NASCAR AND STAKEHOLDERS FOCUSED ON PRESERVATION OF ENVIRONMENT UNDER THE NASCAR GREEN PLATFORM
Each weekend from February until November, NASCAR races to the green flag at tracks across the United States. One of the largest and most popular spectator sports in the country, NASCAR and its industry’s green efforts are showcased in front of millions of fans each week demonstrating its charge to drive environmental sustainability.
For almost a decade, NASCAR has taken a holistic approach across its wide-ranging ecosystem to reduce and offset its impact on the environment. It has also worked to preserve the natural environment while bringing value and inspiration to the motorsports industry, its partners, employees, and fans.
NASCAR Green and Industry Players
Since 2008, NASCAR has collaborated with key stakeholders that care deeply about sustainability, and currently works with more than 15 green partners. Sustainability is a year-long initiative under the NASCAR Green platform and it offers partners ample opportunity to align with NASCAR during key moments as well as achieve specific goals and objectives. NASCAR and its industry partners are doing business with the mindset of being as environmentally responsible as possible.
Industry-wide ‘NASCAR Green’ initiatives taking place at NASCAR events throughout the racing season include; racing on a blended biofuel called Sunoco Green E15, expansive in-venue recycling efforts, food diversion, solar powered tracks and lighting fixtures, organic farms changing the menu in hospitality suites, a faster and more energy efficient track sweeper and recycling of racing oils and fluids as well as used racing tires.
Offsets, Programs and Partners
Since the programs’ debut in 2009, the ‘NASCAR Tree Planting Program’ has resulted in more than 500,000 trees being planted across the country, specifically areas affected by climate-related natural disasters. NASCAR’s sustainability program also launched the first digital tree planting efforts in sports offering fans the opportunity to donate a tree in an area of need across the United States. It also launched the first Community Tree Recovery Program with the Arbor Day Foundation specifically going into race markets directly affected by climate-related natural disaster.
In 2011, NASCAR’s groundbreaking partnership with Sunoco and American Ethanol prompted the launch of a long-term blended bio-fuels program across its three-national series. To propel its race vehicles, NASCAR uses Sunoco Green E15 – a 15 percent ethanol blend bio-fuel, reducing greenhouse emissions by 20 percent per the EPA’s Renewable Fuel Standards, while also increasing the car’s horsepower.
NASCAR has successfully run more than 10 million tough competition miles with the biofuel, validating that its safe, reliable and viable for millions of NASCAR fans across the country.
Recycling efforts across the sport account for approximately 120,000 Goodyear racing tires recycled across NASCAR’s top three national series annually.
As a major contributor to the recycling efforts taking place across the sport, Safety-Kleen provides its oil recycling and re-fining services to more than 200 NASCAR-sanctioned races a year. Safety-Kleen collects and re-refines more than 200,000 gallons on NASCAR automotive fluids at tracks and team shops a year.
Monster Energy and Pocono Raceway joined forces for the ‘Monster Energy NASCAR Free Friday’ campaign. On Friday of race weekend, fans can bring one empty can, any size, of Monster Energy to the track to be recycled and gain free entry into the track for the day. Last year, the first year for the campaign, nearly 4,000 cans were collected and recycled.
Sustainability in NASCAR is reducing environment impact, offsetting impact that cannot be avoided and working year-round to preserve the natural environment. NASCAR has invested in reforestation and biodiversity projects in the United States and abroad to offset NASCAR employee air travel for the last two years.
Tracks and Teams
Many NASCAR tracks and teams are also implementing renewable energies as well as more energy efficient options in their day-to-day operations.
Aluminum, plastic and cardboard recycling has now become an operational function for many NASCAR venues becoming normal course of their business operations.
Daytona International Speedway: As a part of the Daytona Rising project, DIS partnered with Florida Power & Light Company to create the FPL Solar Pavilion and Solar Canopy to provide shade for fans along with the FPL Solar Park. Collectively, all three consist of over 7,000 solar panels and generate 2.1 megawatts of zero-emissions energy.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway: The IMS Solar Farm was recently recognized with an award at the NASCAR Green Summit. Introduced in July 2014, the solar farms consist of 68 acres to help provide affordable energy to 2,700 Central Indiana homes, offsetting 10,288 tons of carbon annually.
