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Hey, dudes: Let's make NASCAR 'Greener.' Brian France needs your suggestions


Brian France wants NASCAR 'Greener.' Offer him some ideas (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


By Mike Mulhern

   And here's my question for you today: What do you think NASCAR CEO Brian France and his men should be doing to help stock car racing 'get green.'
   And, part two: in this new era of 35 mpg, and 'green, green, green,' and hybrid-engine street cars, alternative fuels, and such, how can NASCAR remain relevant to this new America?
   Or is stock car racing on the verge of becoming an anachronism, as it tends to become every now and then: After the Go-Go Sixties, and muscle cars, the Seventies were decided a downer. Then in the Eighties, the sport rallied to prominence again…only to hit a downturn in the early 1990s. Then came the Indianapolis gambit, and the sport took off again….
   And now?
   The word may be green.
   And maybe NASCAR execs have been slow to the table on this one.
   So make your voice heard on this issue – give us some talking points to take to France this week in Daytona when we meet up with him for SpeedWeeks.
   France met with Al Gore last summer at Sonoma to talk about how to 'green-up' NASCAR…but what has really come out of that isn't clear.
   Maybe it's time to invite Al Gore to be Grand Marshall at a NASCAR race – Why not the California 500 in a couple of weeks?
   There's certainly a lot NASCAR could do to get on this train. 'Greener' pace cars is so obvious it's unclear why Detroit and NASCAR officials have been so slow to the mark on this one.
   And then maybe the four car makers in NASCAR today could pump up their own men to meet this issue head-on.
   Toyota, with a hybrid pace car set for the May 600 at Charlotte, is ahead of the curve, if only slightly.
   So we just asked Marcos Ambrose, Toyota's newest driver, a few days ago what he thought NASCAR could do to 'get green.'
   "I really don't have a response for that,"  Ambrose conceded. "NASCAR is playing their part -- It's a sport that's in the American psyche. A very famous sport, and a great sport. 
    "The world is changing rapidly around us, and NASCAR is going to stay on top of it."
    So then we asked Ed Laukes, Toyota's corporate manager of motorsports marketing, the same question.
   "You have to make baby steps," Laukes said. "How that starts out with is 'green' programs at the race track.
   "And I think some of the recycling programs they've already started are just the first steps. 
    "We met with NASCAR in their New York office when we were there in December for the Cup banquet, and they actually have a gentleman on board now that is studying 'green' initiatives and how they can be applied…and taking them from some of the Fortune 500 companies, such as Toyota, that are doing things at our assembly plants and taking them to the race track."
   NASCAr's new man is Mike Lynch.
   "It's baby steps," Laukes says.
   "But I think NASCAR understands and is working on 'green' initiatives, and they are bringing them forward into the racing program."
   So what specifically would Laukes suggest to NASCAR about going green?
   "That's a question that really needs to go to NASCAR…and under the umbrella of all the manufacturers come up with a strategy that will be effective for the sport, while keeping it entertaining for all the fans, and yet working toward a 'green' initiative," he replied.

What do you think NASCAR CEO

What do you think NASCAR CEO Brian France and his men should be doing to help stock car racing 'get green.'


And, part two: in this new era of 35 mpg, and 'green, green, green,' and hybrid-engine street cars, alternative fuels, and such, how can NASCAR remain relevant to this new America?


Mike-seriously. Have you ever walked around the parking lot at a race? I made a special effort to note this at Speedweeks last year. I stayed at the Ramada Inn for six nights, so I had plenty of time to kill. The overwhelming majority of vehicles were by American manufacturers, and most of them were trucks or SUVs. Other than for political reasons, people DO NOT want to drive a glorified golf cart around. If gas isn’t artificially inflated to $4.00 a gallon, and the economy isn’t destroyed by an ultra liberal media in conjunction with a Socialist presidential candidate, people want to drive safe, decent sized, cars, trucks and SUVs. There is no gas or oil shortage, and there is NO manmade global warming. People who take these issues to heart are not going to be race fans no matter what you do. They would think we are all cavemen with an IQ of 50 even if everyone rode their bicycles to the track to watch a parade of Prius pilots rocket around.

