The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Corn Promotion Board and Pioneer Hi-Bred announced November 25 that they have renewed their sponsorship for the Iowa Corn Indy 250. The fourth annual car race will be fueled by corn ethanol and will be held June 20, 2010 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
This race marks the fourth trip to Iowa for the Indy Car Series and the fourth time the cars have driven nearly 200 miles per hour on 100% fuel grade corn ethanol.
"Powering Indy Cars at top speeds is the ultimate in ethanol performance," says Tim Burrack, a northeast Iowa farmer and chairman of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. "Iowa Corn is at the track again this year because the cars are not only running on corn ethanol, but also because thousands and thousands of people hear and see our messages about the power, performance, reliability and energy independence provided by ethanol."
Ethanol proven in race cars, is good for consumer vehicles too
In 2006 the Indy Car Series used ethanol for the first time on the national racing circuit. The cars realized reduced fuel consumption on the same horsepower using corn ethanol. Specifically, race cars on the Indy circuit saw smaller engines and a savings of more than 20,000 gallons of fuel in that first year alone.
"These benefits, along with the increased economic activity for Iowa, are what brought sponsors like ICGA and ICPB and Pioneer back to the Iowa Corn Indy 250," says Burrack.
"The Iowa Corn Indy 250 has become a great event for the state and we are proud to sponsor it," says Judd O'Connor, Pioneer business director for Iowa and Missouri. "Just as science and innovation are constantly improving the performance of the cars on the track, they are helping develop the alternative, sustainable fuels that the world is demanding and Iowa agriculture can deliver."
New agreement covers both 2010 and 2011 racing seasons
Previous Iowa Corn Indy 250 races set record attendance at the Iowa Speedway with over 40,000 fans packing the stands. Stan Clement, CEO of the Iowa Speedway, salutes Iowa corn farmers for introducing corn-based ethanol to the motor sports industry, and also praises ICGA, ICPB and Pioneer for their continued sponsorship of the Iowa Corn Indy 250.
"The ICGA and the Indy Racing League have been a tremendous fit for Iowa Speedway and we are honored to have them continue working with us," says Clement. "The Iowa Corn Indy 250 is a world-class event and racing fans look forward to the race each year."
Craig Floss, CEO of ICGA and ICPB, says the corn growers' agreement with Iowa Speedway and the Indy Racing League to bring back Indy Car Series racing to the Iowa Speedway is for 2010 as well as 2011, both years. "We're also very happy that Pioneer will again be a partner with Iowa Corn in sponsoring this race for the next two yeas," says Floss.
U.S. corn ethanol will be used in the Iowa Corn Indy 250
He adds, "And we've been guaranteed that this is going to be 100% U.S. produced corn-based ethanol coming from Iowa's cornfields that is going to be used to fuel the cars that will be racing in the Iowa Corn Indy 250."
What does Burrack see as the value of ICGA helping sponsor this race? "We look at this as a great way to promote ethanol," he says. "There's a lot of negative, untruthful publicity about ethanol and ethanol has taken a lot of hits the last two years. We look at this race as outreach, helping us deliver information about the benefits of ethanol--and were not just delivering the information to the state of Iowa. It's to the nation now. We had 12.5 million households in the U.S. watching the last Iowa Corn Indy 250 race on TV."
"It's a great way to promote ethanol when you can tie it into a popular event such as motor sports. Indy cars run well on it. They get great efficiencies, and it works the same in your vehicle too," says Clement.
Great way to reach big audience and tell them about ethanol
"Sponsoring this race, which is held in central Iowa, is a really good way to get the ethanol message out and let people know ethanol is a positive product that does a lot of good for our nation," notes Burrack.
Iowa corn growers introduced ethanol as a viable renewable fuel in the market place, literally a gallon at a time, 30 years ago. Back then, ICGA and ICPB members gathered at gas stations throughout Iowa to hand out free gift certificates to motorists to get them to try using ethanol fuel.
Burrack adds, "We corn growers are very proud that back in the mid-70s we got the ethanol ball rolling. Look at what the industry has become today. Ethanol needs defending and needs promotion, and we appreciate Pioneer and the Iowa Speedway helping sponsor and promote ethanol. The relationships we've built to get the ethanol message out to the public are very, very important. Ethanol works, it's a good product, efficient, environmentally friendly, it helps America become energy independent and it just makes sense to use ethanol."