There was some big news announced during the Fuel Ethanol Workshop (FEW) – Team Ethanol is back. Dave Vander Griend, the founder of ICM and one of the three original sponsors of the Team Ethanol IndyCar program, delivered the news that Team Ethanol will be back on the track for the first time in nearly two years at the upcoming Iowa Corn Indy 250 on Sunday, June 20th. Ryan Hunter-Reay will be returning as the driver, as part of Andretti Green Racing.
I asked Dave how the return of Team Ethanol came to be and he explained, “We thought this is an excellent opportunity to showcase the fact that fuel ethanol is also biodegradable.” He continued, “Some of the things that are happening here in the Gulf Coast and some of the issues surrounding this oil spill would not be as severe if there was a higher use of ethanol and a lower use of non biodegradable fuel in our tanks.”
Team Ethanol was a successful tool in creating awareness about higher blends of ethanol for many years. With the move to approve the option for consumers to choose higher blends at the pump, such as E15, the program demonstrates the incredible performance levels cars can achieve when using high blends of ethanol. The IndyCar Series uses 100 perfect fuel-grade ethanol.
Vander Griend said the program will bring more awareness to the public that ethanol is a good fuel. Andretti Green has four drivers, three of which are American and have a stake in what happens to our coastlines, explained Vander Griend,who also noted that they will be good spokespersons for ethanol.
ICM is a title sponsor of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 and will be a supporting sponsor through the remainder of the season. They are also hoping to raise sponsorship dollars so that Team Ethanol can compete in several more races this season.
Vander Griend concluded that the best thing about the renewable fuels industry is that they produce fuel year after year and the money stays in America. “When we spend our money on foreign oil, we use the oil up, burn it in our cars, the fuel’s gone. The money’s gone. With renewables, the fuel may also be gone but we still have the money. And that is probably the most important thing if we want to revitalize our economy.”
You can listen to my interview with Dave below and check out photos from FEW 2010 in our Flickr photo album.