Can NASCAR Ever Become Environmentally Friendly?
The NASCAR season has passed the half-way point. As the excitement builds toward the Chase and the season’s conclusion we find ourselves intrigued by the possibility of electric race cars.
Most long-term NASCAR fans and gearheads have a special love for the smell of the exhaust fumes from the powerful gasoline engines they run. If you have attended a race you know the rush you feel as the cars move through turns three and four as they inch closer to the green flag. But it is not just the smell. It is also the almost deafening roar as the cars come to life and as they race past your vantage point in the stands. We don’t just hear the sound. We also feel it in the vibrations in the air around us.
It is hard to imagine how the sport would not lose some of its appeal as electric race cars silently glide around the track and the only smells one would encounter would be popcorn and the occasional beer spill as an inebriated fan makes their way past you to sit further down in your row. Of course, it would be fun watching the pit crews try to sort out the mess of tangled extension cords on the cars. Okay. We made that up. The cars will not have extension cords attached to them. We hope.
One thing that would perhaps be more interesting with electric cars would be how the pit crews would change four tires and replace who knows how many battery packs in the car (since gasoline refills would no longer be required). By the way, the article that led to armchair speculation about an electric race car appeared in Auto News (http://autoweek.com/article/nascar/nascar-moving-closer-electric-race-cars ) in May after an online network introduced the idea as an April Fools meme.
But even if electric race cars are still off in the remote distance all is not lost. That same article pointed out that NASCAR and many of its teams are making important steps to clean up the environment. Here are some examples from NASCAR.
• NASCAR uses a 15% ethanol blend biofuel, which it says reduces greenhouse-gas emissions up to 20% while increasing horsepower. Drivers have raced more than 10 million competition miles on the biofuel.
• About 120,000 Goodyear tires and 200,000 gallons of oil are recycled across NASCAR’s top 3 national series annually.
• Virginia’s Martinsville Speedway debuted energy efficient LED lights in March 2017, making it the first major motorsports venue to have the technology.
• Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania is 100% solar-powered.
• Sonoma Raceway in California uses solar power, and sheep for landscaping and recycling. An organic garden provides food for the hospitality suites.
• Chip Ganassi Racing is working with DC Solar to create solar-powered cool-down units for use on pit row. The solar panels eliminate the need for noisy, fossil-fuel-driven generators and reduce CO2 emissions.
• Kyle Busch Motorsports uses geothermal heating and cooling, cocoon insulation and solar control glass at its 77,000-square-foot corporate headquarters.
It is good to see that the folks at NASCAR are doing what they can to help the environment.
By the way, did you know that there is a NASCAR Series for the pickup truck? Well, there is, and we will talk about that in an upcoming blog. Until then, let us know if you know of other green initiatives at NASCAR.
P.S. Did you notice that we made it all the way through this blog and did not mention our subsidiary Worksport’s Helios product line even once? Well, almost made it! 😊
The FNHI Team