Kenny here Interview with Kenny Wallace

Kenny is pictured here at Farm Progress Show with Leah Guffey to his right, Tricia Braid with Illinois Corn Growers Association to his left, Jeff Nalley with Cromwell Ag Radio, Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen and Domestic Fuel editor Cindy Zimmerman.

Wallace Goes Full Throttle for Ethanol

Bristol Motor Speedway will see a familiar face and a familiar brand Saturday for the Food City 250, as American Ethanol again joins forces with veteran driver Kenny Wallace. Wallace climbs back behind the wheel of the No. 29 RAB Racing American Ethanol Toyota Camry.

770“I’m so excited to be going to Bristol Motor Speedway, the ultimate short track, for grassroots racing just like I grew up on. The night race at Bristol is absolutely electrifying, and I’m really excited to be a part of it and looking forward to showing off our new American Ethanol paint scheme,” said Wallace. “It’s been almost a full year since I’ve raced an American Ethanol Camry, and I’m so happy to be debuting a brand new paint scheme for them on a very special day for me, my 50th birthday.”

Wallace, a veteran of the .533-mile oval, has not only won at “Thunder Valley”, but has finished in the top ten in half of his Nationwide Series starts (18 of 36). Additionally, Wallace has two top-ten finishes and two laps led in Sprint Cup Series competition at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“We (NASCAR drivers) have driven more than four million miles on American Ethanol. It’s been well accepted in the sport because it works. The transition was easy. We got more power and better performance,” said Wallace. “Unlike imported oil, ethanol is good for our economy and creates jobs in America both in ethanol plants and on family farms.”

This will mark the first NASCAR Nationwide Series race in 2013 that American Ethanol will be the primary sponsor on the No. 29 of Kenny Wallace, with RAB Racing. This will also be Wallace’s 897th NASCAR start.

“Away from the track Kenny is an outspoken advocate for American Ethanol and family farmers,” said Jon Holzfaster, a Paxton, Neb. farmer and chairman of the National Corn Growers Association’s NASCAR Advisory Committee. “He is a fan favorite and has played a big role in building fan support for ethanol within the sport. Today, NASCAR fans are 50 percent more likely than non-fans to support the use of ethanol in their own cars.”

American Ethanol Inducted in NASCAR Hall of Fame

766American Ethanol driver Austin Dillon unveiled a display at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to celebrate his win at the Mudsummer Classic held at the Eldora Speedway on July 25, 2013. The exhibit features a jar of dirt Dillon scooped up near the finish line with the Eldora golden shove, his winner’s trophy and the No. 39 American Ethanol truck he drove to victory, becoming the first driver to win a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on dirt.

“Dillon’s win in Eldora was not only a victory for the up-and-coming star, it was also a victory for American Ethanol,” said National Corn Growers Association NASCAR Advisory Committee Chair Jon Holzfaster, a farmer from Paxton, Neb. “By making history in the American Ethanol truck, Dillon drew a bright spotlight to ethanol’s ability to fuel victory even under the toughest of conditions. This attention is now compounded as NASCAR Hall of Fame visitors will clearly see how ethanol is not only a winner for NASCAR but for all Americans who want to drive using a high performance, lower emission fuel.”

This was the first NASCAR series race held on a dirt track in 43 years, featuring a mix of NASCAR Sprint Cup racers, dirt track veterans and rising stars. Dillon pulled out the victory overcoming a 19th place start.

The race in Eldora was much anticipated by NASCAR fans eager to see the return to dirt, with the race trending worldwide on Twitter and a ratings boost for SPEED network’s primetime coverage. SPEED’s coverage, which prominently featured the American Ethanol logo throughout the race, included commentary from racing greats Tony Stewart, Brad Keselowski and Clint Bowyer.

American Ethanol Wins Ohio NASCAR Race

dillon-winAmerican Ethanol was in the winner’s circle Wednesday night as Austin Dillon won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™ Mudsummer Classic.

This inaugural event was held at one of the world’s most iconic dirt tracks, Eldora Speedway in Ohio. The race, which was the first NASCAR-sanctioned national event held on a dirt track since 1970, brought American Ethanol to the forefront as Dillon finished in front in the No. 39 American Ethanol Chevrolet truck.

Dillon detailed his journey from Chicago to Ohio, and the role ethanol played, in a blog, providing a look at how flex fuel vehicles, E85 and E15 can help consumers save money as gas prices rise faster than the summer temperatures.

Dillon will race next in the NASCAR Nationwide Series™ race to be held in Indiana this Saturday followed by an appearance in the Sprint Cup Series™ race on Sunday. American Ethanol will be on site promoting the benefits of the biofuel all weekend.

American Ethanol up for Michigan NASCAR Race

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.

american-ethanol-paintDillon 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 Sprint Cup series race will begin at 1:00 pm Eastern time on Sunday. American Ethanol partners include Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, and New Holland.

American Ethanol Helps NASCAR Go Green

nascar-race-greenIn honor of Earth Day, racing is shifting gears this month to focus attention on environmental awareness with the NASCAR RACE TO GREEN™ campaign and American Ethanol is part of the effort.

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.”

Watch it here:

Growth Energy Leadership Conference Kicks off

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 stGrowth_Energy_logo (1)ate 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.”

Rusty Wallace Named Honorary Iowan

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 Continues Support of Austin Dillon

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 American Ethanol Car photo credit Chuck ZimmermanHolzfaster, 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 Hits Three Million Miles on E15

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™.