Ignite Racing Fuels receives Paul Dana award at Indiana event

By Holly Jessen | December 28, 2011

Ignite Racing Fuels, a company that produces an ethanol racing fuel, was honored by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture with the 2011 Paul Dana Excellence in Bioenergy Leadership Award. The Carmel, Ind., company received the award at the Indiana Clean Cities Awards Ceremony. “Alternative fuel awareness, usage and deployment have surged in the State of Indiana. I congratulate founders Jay Berry and Reggie Henderson on their vision, ingenuity and commitment to Ignite Racing Fuels,” said Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who serves as Secretary of Agriculture. “I am proud of your first-of-its-kind, 100 percent American-made racing fuel and it’s totally green compliant – made from our Indiana corn.”

Ignite produces specially designed fuels with more than 85 percent ethanol (but less than E100) and a proprietary blend of denaturants and lubricants. The products are marketed and distributed by National Biofuels Distribution. “We’re really excited about the award, because when we got started three years ago, everybody kind of looked at ethanol as the red-headed step child,” Berry told EPM.

Paul Dana is a well known ethanol supporter and Indy Racing League driver that was killed in a racing accident in 2006. The award was established by Indiana’s Gov. Mitch Daniels and Skillman to honor his memory and recognize those that have exemplified leadership and innovative vision in the bioenergy industry. There are 13 completed ethanol plants in the state, producing 1.1 billion gallons of corn yearly, and more than 160 E85 pumps.

In August, Ignite announced a three-year sponsorship deal with the United States Auto Club, making Ignite the official racing fuel of the USAC. It meant a switch from methanol to a high ethanol blend. But that’s not all, Berry said. He hinted at a couple big announcements—perhaps even bigger than the USAC announcement—that he hopes will break in the next couple months. In addition, the company has sent a sample of its fuel to Toyota, which is currently putting it through dynamometer (known as a dyno) testing.

Ignite is promoting ethanol from a grassroots level, Berry said, educating race drivers, fans and engine builders. As the fuel is gaining familiarity in the racing world, the company has had the opportunity to convert many ethanol skeptics into ethanol supporters. For example, despite critic’s warnings about E15 use in boats, Ignite high-ethanol blended fuel is being used in certain types of boat racing—with no problems at all. Ignite is also working to provide Ignite fuel for tractor pull events. “We’re breaking into new markets,” he says.

Berry has talked to farmers that are misinformed about ethanol. One man was so afraid of ethanol he wouldn’t even put E85 in his flex-fuel vehicle, despite the fact that he sells corn to an ethanol plant. Seeing Ignite fuel in action at tractor pulls or other racing events educates people about the positives and potential of ethanol.

Getting the Paul Dana award felt like going full circle, Berry said. Ignite works with Dan Schwartzkopf, today an account manager for ICM Inc., who first introduced Dana to ethanol.