NASCAR reaches million-mile mark with E15, releases white paper

By Holly Jessen | September 21, 2011

More than 1.3 million miles into using E15 in its three major national racing series, NASCAR is still singing the praises of ethanol. “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,” said Mike Lynch, NASCAR’s managing director of green innovation. “NASCAR is proud to use this American-made product because it creates American jobs while also reducing harmful emissions.”

On Sept. 21, NASCAR joined members of Growth Energy at its second annual legislative conference to release the results in a white paper. The four-page document included new details about the 328,632 gallons of E15 consumed in testing, practices, qualifying and racing. NASCAR officially hit the one million-mile mark in mid-August at the Watkins Glen International Speedway. “[Richard Childress Racing’s] transition to Sunoco Green E15 was seamless,” said Richard Childress, owner. “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.”

NASCAR refers to the fuel as Sunoco Green E15 because it’s blended at the Sunoco Inc. facility in Marcus Hook, Pa., and contains some ethanol from the 85 MMgy Sunoco ethanol plant in Fulton, N.Y. The overall partnership with NASCAR is with American Ethanol, a group of nearly 100 entities, including Growth Energy and the National Association of Corn Growers. “This is yet another testament to E15’s value as a fuel,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “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.”

NASCAR’s use of E15 has “thrown public acceptance into a higher gear,” said Bart Schott, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “E15 is performing like champ in the most rigorous driving conditions on the planet and that’s good news for everyone who supports renewable fuels,” he added.

Beginning with the Daytona 500, more than 120 NASCAR racecars are fueled with E15 for races every weekend. The American Ethanol message is reaching millions of Americans at races and on television. The fans of the sport are 40 percent more likely to support the use of ethanol for U.S. energy independence and twice as likely to support the fact that ethanol and the green economy creates hundreds of thousands of jobs, NASCAR said in the white paper. In addition, NASCAR fans are three times more likely to be aware that NASCAR is using ethanol in its race fuel.