NASCAR, IndyCar travel different paths to going green

June 29, 2011
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It’s ironic that NASCAR CEO Brian France was in Indianapolis—the home of the IndyCar Series—on Tuesday cheering the merits of American-made ethanol.

While NASCAR signed a six-year deal to use American-made ethanol starting this year, the IndyCar Series in 2008 signed a multi-year sponsorship and ethanol fuel deal with Brazil-based Apex.

IndyCar’s agreement with Apex is a multifaceted deal that goes beyond fuel, and could lead to even bigger sponsorship deals down the road. A portion of IndyCar’s ethanol does come from a Sunoco plant in upstate New York.

Still, NASCAR and the IndyCar Series are traveling different paths to using a greener fuel. Much of IndyCar’s ethanol comes from Brazilian sugar cane, while NASCAR’s comes from American corn. And in the early days of the IndyCar-Apex deal, American farmers let the open-wheel series hear their displeasure.

France was at the Indiana Convention Center Tuesday to address a crowd at the 27th annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo.

“We want you to know we are right in your corner,” France told a group consisting of members of the National Corn Growers Association and American Ethanol among others.

While France said it was important for NASCAR officials to choose an American-made fuel with lower emissions than standard petro, he added that the main criteria in the selection process was performance.

NASCAR race teams, France said, had to be assured the ethanol E15 the series chose has the ability to power stock cars at high speeds over long distances.

NASCAR officials in Indianapolis Tuesday admitted there was a strong bias against ethanol among NASCAR team owners, racers and series officials, and myths about the corn-based fuel’s performance had to be dispelled before they could gain the support needed to craft a deal.

E15 hasn’t caused any problems for NASCAR, France said, adding that it’s a higher combustion fuel that provides more horsepower and only a slight decrease in fuel mileage.

“This fuel has been a great fuel for NASCAR, and we’re happy to be your partner,” he said.

Rick Tolman, CEO of the National Corn Growers Association, said the deal with NASCAR will be a powerful endorsement for his group and open up many new doors for business partnerships.

NASCAR’s deal with American Ethanol, a U.S. consortium including farmers and ethanol producers, includes several first-of-its kind elements, including sponsor logos on the green flags waved to start every NASCAR race and green logos around gas tank covers on every NACAR race car.

While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Tolman called the investment “substantial.” Motorsports business experts said it was a low eight-figure deal.

  • Wonder Whehter Brian Had Lunch With Randy This Time?
    Wonder how quickly NASCAR will claim using corn-based ethanol was their idea in the first place, as they do with most every other innovation Indy Car pioneers? At least when Indy Car lifts a NASCAR idea they give them credit.
  • AS usual, the racing community takes us back
    Henry Ford used ethanol in his first cars, like in the 1800s. What is the big deal?

    Difference between NASCAR making a claim and the IRL making a claim is that NASCAR has an ausdience.

    Like, if an IRL driver rants and no one is there to hear it, did he really rant?
    • Wrong Again
      I am surprised those obsessed with Indy Car have still not picked up on the fact that the acronym 'IRL' and the phrase 'Indy Racing League' were retired months ago and is now known as the IZOD Indy Car Series. An appropriate acronym is 'IICS.' Given the intellectual challenges of those so obsessed, as evidenced by the majority of their repetitive meanderings here, I remain un-surprised they continue being wrong about that, as they are about most things associated with Indy Car, and for that matter NASCAR as well.
    • Ethanol
      Yes as to the irony of continued use of the IRL moniker and yet that indiviual espousing that term refers to himself/herself as "The Truth".

      Yeah, right.......
    • IRL sold out American Ethanol
      IRL took the buyout and screwed the American ethanol industry by chasing APEX Brasil. Too bad now...

      And you want the hapless IRL series (with it's 9 year old cars) to get some credit? Here's some credit: IRLcarz STILL have the highest injury potential and and highest injury rating EVER amongst modern style OW race cars. There's credit for you.

      So there, it's still the IRL. Even if they change the name...Next year it will be different...finally. But, maybe a new crapwagon will be born...probably.
    • Remember this
      From Des Moines, IA Register, Nov. 2008:

      "Angstadt said he didn't specifically seek American ethanol groups as potential sponsors to counter the Brazilian bid."

      Yet, they dumped EPIC and whoever they merged with to seal the deal with Brazil. Just another "the IRL was desperate to get $$$" deals. Just like selling their rights away to VERSus.
    • Rampant Spreading of Manure By The Same Kids
      The vast majority of the 'Brazilian' ethanol used in the IZOD Indy Car Series is produced in the USA, and Indy Car is set to become officially aligned with Sunoco. Affiliation with Brazilian ethanol interests in terms of sponsorship is wise because that country is light years ahead of America in terms of the politics and production. Of course if the USA was actually serious about alternative fuels they would be making it out of various other types of grasses, sugar beets, and (gasp) hemp, which is one of the most versatile crops in all of agriculture. Leave it to the backward thinking politicians we have to ensure that farmers cannot grow it legally.
    • So, stop seeking credit
      You see, even you admit IRL deserves NO credit and they abandoned American Ethanol for the Brazillians...the 2000's Japanese YEN to the series.

