The ethanol legacy will live on with the Indy Racing League (IRL). Rahal Letterman Racing announced today the selection of Jeff Simmons as the driver for the No. 17 Team Ethanol Honda/Panoz/Firestone car. Simmons will replace Paul Dana who died March 26.
“Paul realized the benefits of using ethanol, and he worked hard to get the message out to everyone,” said Ethanol Promotion and Information Council EPIC. Executive Director Tom Slunecka. “We look forward to Jeff promoting the benefits of ethanol just as proudly as Paul did.”
Dana was a tireless promoter of ethanol and the architect of the agreement that switched all IndyCar Series cars to a 10 percent ethanol, 90 percent methanol blend this year. In 2007, the IRL will make the switch to 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol in all IndyCar Series cars. E10 (10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline) is the fuel blend used by drivers all across the country in everything from minivans to lawnmowers. Increasingly, E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) is also available in many areas throughout the country.
Simmons, a native of East Granby, Conn., is the winningest driver in IRL Indy Pro Series (IPS) history with seven victories. He has garnered extensive experience in the IPS, having run four seasons and twice finishing as the championship runner-up – in 2003 and 2005.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to promote the message and need for the clean-burning, renewable fuel ethanol and to become a member of Rahal Letterman Racing,” said Simmons, 29. “It is one of the most professional teams I could ever hope to be associated with, and I truly appreciate the faith that Bobby (Rahal) and the Team Ethanol sponsors have placed in me. The fact that I have this opportunity as a result of Paul’s passing is not lost on me, and I want to express my deepest sympathies to his family and friends.”
Team Ethanol is comprised of the Broin Companies, Fagen Inc., ICM and 25 other companies who have joined together in a voluntary industry-wide coalition that represents over half of the industry. Ethanol is a high-octane, high-performance fuel that is clean burning, renewable and made in America. As a growing component of the U.S. gasoline supply, ethanol delivers improved vehicle performance for all passenger cars and trucks while reducing harmful emissions and improving air quality.