Iowa Corn Growers Proud of Their IRL Involvement

Tim ReckerTim Recker is an Iowa corn grower and the president-elect of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. He says that corn growers are very proud of their work to bring the inaugural Iowa Corn Indy 250 to reality.

I interviewed Tim after he and other ICGA leaders unveiled the trophy for this weekend’s race. He says that the Iowa corn growers saw this race as an opportunity to really promote ethanol nationally and especially showcase all the work being done in Iowa to develop this renewable fuel resource.

You can listen to my interview with Tim here:

Iowa Corn Indy 250 Photo Album

Casey’s Pumps Discount Gas

Casey's Stores Pump PromotionOne of the ethanol pump promotions coordinated by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council this week was held at Casey’s General Store in Newton, IA just down the road from the Iowa Speedway.

The manager of the store is Shawn Retman pictured here on the right. Shawn says she’s really proud of her company for taking part in the effort to promote ethanol. During the day the store sold ethanol blended regular gas for a big discount. Quite a few people were lined up to fill up when I left. Casey’s is the official convenience store of the Iowa Speedway.

You can listen to my interview with Shawn here:

Iowa Corn Indy 250 Photo Album

Hy-Vee Iowa Ethanol Promotion

Hy-Vee Ethanol PromotionHy-Vee has been holding a couple of ethanol promotions here in Iowa during the IRL race week. One of them was held at a store in West Des Moines and Joe Miller, one of the store operations managers was on hand to talk about it.

Joe says that he thinks ethanol is important and he’s glad to do what he can to help promote it to the general public. He says that Hy-Vee is blending it in their gas. You can listen to my interview with Joe here:

Iowa Corn Indy 250 Photo Album

Iowa Corn Growers Unveil Trophy

Iowa Corn Growers Press ConferenceThe Iowa Corn Growers just held a press conference here at the Iowa Speedway to unveil the trophy for Sunday’s Iowa Corn Indy 250. It’s a tall good looking trophy.

The group show here consists of several board members and CEO, Craig Floss, speaking on the left. Craig made a short statement which you can listen to here:

Iowa Corn Growers Press ConferenceHere’s some of the reasons why the Iowa Corn Growers is involved and supporting this inaugural race:

• Promote renewable fuels

• Give general consumers information about ethanol, specifically E85 market

• Indy Racing League (IRL) is running on 100% ethanol in the 2007 season

• Celebrating 30 years of the Iowa corn checkoff and the success of the ethanol industry we’ve worked so hard to build in the state.

• Iowa is the leader in corn and ethanol production and we are working to be the leader in renewable fuel usage.

Iowa Corn Indy 250 Photo Album

Talking With Jeff Simmons

KXNO Radio RemoteAt today’s Kum & Go pump promotion I got a chance to interview IndyCar driver Jeff Simmons once again. Jeff was on hand to pump ethanol enriched gas for customers during this midday promotion.

Jeff says this would be a great weekend for his first win and I and thousands of corn growers couldn’t agree more. You can listen to my interview with Jeff here:

He was also interviewed by quite a few local media representatives like KXNO-Am morning show man Larry Cotlar. KXNO is the local sports station. It was just a short live spot but I thought you might be interested to see Jeff in action with the media.

Iowa Corn Indy 250 Photo Album

Ethanol: The Hot Rod Fuel of the Future

Gale Banks with Gale Banks EngineeringNearly 50 years in the business of engine performance should be enough experience to earn one the title of “Auto Performance Expert.” Gale Banks with Gale Banks Engineering started his business in 1958. His business, which consists of designing engines for various factories, manufacturing his own line of engines and developing after market performance products, is just a year shy of that half-century milestone; and that experience was expertise enough to earn him a spot on a video segment with Jay Leno. When Chuck dropped by Jay’s garage last month, he spoke with Gale just before the taping about ethanol, the E85 ethanol fuel blend and what the food stock-based fuel means for performance:

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VeraSun Production Feeds EPIC Promotion

EPIC Marketing Director Melissa UllerichVeraSun Energy, one of the country’s largest producers of ethanol, aims to expand its business as consumers become more educated about the fuel. Marketing Director Melissa Ullerich said VeraSun Energy supplies E85 fuel to more than 90 locations. Melissa said with plants in Aurora, SD, Fort Dodge, IA and Charles City, IA the company produces about 340 million gallons of ethanol. She adds that the company has three more plants under development in Welcome, MN, Heartly IA and Reynolds, IN – or, she said, otherwise known as BioTown.

Chuck caught up with Melissa at the 91st Indianapolis 500. She was attending “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” as a board member of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. She tells Chuck why EPIC is important to VeraSun Energy:

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Letter from Ethanol Crusader

I received this letter yesterday from a self-proclaimed “ethanol crusader” in Florida. It was pretty long, but here is an edited version with her key points:

Hi Cindy, keep up the good work.

I’ve recently join the Movement “Florida Needs Ethanol”.com.

Florida Needs EthanolToday (Memorial Day) I drove around to distribute fliers to several gas stations. Mostly the small ones like Race Track, Red Rabbit, Valero, Marathon, 7/11 Citgo and some BPs.

It was amazing and somewhat disconcerting how little they know about Ethanol. Out of the dozens station attendants I’ve talked to, only one had heard of Ethanol.

The only way I got them interested was telling them that the government was offering tax incentives to fuel retailers. I told them to visit the website to find out about it, but I can’t find the link for retailers info. Could you please make that link more obvious?

Also, I was very disappointed by the great opportunity lost by Ethanol producers, GM and Ford by not advertising their products during the Super Bowl of racing (the Indy 500).

Why didn’t they run it during this classic race making history about the three women and all the cars running on Ethanol?

Don Endres’ VeraSun has a video commercial on their website that bring tears to one’s eyes with an once of patriotism. If the Ethanol Big Guys don’t care that much to promote their product on TV during IRL races, why should I spend my gasoline money and my time to promote it?

This thing about the EPA not approving a retro-fit kit to transition to E-85 is VERY disheartening. Unfortunately, most of us that want to do the right thing cannot afford to buy a new car, let alone a hybrid or FFV.

In parting, I’d like to ask you to please forward my email to anybody and everybody involved in bringing Ethanol to the public, especially here in Florida. My friends and co-workers are eager to help save our beautiful planet.

Best Regards,
Lynda Gagnon
Ethanol Crusader

First of all, Lynda – thanks for the grassroots work you are doing to help bring ethanol to the Sunshine State. You are doing more with your campaign than you might believe. If retailers think people will buy a new product, they are more likely to begin offering it.

Secondly, the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council was a major sponsor of the Indy 500, which featured spots that aired multiple times during the race. To view the ethanol spots, go to this page on the EPIC website. The television spots have run during all of the races so far this year, starting with Homestead in Florida.

EPIC also sponsored a major public and media event at the Indy 500 called the Ethanol Summit to educate people about ethanol’s benefits as a performance fuel. They have gotten major publicity from events held earlier this month at the National Press Club and Chicago Board of Trade.

Finally, you make a good point about the need for more information for retailers about incentives to offer ethanol-enhanced fuel and I have passed that along to EPIC. A good place for that information right now is the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition site, which has a page devoted to retailer information.

Thanks again, Ethanol Crusader. Just curious, do you have some kind of cool super hero costume to wear when you are out crusading??

Flying The Ethanol Flag

Plane BannerOne of the ways that the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council is promoting ethanol here at the Brickyard today is with this banner being pulled around by a small plane.

It’s going to be circling the area all weekend.

The banner is part of the Gas America promotion that started out with the pump promotion earlier this week.

2007 Indy 500 Photo Album