Yesterday’s Daytona 500 NASCAR race was a historic event in more ways that one. For starters, it was the first time since the event’s inaugural running that a first-time entrant had won, Trevor Bayne became the youngest NASCAR/Daytona race winner in the sport’s history, and it was the first Daytona 500 to feature cars fueled by E15. Indeed, the race organizers actively promoted alternative fuels all weekend, in the form of the series “American Ethanol” sponsorship … which looks like this:
The “greening” of NASCAR is, of course, a matter of degrees. Did the 43 cars running the E15 Sunoco race blend push out fewer harmful emissions than they did on last year’s blend? Yes. Does the American Ethanol promotion of NASCAR bring information about alternative fuels to millions of Americans who would, otherwise, probably ignore or avoid said information? Sure. Will the “American Ethanol” green flags waved at the start of each race continue to draw attention to ethanol-related causes all season long? Absolutely. Do NASCAR’s haulers, commercial flights, charter jets, news helicopters, safety vehicles, etc. make use of “greener” alternative fuels?
Not so much.
Keep in mind, all of this E15 flag-waving at NASCAR is going down on the same weekend that the House voted “overwhelmingly” to block E15’s use at gas pumps nationwide – a story that’s still unfolding on congressional floors, with lobbyists on both sides of the issue practically foaming at the mouth with pros on cons. If this season is a success and a few million NASCAR fans reach out to their representatives in Washington in favor of ethanol … I imagine that would be hard to ignore.
We’ll have more on the developing E15 story soon, but – for now – let’s congratulate Trevor Bayne, the team behind the no. 21 Ford, and Growth Energy (the group behind the American Ethanol NASCAR marketing initiative) for helping to put on a heck of a show yesterday.