Martinsville Speedway: It debuted new LED lights in March 2017, making Martinsville the first major motorsports facility to have this technology. The LED lighting solution, located around the perimeter of the track and in the infield of the track, will provide better illumination, as well as greater flexibility and efficiency compared to traditional metal halide lights.
Michigan International Speedway: Track president Roger Curtis has made a commitment to make MIS the ‘greenest track in NASCAR’. The speedway has worked to reduce overall energy consumption while providing an example for fans and fellow businesses alike. MIS was named the 2015 Consumers Energy Green Generation Customer of the Year.
Pocono Raceway: In addition to the Monster Energy NASCAR Free Can Friday campaign, Pocono also owns one of the largest renewable energy stadiums projects in the world. Its 3MW Solar Farm is the track’s primary electric energy source while powering more than 250 homes, lowering CO2 emissions by 2,370 metric tons annually.
Sonoma Raceway: Using solar power, sheep for landscaping and recycling, Sonoma Raceway has also been a leader in NASCAR Green. An organic garden provides food for the hospitality suites and plans are in place to expand the reach. The winding road course hopes to become the go-to place to showcase and test new green automotive technology.
Richmond International Raceway: Since spring 2015, NASCAR piloted a compost and food donation program at the track. The pilot program resulted in over 5.4 tons of food going to compost and over 1,000 meals donated to the hungry. RIR also transformed the fan midway to feature the Toyota Green Space Oasis where fans can learn about sustainability and green automotive technology.
Chip Ganassi Racing: The team is working with sponsor DC Solar to create solar-powered cooldown units for use on pit road. The solar panels eliminate the need for the noisy, fossil fuel driven generators and reduces the CO2 emissions going back into the race car.
JR Motorsports: Features an installation of solar panels atop its race shop and office, diversifying the ways in which the company gets energy. The solar energy reduces the company’s power usage from the grid by about 44 percent.
Kyle Busch Motorsports: It’s typically called a ‘shop’, but in the case of KBM, its shop is a 77,000-square-foot state-of-the-art corporate headquarters. Geothermal heating and cooling, cocoon insulation, and solar control glass are some of a few of the efforts being made to ensure the shop is running as sustainably as possible.
Roush Fenway Racing: Recycles as much as 96 percent of each race car and has comprehensive recycling programs as well as integrations of solar energy. In 2014, the team recycled over 98 tons of waste consisting of metal, paper, and plastic. RFR also works with Safety-Kleen to recycle oil and promote services.
NASCAR Fans Care About the Environment
NASCAR and its stakeholders have made great strides the last few years to reduce and offset its impact on the environment while working to sustain and preserve the natural environment.
Due to the industry’s efforts, more than four out of five avid NASCAR fans (85%) are aware of ‘NASCAR Green’, and three out of four avid NASCAR fans (76%) recognize the initiative as showing NASCAR cares about the environment.
Support for partners and their efforts have also risen. NASCAR fans have seen ethanol work at the highest level of performance in NASCAR. They are more likely than non-fans to support the use of E15 in NASCAR race cars, in their own cars, and to fuel cars on the road today to increase U.S. energy independence.
NASCAR fans are more than five times as likely as non-fans to closely associate NASCAR with being environmentally responsible – not surprising as NASCAR fans are more than likely to be aware of and see first-hand numerous green-related initiatives within the sport.
NASCAR fans also support climate change. More than four out of five fans (88%) believe the Earth is going through a period of climate change, and three out of four fans (76%) who believe it feel a personal responsibility to combat it.
Source: Official NASCAR Fan Council Weekly Post Race Survey (April 2016)
Source: Custom Environment-Related Tracker commissioned by NASCAR and conducted by Toluna (January 2018)
Source: Custom Climate Change Study commissioned by NASCAR and conducted by Directions Research (May 2016)