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Race to the Green
Environment – The last sports venue that you would think would go green, actually is, and has been or for a while. When the engines start up at NASCAR’s Daytona 500 today, they “will be doing so far the second year with American ethanol-blended fuel in their gas tanks.”
The renewable racing fuel blend that NASCAR fills the tanks with saved the “drivers from using a combined 300,000 regular gallons of gasoline” during last year’s season. The fuel is comprised of “15 percent American-made ethanol from American-grown corn,” which “emits 20 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than unleaded gasoline.”
NASCAR has been introducing “green initiatives” for the past several years in an attempt to change its image from a sport that has millions of waste producing fans (think about all that beer, soda, and snacks at events) and gas-guzzling cars, to that of an environmentally friendly sport that encourages recycling and sustainable energy.
In fact, last year alone, NASCAR’s recycling campaign, with Coca-Cola and Coors, “the largest effort of its kind in sports,” recycled “more than 1,000 tons of cardboard, cans and bottles.”
Mike Lynch, NASCAR’s managing director of green innovation, said that “the racing series, with 65 million fans worldwide, has provided the perfect opportunity to instill a wide assortment of environmentally friendly practices, from those focusing on the race cars and speedways to others affecting television broadcasts and corporate offices.”
With more than a dozen eco-friendly initiaves in place already, including a “clean-air program that plants 10 new trees for each green flag dropped during a race,” this year, the racing gurus have partnered with Creative Recycling Systems to “promote the recycling of televisions, computers and other electronic equipment,” in an effort to “raise awareness of the importance of properly recycling electronic equipment.”
According to Lynch, NASCAR fans are more likely to be “green” than non-fans, and the racing-series “offers a prime opporutinty to showcase how the innovative green technologies being created can be used by anyone.”
“NASCAR fans are moving the perception of themselves and their households in a green direction more so than non-NASCAR fans,” Lynch said. “We can take things that are hard to understand and make them relevant to everyone. [...] We can offer that next phase of proof,” he added.