Race fans do not want to see hybrid cars on the track, be it a pace car, but very much less in competition. Put a damn Corvette at the front of pace laps and leave that other junk to the tree-huggers’ convention. If anything, the fans would like to see faster, louder, more powerful cars. Put 43 drivers in 1971 Mercury’s and Dodges and watch the grandstands be SRO. These things they are driving today are ridiculous already. Keep the safety components and make the bodies look like a 1984 car, not a damn egg like these jokes that Honda and Toyota are making. All this aero crap would go away, and the racing would be excellent.

Then we get Al Gore? Are you freaking kidding me? California may be the only location where he wouldn’t be completely booed out of the place. Bring him to Darlington, or even better yet, Talladega. I would pay to see that one. The person who has been most instrumental in perpetrating the biggest scam in the history of the world should not be welcomed into the world of NASCAR. If he is, and this “green” crap gains traction and is touted by NASCAR, I will NEVER EVER attend or watch another race again. It will be dead to me, and I didn’t just start paying attention a couple years ago-I went to my first race in 1974 when I was 4 years old, and have been going ever since. I’m feeling the tug of that already with the way they have spit on the very people that got them where they are today. If Richard Petty would not have been able to salvage his team, I may have hastened in that direction. I have a feeling that when the King is gone, coupled with the seemingly inevitable loss of one or two races at Martinsville, I will be his-to-reee. The way the young drivers are groomed to be politically-correct marketing robots, I mean, really, who cares? But that is off topic and for another day…

For the record, I am not some toxic waste dumping; change my oil in the creek zealot. I make my living literally improving and saving the environment. I sell and help design wastewater, sewage, and raw water pumping, conveyance, and treatment facilities for municipalities, so I do much more than my share. Much more than Mr. Al Gore does himself, in reality. Maybe I should be a Grand Marshall. I’m certainly more qualified than that jackass. I would be glad to talk to Brian France about everything I have discussed here and much more. I will be in Daytona, in the garage, if you want to set that up.

There is plenty of room in this world and in our lives for political correctness to be shoved down our throats. Please just leave our racing alone.


The "green" revolution is

The "green" revolution is nothing of the kind. The environment is not threatened and never has been. What Al Gore and company have done is bully companies. NASCAR shouldn't let him get away with it. If they want better fuel mileage, plate the cars at all the tracks. Otherwise leave it alone.

well, LazyBrain, NASCAR

well, LazyBrain,
NASCAR already is an anachronism; the last time any car manufacturer used a cast iron V-8 with push rods and a carburetor,...Jimmy Carter was in the White House.
Racing was,..... once upon a time, the proving ground for the best and brightest to develop new ideas, e.g., the Can Am series of the 1960's; NASCAR stock car racing has devolved into a merchandizing machine for the France family: it's American Idol on wheels with a lot of noise.
As an engineer in the pertroleum industry I'll forcast that you're about to be in for a very rude shock, gasoline is going to soon be so expensive that $4 per gallon will be viewed as the good old days when oil was relatively plentiful,...and cheap at $147 per bbl. Oil is now $40 per bbl, but May futures are already trading for about $65 bbl, and that is with a world-wide depression going on.
It is likely that we passed Peak Oil in June '08; the older oil fields are now declining at a rate that new production cannot keep up, a fact that has been exacerbated by the current George Bush financial collapse and the delay of many new projects.
We have drilled all into all of the "easy" oil, the rest of it is going to be more difficult and expensive to extract: it's how I make my living, the new projects in deep water and other unattractive places are all engineering wonders.
The big 2.5 mile track at Indianapolis was built so American car manufacturers would have a place to test their ideas; the year the bricks were put in place the US had more than 400 car companies. They evolved into a about three dozen companies by end of the 1920's and car technology rocketed ahead as huge oil fields were discovered in Texas, making gasoline cheap and the oil companies rich. Those Texas fields peaked in production in 1970 (as predicted by M. King Hubbert in 1956)and we've been increasing our consumption of imported oil ever since.
We can import ourselves into the poor house by continuing to buy more and more foreign oil and export our hard earned $, or we can start exploring some other technologies.
American LeMans Series has been running diesel cars (Audi) for a couple of years (synthetic diesel fuel at that); Zytek is going to run a hybrid car this year, which makes one think that electrics are not far behind.
To quote Henry Ford, "if in 1905 I'd asked farmers what they needed, they'd all have said 'a faster horse.'" But he build the Model T instead and it revolutionized transportation worldwide.
While you may yearn for a faster, and louder horse, what we really need is the next new Model T, only it won't run on oil products.
Racing could be the proving ground to help accelerate the introduction of the next generation vehicle and technology in transportation.
Unfortunately, it seems unlikely in the extreme that NASCAR will be that hot bed of innovation.
prof ei

Your forecast is like all

Your forecast is like all those other forecasts that oil would soon be depleted. Bogus. There are more "easy" oilfields to drill in; what is needed is the will to drill.

