High octane ethanol fuels championship for Oder

By Nebraska Ethanol Board | November 25, 2015

John Oder claimed the Kearney Raceway Pro Class Points Championship in a come-from-behind victory Nov. 1.

Trailing by 60 points late in the event, Oder needed to win two more rounds to take the lead. His excellent reaction time helped him snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat and earn his second consecutive championship.

The Osceola resident won six races during the 2015 season, including his final three races. Although he’s been racing 16 years, this was his first year racing on Ignite Fuel—a 90 percent ethanol and 10 percent gasoline blend.

“I remember thinking ‘Wow! I can’t believe I pulled this off,’” Oder said. “I didn’t think I had a chance of winning the championship again, but the car ran on the ‘number’ all weekend. It finally sank in the following week when I had time to think about the accomplishments and work I did figuring out the new fuel, carburetor and car setup.”

His fuel choice shifted when he was approached by Grady Koch, local farmer and Kearney Raceway Park investor, to consider racing his 2015 season on Ignite Fuel.

“I wanted to supply a consistent ethanol-blended fuel for our racers and I needed a driver willing to give it a try,” Koch said. “Bringing in Ignite high performance racing fuel was a great decision for our track. We get a high quality, high octane blend of ethanol every time.”

Oder’s 1971 Dodge Challenger, which runs a Dodge 440 big block engine, needed some fine tuning to properly run the new fuel. The first half of his racing season was spent adjusting the new carburetor, which was not set up for drag racing, according to Oder.

“I’m always interested in ways to advance my racing and I like a challenge,” he said. “I drove on race fuel 15 years, so I knew this would be a good learning experience. I learned to be patient and not give up quickly when I had issues at the beginning of the season.”

After figuring out the jetting and timing of his Challenger, Oder noted the biggest benefit was the consistency of the car.

“Consistent times allow for precise ‘dialing in,’ which is important in E.T. bracket racing,” he said. “My horse power and torque increased helping improve all my times.”

Although Oder burns about 30 percent more fuel the economics still work in his favor. The race fuel he used previously cost more than $7.70 per gallon. Ignite Fuel has a 114 octane rating and is about $4 per gallon—about a 50 percent savings.

“I would recommend it to my fellow racers to improve horsepower, torque and consistency,” Oder said. “Ethanol fuel doesn’t corrode like straight methanol, so I was able to use all the same fuel system components.”

Koch is in negotiations now to bring Ignite Fuel to Nebraska circle tracks including Junction Motor Speedway in McCool and I-80 Speedway in Greenwood.

“Racers gain about 10 percent more horsepower with a less expensive fuel that burns cleaner,” Koch noted. “Ethanol is a green fuel that reduces pollution and our exposure to unhealthy toxic compounds found in racing fuel. This is a great opportunity for more tracks to get a cleaner-burning, high octane fuel.”