Last week at Michigan NASCAR announced the NASCAR Green Clean Air program. The basics of this program is starting at Michigan in June NASCAR will be planting 10 new trees at 10 tracks this year and then expanding to all tracks in 2010 planting 20 acres of trees annually.
Including; Michigan, Phoenix, Chicagoland, Pocono, Lowe’s, Infineon, Homestead-Miami, Iowa, Kansas, Daytona and Indianapolis.
Because every market that NASCAR runs the Sprint Cup series in is different, NASCAR has to work with vendors and tracks in setting up the program.
NASCAR Director of Business Communication Andrew Giangola said “NASCAR Green Clean Air is part of an ambitious five year plan to significantly reduce NASCAR’s environmental footprint while raising awareness of conservation among fans.”
NASCAR has always been looking for cleaner, greener ways at all their tracks but this new program puts them at the forefront in motorsports.
Giangola went on to say, “Our goal is to be a leader not only in sports but all industry…we’re getting a better understanding of areas of improvement, and are well into planning a comprehensive green initiative designed to generate measurable results in reducing the sports environmental impact.”
The only way to be a leader in industry is to act and NASCAR has been leading the way at many of NASCAR sanctioned tracks for a long time now.
Many of NASCAR’s sanctioned tracks have programs that are not only teaching race fans about the environment but also protecting the environment.
Infineon Raceway in Sonoma has one of the most extensive environmentally friendly programs on the circuit. Infineon began a recycling program since 2004; recycling 73 tons of materials.
If you have attended a race at Sonoma you probably noticed or have heard that instead of using gas or electric mowers Infineon uses sheep.
Yes, sheep a partnership with Rocky Mountain Wooly Weeders in 2008 has the animals living at the track and are attended by two shepherds. Sheep aren’t the only wildlife helping keep grounds at Infineon, the track has 15 owl boxes around the track; these birds hunt gophers and rodents.
“One family of Barn Owls can eat 30 to 40 rodents a night, which helps the raceway eliminate the need for pesticides and other poisons in controlling pests” Giangola added.
Many other tracks have recycling programs like at Auto Club Speedway which not only are they recycling plastics and paper they are recycling household items that are filling up landfills across California.
Auto Club offers an annual mower recycling day, residents can return gas powered mowers for electric mowers. Also Envriocycle uses Auto Club Speedway as a drop off for disposal of TV’s and computer monitors that most people just throw in the garbage.
According to Daytona International Speedway’s Manager of Media Relations, Andrew Booth, DIS not only has a recycling program they are promoting living and being green by having NexEra Energy sponsor the Camping World Truck series next February.
“Through this unique entitlement program, our parent company, International Speedway Corporation, will purchase renewable energy credits to offset the carbon emissions from the major events held at both Daytona International Speedway and our sister track, Homestead-Miami Speedway, throughout the year, including fan and team travel associated with each event.”
Booth went on to say “This amount was determined in collaboration with NextEra Energy, the leaders in renewable energy based on historical information provided by ISC and utilizing a formula developed by the Center for Resource Solutions.”
Some racetracks are not only recycling, some are protecting the land around the track and preserving the wetlands that surround tracks like Michigan International Speedway and Darlington Raceway.
“MIS has approximately 200 acres of protected wetlands in and around the facility” Giangola added.
According to DIS during Speedweeks 2009 the track collected 15,980 pounds of aluminum and cans. 9582 of that was aluminum and 6398 pounds of plastic. In comparison to Speedweeks 2008 that was 700 pounds more than last year.
Lowe’s Motorspeedway’s teamed up with Anheuser-Busch in 2008 to start a recycling program.
“Almost 5,000 pounds of aluminum and plastic beverage containers were collected on speedway property during the 10-day span of events that month.” Lowe’s Communication Manager Annette Randall said.
“For the fall NASCAR races…more than 4,000 pounds of recyclables in a four-day period.” Randall added.
This year Coca-Cola and Anheuser Busch provided 400 recycling barrels that are placed around the track.
Being environmentally friendly doesn’t just include recycling programs and using green cleaning products as many tracks do, but it includes using electric cars.
No, your favorite driver is not driving the newest electric car on the race track but the pace cars that lead them to the green flag and restarts at selected tracks are electric power.
If you remember back to the rain plagued Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway was paced by the brand new Toyota Camry Hybrid. We will see the Camry at Infineon Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway, Watkins Glen, Martinsville and the fall Lowe‘s race.
NASCAR is looking toward the future and hopes to continue to not only improve but find new ways to help lessen their impact on the environment.
“As we develop and roll out new programs we’ll work with the media, including NASCAR licensed media and our partners like Fox, TNT, ABC/ESPN and Sirius XM radio, go spread the good word.” Giangola remarked.
Also as fans we can do our part. As our favorite tracks continue to lead the way in “being green” we can too by limiting our global impact with simple, easy steps.
As we attend races we will see all of the tracks promoting not only their programs at the track but things we can do at home, to help save our planet.
NASCAR is a leader of the pack in going green; this is one race where coming in second is just not good enough.
Special thanks to NASCAR, Daytona International Speedway and Lowe’s Motor Speedway for your help with this piece.