“Boogedy, boogedy, boogedy . . . Let’s go racing boys!” NASCAR fans know well this call to action from legendary NASCAR driver and racing analyst Darrell Waltrip. Meanwhile, E15 is fueling the action on racetracks from Daytona to Talladega. Through the efforts of American Ethanol, millions of people are beginning to know its message.
American Ethanol is a partnership between NASCAR, Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association. The six-year partnership (which began this year) supports NASCAR drivers, racing teams and racetracks with various marketing activities and increases ethanol’s visibility to the American public.
American Ethanol is participating in NASCAR’s Prize Money & Decal Program. It sponsors the American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It provides weekly prize money in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series based on drivers’ finishing positions. It also has a NASCAR driver spokesman. Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Chevrolet car, grew up in Kansas and has spoken about ethanol’s importance to rural economies.
NASCAR CEO Brian France updated the ethanol industry on NASCAR’s use of Sunoco Green E15 at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop (FEW) in Indianapolis in June. France explained how the racing organization did a significant amount of testing on ethanol before it made the decision to fuel race cars with E15. If NASCAR had encountered any problems, the races would not have gone on with E15. France told the audience, “We had to have a lot of confidence in your product.”
With some 80 million fans, NASCAR has high visibility, and the organization has helped correct some of the public’s misconceptions about ethanol. “We’ve become mini evangelists about some of the key points — that ethanol helps with energy independence, that it’s American made, and that it drives down emissions,” France said.
Mechanics will sometimes tell consumers that ethanol will damage engines. Now that the ethanol industry can point to $100,000+ race cars running on E15, the argument can be put to rest, said Rick Tolman, CEO, National Corn Growers Association at FEW.
Ethanol has performed well during this racing season, and its use has resulted in only a minor decrease in fuel efficiency, France said. At the same time, E15 has increased engine horsepower between 5 and 8% and has reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
“More Americans are seeing the benefit of E15 and going green with ethanol when they see how Sunoco Green E15 has helped put NASCAR drivers in Victory Lane week after week,” says Stephanie Dreyer, senior public affairs associate, Growth Energy. “The American Ethanol relationship with NASCAR is much more than just ethanol. It genuinely is about all rural Americans, considering how important ethanol is to the rural economy. The more we educate the American public about ethanol, the better.”