In the midst all of the hullabaloo surrounding the changes to the points system and the format for making the Chase, there was one huge change in NASCAR this year which might turn out to be one of the most prescient decisions of them all. Coming off a fuel mileage finish in Sprint Cup’s postseason debut at Chicagoland, it’s important to note the gas that actually kept those cars going: a continued, issue-free introduction of Sunoco Green E15 fuel across all three major national racing series.
Sunoco Green E15 is a mid-level ethanol blend fuel made with corn grown by farmers across the United States. Once the corn is harvested, an ethanol production facility processes the corn into grain ethanol – using efficient production technologies that have made American Ethanol a viable energy source. The grain ethanol is then blended with gasoline to create Sunoco Green E15, a cleaner-burning, environmentally conscious mixture. That fuel is then pumped direct from tankers at the track, instead of from on-site underground storage tanks, providing increased horsepower and decreased greenhouse gas emissions.
Just this week (September 21) NASCAR issued a detailed “white paper” announcing the new fuel has accumulated more than a million miles of driving in 2011 combined across the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series™. The report, entitled “One Million Competition Miles on Sunoco Green E15” presents data to prove E15’s qualities as a fuel at the very highest level of motorsports. In all, more than 1.3 million miles have been accumulated in practice, qualifying and actual races since Daytona 500 Speedweeks, the new gasoline propelling Trevor Bayne’s thrilling and unexpected victory in February earlier this year.
“Before NASCAR switched its fuel to Sunoco Green E15 at the start of the 2011 racing season, there was extensive analysis and deep consideration about the decision,” said Mike Lynch, Managing Director of Green Innovation for NASCAR. “Successfully transitioning to the new fuel and surpassing a million miles, all on America’s toughest proving ground, is a validation of Sunoco Green E15 as a high-performance racing fuel and is part of our overall effort to go green. NASCAR is proud to use this American-made product because it creates American jobs while also reducing harmful emissions.”
It’s also the latest way NASCAR has created a platform for clean energy across the board. Launching its Green program in 2008, the sanctioning body was armed with the aspiration of being a leader in sustainability across not just sports but throughout the business community. In just three short years, the program has grown in leaps and bounds to the point where NASCAR has the largest recycling program in sports. This program is run in conjunction with trusted partners including Coca-Cola Recycling, Coors Light and Safety Kleen and includes the E15 initiative; the world’s largest solar-powered sport facility by more than a factor of two; and a tree-planting program that offsets all the carbon from its Sprint Cup Series events.
The release of the million mile report is particularly timely because this week, the Environmental Protection Agency, plus government officials and Americans nationwide are celebrating National Pollution Prevention Week. According to the EPA, taking preventative steps form the cornerstone of sustainability and NASCAR’s proactive efforts serve as a role model for how other companies can step to the plate.
“This is yet another testament to E15’s value as a fuel,” explained Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy as to NASCAR’s involvement. “If E15 can fuel the dozens of drivers in dozens of different vehicles every weekend without issue, then it stands to reason that E15 can be used in everyday street cars by everyday Americans.”
“Farmers across America have been using ethanol fuel in engines, large and small, successfully for decades and NASCAR’s move to Sunoco Green E15 has thrown public acceptance into a higher gear,” added Bart Schott, President of the National Corn Growers Association. “E15 is performing like a champ in the most rigorous driving conditions on the planet and that’s good news for everyone who supports renewable fuels.”
But the last word goes to the four-decade plus veteran team owner Richard Childress better placed than almost anyone to see how good the new fuel has been. Said Childress: “RCR’s [Richard Childress Racing] transition to Sunoco Green E15 was seamless. In fact, we’re even seeing some increases in horsepower this year. And as an owner, it’s nice to know that the fuel your cars are burning are made from American-grown corn.”
“Sunoco’s NASCAR Site”:http://sunocoinc.com/site/Consumer/NASCAR/
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