Well, Professor Engineer

Well, Professor Engineer Intern,

It took only a few seconds of research to find refutations of your Chicken Little theories here. The world's oil is drying up!!!! (I will not even bother with the "world-wide depression") Anyone interested can take a look at the website www.worldoil.com and see how drastically oil production has fallen off worldwide---can you say increases virtually across the board?


Futures trading at $65 a barrel? I hope you have some of that. Good try-you're only off by about 25%:


Month Open High Low Last Time Sett Chg Vol OpInt
Mar 09 41.25 41.85 40.80 41.85 Feb 02, 13:46 40.08 -1.60 237726 41.68
Apr 09 - - - 47.00 Jan 30, 18:45 43.92 -2.21 80703 46.13 122975
May 09 - - - 48.66 Jan 30, 18:43 46.17 -2.35 24754 48.52 74597
Jun 09 - - - 50.27 Jan 30, 18:43 47.62 -2.36 27907 49.98 118158
Jul 09 - - - 51.52 Jan 30, 18:41 48.82 -2.35 10253 51.17 52836

Peak Oil? Don't choke on your Kool-Aid, Prof...


"The U.S. Minerals Management Service (a branch of the Interior Department) estimates 102 billion barrels of oil and 635 trillion cubic feet of gas beneath federal lands and coastal waters. By way of comparison, the reserves lying beneath the North Sea, a major source of oil for Europe, are believed to contain a total of 18 billion barrels of oil.

Geologists estimate that another 300 trillion cubic feet of gas and 50 billion barrels of oil are waiting, yet to be discovered, off the "Lower 48" states. The American Petroleum Institute (API) notes that this is enough oil to replace current imports from the Persian Gulf for 59 years.

Overall, experts estimate that the undiscovered resources on the federal Outer Continental Shelf that could be recovered with today's technology are some 420 trillion cubic feet of gas and 77 billion barrels of oil - as much oil as Canada and Mexico combined, and almost three times their gas resources. (Generally, the OCS begins three to nine nautical miles from shore, depending on the state, and extends 200 nautical miles outward.)

Yet almost 90 percent of the OCS acreage is off-limits to production - on essentailly spurious environmental grounds. With a peak output of 6 million barrels of oil a day in 1999, North Sea production has not caused environmental degradation; there is no reason to believe that OCS production would be any more environmentally damaging."

I truly cannot argue oil with you if you are indeed an engineer in the oil industry, but I would hate to have someone working for me who obviously revels in its potential demise. I have no doubt that oil and gas prices will escalate as summer approaches--gas prices have already jumped and oil is at $40 bbl. Israel bombing Gaza was a great excuse to jack up prices, don't you think?

Sure the American LeMans Series is doing great, and I'm glad because I like all types of racing, but the curious don't hang around for long. I'm sure one day the gasoline engine will fade away, but it will be replaced via ACTUAL NEED through ingenuity and CAPITALISM. Environmentalist wackos and anti-capitalists preventing us from drilling for the oil we already have, and the Al Gore types telling us we're ruining the planet while gobbling up energy by the ton themselves won't do it.

The name of the sport, while now a misnomer, is still the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. Maybe you should start up the National Association for Electric Car Auto Racing---NAECAR has a nice ring to it, huh? If it's a horse I'm riding, I guess I will stick with it for now. There are plenty of oats.


Why don't they fix ( or

Why don't they fix ( or unfix) the racing F-I-R-S-T It is awful. The trucks @ Fontana were boring! Green - please - I'm so sick of pc green junk I can barely see straight. In this ecomony ( Which Mr Obama keeps talking down) NASCAR needs to deal with the stuff in their face now. Then worry about green. Get the Trucks & Cars sponsored up!

What a laugh green - they haven't gotten to equality yet. And the rest of us were there decades ago!

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