(Posted Mon. Jul 23rd, 2012)
July 23: It was a great weekend of NASCAR action for corn growers at Chicagoland Speedway. From the American Ethanol NASCAR Camping Truck Series race on Friday to Kenny Wallace’s fourth place showing in Sunday’s Nationwide Series race, the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, the National Corn Growers Association and the American Ethanol Alliance worked together to push consumer awareness efforts into overdrive.
Friday night, Illinois corn farmer Donna Jeschke signaled for the action to start as she waved the green flag for the American Ethanol 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. A current ICMB director, Jeschke noted that promotions such as the race, which included a special paint out on RAB driver John Wes Townley’s No. 9 Toyota Tundra, put farmers out in front of the public and create awareness of the amazing story of how America’s farmers put food on their tables.
Richard Childress, the RCR Racing team owner and a former driver himself, also voiced his support. “In NASCAR we’ve put in almost 4 million miles or maybe a little over by now on E15, the American Ethanol blend of fuel. That says a lot for what E15 can do for your car.”
After the flashbulbs stopped at the finish line, the festivities continued as ICMB Chairman Bill Christ presented race winner James Buescher with the trophy. Buescher noted his enthusiasm for NASCAR Green efforts, such as the switch to a 15 percent ethanol fuel blend, in his statements to the press.
A second victory for ethanol came on Sunday as Kenny Wallace, driving the Family Farmers car, took fourth place in the Nationwide Series Race. For Wallace, the finish finally ended a personal drought with his best finish in nearly four years. Hailing from America's heartland, Wallace knows droughts aren't only experienced by drivers.
"This Toyota Camry, Family Farmers car [comes from] the middle of the Corn Belt," Wallace said. "All the farmers are starving here. They've lost their livelihood, all their money -- their corn has burnt up. I'm a racer and without the Family Farmers of America Ethanol, this car wouldn't be here."
This was the first of two races weekends in Joliet, IL, at the Chicagoland Speedway, for the 2012 NASCAR racing season. Family Farmers were prominently highlighted throughout the weekend, with a 17,000 square foot exhibit area onsite to be complemented with both a Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series “Family Farmers” entry. Throughout the campgrounds, the American Ethanol flags flew high as attendees competed to display them prominently for the chance to win prizes. In the Midway, an exhibit featuring American Ethanol and co-sponsor New Holland brought fan attention to the benefits of this renewable, domestically produced fuel and also highlighted the impact of the drought on America’s farmers.
To view photos from all of the weekend’s events, click here.