The NASCAR Truck Series has a GM Powered e85 Silverado Truck driven by Dennis Setzer that is performing rather well. Dennis has had four top ten finishes this year and is currently running in the top 10 standings. It may be a little more impressive if the truck was actually running on e85 🙂
General Motors officials asked NASCAR to consider switching to e85 ethanol. As did Sen. Tom Harkin, the Democrat from Iowa, who made a similar public request to NASCAR CEO Brian France.
The appeals didn’t gain much attention though.
Brent Dewar, vice president of sales, service and parts for GM is quoted as saying:
“It fits the racing mode, and we would definitely be in favor of any move that moves us away from dependence on foreign oil,”
He later said:
“It fits with what’s good for America,” Dewar said. “The racing fans are really mainstream, heartland folks.”
Dewar became an ethanol believer after overseeing GM’s successful sale of ethanol flex fuel cars in Brazil.
NASCAR could be a great asset to the ethanol cause. Their fan base is very loyal to sponsors. A couple of years ago NASCAR got rid of tobacco sponsorship in order to maintain a better public image. With everybody up in arms about “Record Oil Company Profits” now may be the time for NASCAR to get involved. Maybe a “Stick It To The Oil Companies Season”. Of course this may cause problems because NASCAR has a major sponsorship deal with Sunoco one of the major oil companies.
The Indy Racing League is already switching to ethanol for the 2007 season with 100% of the cars being powered by ethanol.
IRL vice president of business development John Lewis said “ethanol fits in with the league’s image as a technology leader”.
“We believe ethanol is the right decision, a responsible decision,” Lewis said.
NASCAR is in the process of switching from “leaded gas” to “unleaded gas” right now. Maybe they should just eliminate this switch and go straight onto e85.
NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said “that officials are focusing on the transition to unleaded, which might begin with tests in the trucks and Busch Series this year, but NASCAR would consider ethanol or other alternative fuels down the road”.
Many NASCAR Teams complain that when new rule changes occur it cost them millions of dollars to make the changes but….. I am sure with the endorsements and sponsorship deals it probably wouldn’t be that bad on them. Especially since the “Big Three” Auto Makers are scambling to get on with flex fuel vehicle manufacturing.
I would imagine that NASCAR is already testing e85 as a racing fuel – They will probably wait to see how the Indy Racing League does with it in their 2007 season.