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NASCAR reaches ethanol milestone

Jay F. Marks Modified: November 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm •  Published: November 12, 2013

Kyle Busch crossed the finish line first in Saturday’s Servicemaster 200, but the ethanol industry is claiming victory as well.

NASCAR announced Tuesday that during the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Phoenix it surpassed more than 5 million competition miles on Sunoco Green E15, a biofuel blended with 15 percent ethanol made from American grown corn.

The miles have been accumulated across practice, qualifying and racing laps on NASCAR’s three national series dating back to 2011, when the biofuel was introduced.

“Fuel is fundamental to our sport and our teams demand performance without compromise,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition. “With more than 5 million miles of hard competitive driving across our three national series, Sunoco’s Green E15 renewable fuel stands up to rigorous racing conditions while significantly reducing our impact on the environment.”

In 2011, NASCAR entered into a groundbreaking partnership with Sunoco and the ethanol industry, launching its long-term biofuels program to reduce emissions.

The biofuel transition reduced on-track carbon emissions, while teams report an increase in horsepower.

“The National Corn Growers Association joined the American Ethanol partnership with Growth Energy and NASCAR because we knew ethanol would perform and shine in a very public way. General awareness of ethanol and its benefits is extremely high with the tens of millions of fans who watch racing every week,” said association President Martin Barbre, a farmer in Carmi, Ill. “Ethanol support has always been strong in corn production states, but now the knowledge of ethanol’s economic, environmental and energy security advantages are growing coast to coast.”

Since transitioning to the biofuel blended with 15 percent ethanol, NASCAR has helped validate the fuel and its positive environmental impact in front of an audience of millions of NASCAR fans, helping shift attitudes and behaviors about ethanol use.

New research conducted in July shows NASCAR fans are nearly 70 percent more likely to support ethanol use in race cars. They also are more than 50 percent more likely to support the use of gasoline blended with ethanol in their own cars compared to non-NASCAR fans, according to the Custom Environment-Related Tracker commissioned by NASCAR and conducted by Toluna.

“This 5 million mile mark is yet another testament to Sunoco Green E15′s value as a fuel and a real validator of our product,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “You couldn’t ask for a tougher testing ground and Sunoco Green E15 stands up to the challenge each weekend and that’s good news for everyone who supports renewable fuels.”