      So, when all you indycentric morons think "we need more Americans and more ovals", stop first and think about the many way YOUR Indy leadership sold you and your oval racing down the river.

      IMS deserves credit for mangling a great and prosperous AOW sport. They get credit for that...
    • Blame Tony George
      Let's hear it Chief...

      Tell us how this is all the doing of Tony George. Tell us how he "never apologized to you for ruining open wheel racing in America." Tell us how it was his actions over 17 years ago that led to this situation with NASCAR using American corn-based ethanol and Indycar using Brazilian. Then tell us again how he owes you a personal apology...

      That would be some fresh material from you.
    • As usual Chief and the rest try to go after Indy Car without the facts. Corn ethanol is heavily subsidized by the US Taxpayer (45 cents per gallon). Therefore NASCAR is pushing a product that is being paid in part by billions in tax dollars(house and senate have voted to end the subsidy, but Obama will veto it). It also increases the cost of food and other products by taking corn out of production of those commodities and putting it into fuel production. Corn ethanol is also an inferior way to make ethanol with a greater amount of corn and energy to make a gallon as opposed to sugar cane.

      Sugar cane is much more efficient, does not increase the cost of food and other commodities and is not subsidized by the American taxpayer. Sugar cane is not as chemical intensive to grow as corn is. It is grown in FLA and Louisiana and many carribean countries grow enough to export to fullfill America's needs.

      But because of the strong American farm lobby, the US government has put stiff tarrifs (54 cents per gallon) on foreign ethanol and sugar cane.

      So in true Chief fashion, he is chiding Indycar for using a product that does not increase food costs, is not subsidized by US taxpayers and when done correctly is not as bad for the environment while he praises NASCAR for encouraging the exact opposite.

    • Really?
      How does a nonsense article like this end up with someone saying that Indycar "sold me down the river"? I don't care where they buy their fuel. As long as it makes the cars go fast and put on a show like they did on Saturday, they could run on propane tanks for all I care. Sounds like we have a "Bitter Betty" in the room. Stop crying Betty, you'll get over it.
    • Inflation
      My food prices are high enough, stay away from corn ethanol.
    • Things are looking up
      I like the future of the series.
    • Indyman comments
      Glad to hear someone say it you are 100% correct! Ethanol can be made from many different plants. Corn ethanol is not the answer it inflates corn prices and the govt. gives a big check to do it! When the govt. stops giving and I hope its soon corn will be made again to eat, feed cattle, and make some good booze!
    • Indyman comments
      Glad to hear someone say it you are 100% correct! Ethanol can be made from many different plants. Corn ethanol is not the answer it inflates corn prices and the govt. gives a big check to do it! When the govt. stops giving and I hope its soon corn will be made again to eat, feed cattle, and make some good booze!
    • IRL CEO Makes his Escape Plan
      Since Las Vegas won't be anything close to a success, unless you call trying to give away all the tickets a success, Mr. Bernard won't be back next year
    • So using American ethanol is BAD?
      Them folks in Iowa think their race is powered by American ethanol. Guess the IRL continues to deceive them.

      IRL chose to go with the Brazilians over Americans. Heck, instead of riding this green BS they coulda just run methanol...the IRL is not's the problem. Paul Dana worked his butt off to get ethanol into IRL, then the IRL dumps American made ethanol. Some legacy IRL made of Paul right there.
    • As usual Chief ignores the fact that corn ethanol is bad for the country and bad for the taxpayers. Weren't you complaining about taxpayer handouts funding racing? Well not only is the American taxpayer subsidizing the corn ethanol for the cars, but they are encouraging consumers to buy more so it costs the taxpayer even more. Chief I figured you would be all over that.

      As far as fooling Iowans, unless they are blind, there was no fooling going on. the Apex Ethanol name is all over. Part of their advertising. Not sure where the fooling you talk about is. I guess more of your attempts to draw attention to your being wrong yet again.
    • American Corn Ethanol was GOOD when it brought $$$ to IRL
      That's the bottom line. If the coal industry could power an IRL crashwagon, the hypocrites supporting the IRL would find a way to justify it too. Cleaner burning less dependent on foreign sources...blah blah blah.

