Former Team Ethanol Driver Wins Iowa Corn Indy 300

Ryan Hunter ReayEver since I met Ryan Hunter Reay as the driver for the Indy Team Ethanol Car I’ve been following him as his racing gets better and better. He showed it this weekend when he roared to a dramatic finish and won the Iowa Corn Indy 300. Ryan is a winner of this race previously.

With the Indy cars running on the same fuel that we can put in our flex fuel vehicles – E85 – this renewable fuel was on the big stage again. Our Joanna Schroeder was on location for the American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, on Saturday and will have some stories to share from that event as well.

American Ethanol Weekend Preview

American Ethanol 200 logo_resizedAmerican Ethanol is racing into Newton, Iowa for an exciting weekend at the Iowa Speedway. It’s an ethanol-powered packed event for American Ethanol. This weekend features the American Ethanol 200 presented by Enogen on Friday July 11th and the Indy Corn Indy 300 presented by DeKalb on Saturday, July 12th.

This year race fans can learn about the benefits of ethanol in many ways. For example, Syngenta will be holding a media briefing to make a major announcement regarding their support for the ethanol industry, provide an update on a new cellulosic ethanol technology and discuss efforts to improve market penetration for American ethanol. Quad County Corn Processors became the first ethanol plant in Iowa to produce commercial scale cellulosic ethanol last week and the first to produce cellulosic ethanol using the Enogen corn trait. Syngenta will be working with Quad County to license the ACE technology to other ethanol plants.

In addition, FFA students living near the speedway will be stationed around the track to discuss the benefits of E15, the same fuel the NASCAR drivers will be racing with, as well as higher blends of ethanol such as E85. They will also be collecting donations to help support flex fuel infrastructure and all funds will be matched by Syngenta. The funds will be used to help retailers install equipment to offer consumers more choice at the pump.

IowaCornIndy300_712E067B4EBE7On Saturday, the ethanol fun continued at the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DeKalb. This is the 8th running of the Iowa Corn Indy sponsored event. In past years the race has been 250 laps but for the first time this year, drivers will compete to be the first to the finish line after 300 laps. This year, Indy Car will be filling up with 85% ethanol – the same fuel Iowans can find at nearly 200 stations.

Both races begin at 7:30 pm and will be bringing readers weekend ethanol race event coverage. You can also follow the events via Twitter @DomesticFuel and @jmschroeder and on DF’s Facebook page. We’ll see you for some #EthanolFun!

Former Ethanol Car Driver Wins Indy 500

ryan-indyIt was mid-season in 2007 when Ryan Hunter-Reay burst on the IndyCar Series scene wearing the green and blue ethanol logo for Rahal-Letterman Racing. He finished 6th in his first Indy 500 in 2008 and won Rookie of the Year. This year he came in first.

“I’m a proud American boy, that’s for sure,” said Hunter-Reay, who is the first American since 2006 to win the race. He now races for Andretti Autosport driving the DHL car.

ryan-2014Ryan was not the first ethanol IndyCar driver. He replaced Jeff Simmons, after Simmons replaced the first driver Paul Dana, who was killed during practice in Homestead at the first Indy race to run on 10% ethanol. Ryan was the third and last driver of the car sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC), which dissolved in 2008 to become part of Growth Energy.

In his first interview with Domestic Fuel after being named the new driver, Ryan talked about how pleased he was to promote ethanol as the IndyCar Series moved to 100 percent ethanol. “It’s a really neat story that they can make these 700 horsepower, 230 mile an hour cars run on 100 percent ethanol, and the fact that we can use less fuel doing it – with methanol we had to use more,” he said. 2007 Ryan Hunter-Reay Interview

Starting in the 2009 season, Brazil become the new sponsor of the 100 percent ethanol IndyCar Series, but Ryan still raced a few more times under the Team Ethanol banner at the Iowa Corn Indy 250 and has always been a strong advocate for ethanol. Congratulations on winning the big one this year, Ryan!

Ethanol Racing Fuel Firm Gets Paul Dana Award

If not for the vision of Paul Dana that ethanol could fuel Indy Racing cars, Ignite Racing Fuel might never have existed.

brownfieldThe Indiana company this week received the 2011 Paul Dana Excellence in Bioenergy Leadership Award from the state department of agriculture. The award was established to honor the memory of Indy Racing League driver Paul Dana who was killed in a racing accident in 2006 after seeing the fulfillment of his dream that the IRL adopt ethanol as a racing fuel.

Indiana Agriculture Director Joe Kelsay (pictured far right), presented the award to Jay Berry and Reggie Henderson of Ignite Racing Fuel during a ceremony on Monday at the governor’s residence. In an interview with Brownfield Network’s Meghan Grebner, Berry said the award provides another way to help spread the word about how ethanol performs on the track. “A few years ago we went into several racing conventions and no one would talk to us – ethanol was kind of the red-headed step child for fuels.” But, Berry says they’ve been able to get ethanol in enough people’s hands that they can see its performance. For that, he says they are thankful.

brownfieldPaul Dana’s brother Greg, pictured here with Berry, was also on hand for the award presentation. He says the award means a great deal to the Dana family. “We’re honored that folks remember Paul and remember the work that he did, both on the race trace and off,” said Dana. “What Ignite has done is bring to fruition what Paul was working on 6-7 years ago to bring ethanol to all the grassroots racing in the country.”

