By Justin Walker
Communications Specialist

Ethanol was in the spotlight last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

American Ethanol and Texas Corn Producers partnered to promote the use of ethanol in racecars during the races Nov. 2-4 in Fort Worth, including the NASCAR event on Saturday. Other organizations, including Texas Farm Bureau (TFB), were on hand to interact and engage with fans about the fuel source.

“For several years, American Ethanol has been a sponsor of NASCAR and the Richard Childress Racing team,” Wesley Spurlock, who was representing Texas Corn Producers, said. “It’s been a great partnership to work with and to promote ethanol all over the U.S.”

The relationship benefits agriculture and corn growers, Spurlock said. NASCAR has ran more than 11 million miles while using ethanol without any engine failures or fueling problems.

The fuel used in NASCAR, E15, uses 15 percent ethanol and is anywhere from three to 10 cents less expensive than gasoline sold at most fuel pumps.

Using ethanol as a fuel source is also good for the environment, Spurlock said.

“As we burn ethanol, it is the cleanest and greenest fuel there is right now,” he said.

Being seen as environmentally friendly is important to NASCAR and its partners, Eric Warren, chief technology officer at Richard Childress Racing, said.

“NASCAR has tried to promote green and renewable energy,” he said. “Richard Childress has always had a passion for renewable energy, and the partnership with American Ethanol has really educated all of us.”

The benefits of ethanol in motor sports transfers over to production cars, Warren said. Having a chance to interact and educate those who drive them is another benefit of the partnership.

TFB was present with the Harvest Experience Trailer, which simulates corn harvest for visitors, and the Mobile Learning Barn to engage with NASCAR fans on the many uses of corn, Mia Balko, TFB director of Youth and Urban Outreach, said.

“We had a great interaction with the general public over the weekend,” she said. “We had a lot of questions, not just on corn, but for some of the other crops we have represented on the Mobile Learning Barn. It’s been great to talk to them and help provide accurate information for some of the misconceptions they have on different topics related to agriculture.”

Events like this offer TFB opportunities to connect with consumers.

“As the ‘Voice of Texas Agriculture,’ we strive to engage and inform consumers about agriculture and the different livestock and crops grown in the state,” she said. “Corn is something that is very important to the racecar industry. It’s been fun to talk with the public about why we use corn and some of the other byproducts that come along with that.”

TFB was able to reach a diverse audience at the event, Jason Wonderly, vice president of Sales for Texas Motor Speedway, said. The event provided interaction for the fans, which creates engagement with its partners.

“We have a lot of things for our fan base to participate in,” Wonderly said. “The number two thing they enjoy most is engaging with brands in our fan zone area.”

Organizations like Texas Corn Producers and TFB take advantage of that opportunity, Balko said.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Balko said. “It’s also been very rewarding for us to feel like we have accomplished a great task of sharing the world of Texas agriculture.”