      That's what Indy has become....whores to the lowest/only bidder in a desperate attempt to save the sport they alone DESTROYED. And they are trying with the same stink car for the past 9 years. Like limburger cheese, only stinkier.
      RB: 6/29/2011 "I’ve had some F1 drivers call but they couldn’t figure out a way to get to Las Vegas from Korea."

      6/30/2011 "I can tell you right now there's not one F1 driver in the world that wants to come over here and get on an oval."
    • indyman VS. the Dipsicle
      So which is it guys, the US or Brazil?
    • Typical of Chief, proven wrong so he jumps out on another tangent. Or should I say he is proven a hypocrite. He was all against government handouts, but it is ok for NASCAR and Ethanol.

      Not sure the IRL would use anything, since it no longer exists. But in typical Chief fashion, he is still living in the past. Come join us in the modern days Chief. Living in the past is unhealthy.
    • Lame
      It's your series Iman...making me the argument here proves my point. You're shooting blanks fella.
    • The IRL died once
      not that it ever had a life,,,,but things are changing,,,I wonder who's buying what
    • There's only one man that can run the IRL like way TonEe can!
      And that the human sacrifice is....Mr. Anton Hulman George.

      GOD PLEASE let TonY GeorGE run the IRL once all the news videos he's STILL CEO. Come on Tony....WE WANT MORE SILVER SPOONS! WE want YOU to bring your HAMMER! Hammer AOW to it's death!

      Who signed the 10 year VersUS contract? Who takes credit for not starting the split, but incredibly ENDING it?

      What more evidence is needed? Crucify the AOW sport and let Boy George back in charge...please. Immediately!
    • Maybe Randy can get
      NOBODY to try that Vegas race for 5 million. Or maybe he can get all them NASCAR stars who went for the 20 million Memorial Day weekend. Buhbye Randy. If you had consulted with Chief before you signed on with the Death League, you wouldn't have wasted 2 years of your life.

      Former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has ruled himself out of appearing in the IndyCar series season finale at Las Vegas in October

      "I'm not really interested," said the outspoken Canadian. "If you can do it with a team like Penske, you know when you sit in the car and have a missile - it will be perfect," he told Autosport magazine this week. "If you do it as a last-minute, then no ... You risk killing yourself for nothing," he said, adding: "You end up doing stupid things to get the big prize."

      It's believed that the deadline for expressions of interest from drivers wanting to take part in the season finale - styled as the "world championships" - passed last month.

      hahaha,,,I guess Michael Schumacher didn't have the postage for his entry packet.

      The IRL died once
    • The IRL died once
      We have a new gimmick every race weekend in the hopes that we can find someone who cares
    • Cancel it now, ADMIT failure
      Best thing for the series to do is admit the $5M can't be won by an outsider...period.

      The sooner the sport moves away from staged huckster type gimmicks the sooner it will recover from the crater it's already in. DEATHBLOW 2011 continues!!! WoOOT! Bwahahhahhahaha!
    • Literally hundreds of people showed up
      for Free Friday,,,only 149,000 to go for that promised 150,000
    • another IRL zombie event
      Originally Posted by Toronto TV CP24 reporter, live at the track, 12:04PM Saturday

      "Now's a good time to come out, because there's not really many people here"

      Time to get them dogies into the barn Randy, it's over.
    • 168 THOUSAND fans....
      ...missing in Toronto.

      To all you Indianapolis open wheel racing masterminds: The creation of the IRL KILLED this sport.

      I happily watch the failures implode and implode upon themselves, over and over again.

      SELL the sport to people that can build it...NOT base it on the failed Hulmanistic stale properties over the past 60 years. It's the sports only chance....

      Randy, you're FIRED. Midseason IRL grades:

      Randy Bernard - F
      Brian Barnhart - F
      Greatest Race in History - F
      IRL safety crew - F (for flambe)
      TonEe GeorGe - A+ for ending the split and still being CEO
    • Tickets have no cash value and are non-transferable.
      That is not surprising. Why would a IRL ticket have value when the League itsownself is worthless
    • Toronto to be AXED?
      The 150,000 people expected to show, didn't.

      Why? Like Milwaukee, Toronto may be gone.
    • Even the scalpers were grumpy
      Outside, a scalper isn’t having a good morning, either. “They’ll be lucky to get 5,000 people,” he complained.

    • Toronto TV Ratings DOWN 55%
      2010 Toronto = 0.90 on ABC

      2011 Toronto = 0.41 on VerSus

      No matter how you spin it IMS, it a loser...attendance AND TV ratings-wise...
    • The IRL died once
      and it's about time for 2nd death
    • Why won't Indy Car
      Why won't Indy Car just go ahead and die. It's inevitable.
    • Krosnoff
      Great piece by Pruett at SpeedTV.

      What was done at Toronto to remember Jeff?

      Great job circus clowns ruining AOW.

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