June 9, 2011

First-time NASCAR experience? Awesome!

By Kim Clark, ag program manager

Bright and early in the morning on June 5th, 92 Nebraska corn farmers boarded buses in Lincoln on their way to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway. For many, this was the first time attending a NASCAR race and everyone seemed eager and excited to get the full experience from the American Ethanol hospitality tent to the pit tour to the race.

We left Lincoln at 5:00 am with the buses stocked full of water, snacks and sunscreen. The high temperature for the day was a scorching 100 degrees and we wanted to be prepared!

By arriving at the track at 9:00 a.m., we had time to tour pit road where we went behind the scenes of each driver’s pit area and saw them gluing the lug nuts onto the tires. When changing tires during the race, the crew doesn’t want to lug nuts falling onto the ground and have to search for them. Speed is everything!

One gentlemen gave a quick tour of American Ethanol driver Clint Bowyer’s pit area and mentioned that by adding 15 percent ethanol to the racing fuel, the cars are getting 50 more horsepower from the engine. More ethanol = more power!

After touring the pit area, we walked onto the track itself. It was amazing to see how much of an incline the track had! Here are some quick facts about the 55-foot wide track:
  • It’s 1.5 miles long,
  • It has a 15 degree incline in each turn, and
  • A 10.4 degree incline in the front stretch.
While on the track, we noticed people signing the white line that goes around the inside of the track – so we put our autographs on the line, too.

Before the race began, we visited the American Ethanol tent for lunch. While there, car owner Richard Childress stopped by to answer a few questions about NASCAR and ethanol. NASCAR is very excited about using ethanol and is testing the impact of increasing the amount of ethanol used in race cars.

The green flag dropped at noon. Hearing the noise of the cars as they drove by at about 180 miles per hour was incredible. It took a little over 30 seconds to make one lap around the track. Only a couple of caution flags came out during the race, and they were for debris on the track. The last 100 laps of the race were under the American Ethanol green flag.

Nearly everyone was rooting for Bowyer, a Kansas native and American Ethanol spokesperson who had a full paint-out of American Ethanol on his car. Bowyer started the race in the 27th spot and started moving toward the leader of the race right away. He was able to move into one of the top 10 positions, but after a pit stop toward the end of the race, he finished 18th.

The NASCAR experience was great! Everyone attending the race and watching on TV saw how some of the Nebraska corn check-off dollars were invested to support ethanol and inform consumers about the benefits of ethanol through the American Ethanol partnership.

Everyone should have at least one NASCAR experience in his or her life! I’ve crossed it off my bucket list…but am sure I’ll be back!

Check out more pictures from the NASCAR race in Kansas City on our Flickr online photo album.

No comments:

Post a Comment