Dana says increased use of ethanol is very important for not only the industry, but for farmers, the state of Indiana and the entire country.

Thanks to Brownfield Network for the photos and interviews. To listen to all of Meghan’s interviews with Greg Dana and Jay Berry, here is the link to the Brownfield Network story.

Sad New From Today’s Indy Car Race

It was with great sadness that I tuned in to today’s Indy Car race and saw the 13th lap multi car wreck and learned that Dan Wheldon was killed. Wow. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know a number of these Indy Car racers over the years. You can say all you want about the wisdom of driving a “car” at 220 MPH but they are still people. This brought back memories of Paul Dana in 2006. I liked Dan and certainly took a number of photos of him in the winner’s circle. He was the winner of this year’s Indy 500.

Today’s race was cancelled after this happened. Then the drivers all rode 3 abreast for five laps to honor Dan. This is just a photo of my tv while they were circling the track.

Here’s a photo of Dan in the winner’s circle in at the 2007 Kansas Lottery Indy 300.

At the time I was working with our sponsor known at that time as the Ethanol Promotion & Information Council (now Growth Energy). Dan won the first race of that season in Homestead, FL. I asked him about racing on ethanol in his post race press conference.

Here’s what he said: Dan Wheldon Ethanol Comment

My prayers go out to Dan and his family. It is a shock when something like this happens. I also hope all the other drivers involved in the accident are okay.

Marco Andretti Wins Iowa Corn Indy 250

In an American corn ethanol fueled race at Iowa Speedway, Marco Andretti wins the 2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250. Here he is in Victory Lane with leaders of the Iowa Corn Growers.

Following Victory Lane Marco and his Dad, Michael Andretti, held the winners press conference. I asked him his thoughts on racing in front of 2,500 corn growers and using fuel they grew. I had just interviewed him two days ago at a local ethanol promotion. He says, “I think it’s great we can be green and still have performance. We’re thankful to have their support. I love this place. Iowa’s great.” Marco Andretti Ethanol Remark

You can listen to the full press conference here: Marco/Michael Andretti Press Conference

2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250 Photo Album

Green Flag For Iowa Corn Indy 250

The fifth running of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 is underway and has been an exciting race so far. Here’s the green flag being waved by Iowa Corn Growers Association President Dean Taylor.

Once again this year Mindy Larson Poldberg, Director of Govt. Relations for the Iowa Corn Growers sang the National Anthem during the pre-race activities. I’ve recorded that for you and just updated my photo album. Hope you enjoy them. I’ll have the winner later this evening. National Anthem

2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250 Photo Album

Pioneer Presenting Iowa Corn Indy 250

Here’s what the hood of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 official pace car looks like. It’s proudly displaying the Pioneer logo as the presenting sponsor.

Todd says the relationship with the Iowa Corn Growers in sponsoring the Iowa Corn Indy 250 has been very beneficial. As he puts it, “It’s a great event for the state of Iowa. It’s great for agriculture.” All of the cars racing this evening will be running on 100% corn ethanol showing how well the fuel performs in an engine. Pioneer brings in a lot of their customers for the event. In fact, I’ve heard that there will be approximately 2,500 farmers at the race track today. I’ll be out on location this afternoon in advance of tonight’s race. Let’s hope the weather improves. Todd Frazier Interview

2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250 Photo Album

Danica Patrick Says Ethanol Is Great

After practice runs for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 Indy Car driver Danica Patrick held a press conference.

I asked her for a comment on having Iowa corn growers supporting this race again and what she thinks about racing with ethanol. She said, “I think that we’re in definitely in an age where everybody is doing what they can to take care of this wonderful world we live in. Ethanol is definitely something that has been a real presence in IndyCar years ago to NASCAR now. It’s really great.” Danica Patrick Ethanol Remark

You can listen to the full press conference with Danica here: Danica Patrick Press Conference

2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250 Photo Album

Iowa Corn Growers Going Green With Indy

The Iowa Corn Growers are going green this weekend at the Iowa Corn Indy 250. In fact, there will be lots of green shirts out here at Iowa Speedway. Here are some of the leadership team that was on hand this morning to talk with the media.

I spoke first with Iowa Corn Promotion Board Chair, Dick Gallagher. Dick is also a corn grower. He says that this weekend is special because it’s all about going green. That shows that this renewable fuel is a green fuel. To the naysayers he says, “Ethanol is renewable, good for the Iowa economy and more environmentally friendly.” Dick Gallagher Interview

Next up was Iowa Corn Growers CEO, Craig Floss. Craig agrees with me that the weather is perfect for racing and we hope it stays that way. He says he visited with Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti last night and he was reminded about how much the drivers like ethanol as a fuel for a variety of reasons. Craig Floss Interview

And I also spoke with incoming President for the Iowa Corn Growers Association, Kevin Ross. Kevin is from southwest Iowa and says he’s near the flooding area but hasn’t been affected. However, he notes how much that situation is affecting farm families right now and our prayers and thoughts go out to them. From his perspective as a grower the Iowa Corn Indy 250 “it’s been a huge event.” He’s just thrilled with the showcase to promote their product. Kevin Ross Interview

2011 Iowa Corn Indy 250 Photo Album