American Ethanol driver Austin Dillon, National Corn Growers Association president Chip Bowling, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, RCR Racing owner Richard Childress
Over the weekend at Richmond International Raceway, American Ethanol and NASCAR officially celebrated five years and seven million miles of running on 15% ethanol blended Sunoco Green E15, unveiling a new paint scheme with E15 prominently located on the hood of Austin Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet SS.
Dillon, who has been advocating the benefits of ethanol for three years now, drove his first American Ethanol paint of the 2015 racing season in the Saturday Toyota Owners 400 race, which was delayed by rain until Sunday. While he finished 27th in the race, ethanol still came in first.
During a press conference on Saturday, National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling talked about what the American Ethanol partnership has meant for American farmers. “E15 American Ethanol turns our unrivaled ability to produce corn into a national asset. Consumer demand for ethanol is good for family farmers and fans appreciate that,” said Bowling. “We have grown the 12 largest corn crops in history in the last 12 years so ethanol demand is critical. It means farmers can pay their bills, reinvest in the broader economy and keep family operations like mine viable for future generations.”
Bowling added that according to a 2014 study, NASCAR fans are over 75 percent more likely than non-fans to support the use of ethanol blended with gasoline to fuel their own car.
In an era of compartmentalized media, USA Today holds a unique position. A truly national newspaper with circulation only surpassed by the Wall Street Journal, USA Today reaches Americans across the country every day with bright graphics and its bold layout.
This Friday, American Ethanol and NASCAR celebrated hitting the three million mile mark in a very public way running a full-page announcement on the back cover of the popular daily’s Sports section. Drawing readers in with a visually arresting image showing the American Ethanol flag flying high over the pulse pounding racetrack action, the spread also provided exciting information about what switching to a 15 percent ethanol fuel blend has done for the sport and could do for American drivers off track too.
For two years, every vehicle in every NASCAR race has raced toward victory with E15 in the tank. Through the American Ethanol and NASCAR partnership, the nation’s top drivers, whether they race in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World Trucks series, have trusted their tanks to this sustainable, renewable biofuel blend.
What have they found?
Running on a 15 percent ethanol blend has not only reduced their emissions by 20 percent, it has actually increased their horsepower. Ethanol provides the performance NASCAR drivers demand and fuels the pulse quickening action that keeps fans on the edge of their seats.
American Ethanol and NASCAR want to share the great news and celebrate this achievement with NASCAR fans and environmentalists alike. Whether reading USA Today in a hotel lobby or at the end of a driveway, sports fans across the country are joining in the celebration of America’s homegrown sport’s successes running on its homegrown fuel.
Last weekend was an Illinois Family Farmer weekend at the Chicagoland speedway for the NASCAR races.
Family Farmers car driver Kenny Wallace stopped by to visit with corn growers attending Saturday’s Dollar General 300 Nationwide Series race, including Illinois Corn Marketing Board chairman Kent Kleinschmidt and his wife Sara. “He’s a real friendly guy and easy to get along with,” Kent said.
This is the second year that Illinois corn has sponsored Kenny’s #99 car in the NASCAR series which Kent says has worked very well for them. “It’s a different type of promotion than corn farmers usually do,” he said. “When NASCAR went to E15 fuel, that was ahead of when the general public could buy it so we thought that was a good tie in.”
Getting involved with NASCAR ended up getting the corn growers a great spokesman for both ethanol and agriculture in Kenny Wallace who really loves working with family farmers and getting to meet them at the races. “They’re excited to see what this is all about,” Kenny said. “They’re awesome.”
The Illinois corn growers were at the last Chicagoland NASCAR race in July and Kenny was excited to see some new farmer faces there this time. “I reminded the farmers to be proud,” he said. “Just remember that it’s your fuel out there that I’m burning.”
It was a great weekend of NASCAR action for Illinois corn growers at Chicagoland Speedway. Capping it off was Sunday’s 2nd Annual Nationwide STP 300.
Ethanol had another victory on the NASCAR track when Elliott Sadler won the race. The race came out of caution with two laps to go so it made for an exciting finish.
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.”
American Ethanol was featured on the national stage again for NASCAR racing action at Chicagoland Speedway.
Illinois corn farmer Donna Jeschke got to wave the green flag for the American Ethanol 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Donna is near the end of 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.
In addition to the American Ethanol 225 NASCAR also held the Nationwide Series STP 300 on Sunday. You can find lots of photos from the weekend’s activities in my photo album. Link is below