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’s fast-paced, close racing packs the grandstands and attracts millions to television sets and social media for 38 weekends a year.
NASCAR and the industry’s green efforts showcased in front of millions of fans each week is a major shift in the way things were done 10, 15, 20 years ago. NASCAR, the racetracks, teams, drivers and industry partners alike are working hard to lead a charge in environmental sustainability and doing business in the most environmentally friendly manner possible.
From industry-wide recycling efforts to food diversion, racing on a biofuel called Sunoco Green E15, solar powered tracks, organic farms changing the menu in hospitality suites, a faster and more energy efficient track sweeper, recycled racing oils and fluids, NASCAR and its industry partners are doing business with an eye toward being as environmentally responsible as possible.
Below are examples of what NASCAR teams, drivers and tracks are doing.
Pocono Raceway: The 3MW Pocono Solar Project introduced in 2010 has allowed the track to be powered 100 percent by solar power. Pocono Raceway has also undertaken a serious tree planting campaign and provided 8,000 saplings in partnership with NASCAR Green and the Arbor Day Foundation to the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Track president Brandon Igdalsky has set a goal to have 75 percent waste diversion by 2018, with recycling, food donation and composting playing a large role and is planning to release the first Sustainability Support in NASCAR this year.
Martinsville Speedway: For the first time in its 70-year history, Martinsville Speedway has a permanent lighting system. The track 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 facility and the infield of the track, will provide better illumination, as well as greater flexibility and efficiency, than 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.
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 in Northern California hopes to become the go-to place to showcase and test new green automotive technology.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway: The IMS Solar Farm was recently recognized with an award at the NASCAR Green Summit. Introduced in July 2014, the solar farm consists of 68 acres and helps provide affordable energy to 2,700 Central Indiana homes, offsetting 10,288 tons of carbon annually.
Richmond International Raceway: Concluding the NASCAR Race to Green weekend, RIR has transformed the fan midway to feature the Toyota Green Space Oasis in which fans can learn about sustainability and green automotive technology. Richmond International Raceway also has a recycling program, back of house composting program and food donation effort all with NASCAR Green.
Daytona International Speedway: As part of the Daytona Rising project unveiled in 2016, DIS partnered with Florida Power & Light Company to create the FPL Solar Pavilion and FPL Solar Canopy to provide shade for fans, as well as the FPL Solar Park. Collectively, all three consist of over 7,000 solar panels and generate 2.1 megawatts of zero-emissions energy.
Chicagoland Speedway: Chicagoland Speedway is hosting their second annual ‘Go Green For Spring’ event at the track in April. Fans are invited to drive their personal car on the track, 500 Arbor Day Foundation sapling trees will be given to fans, and Nicor Gas’ Energy Efficiency program will present ideas for consumers to save energy and money on their bills.
Roush Fenway Racing: In 2014, Roush Fenway Racing recycled over 98 tons of waste consisting of metal, paper and plastic. The team also recycles 96 percent of every race car that comes back from the track. RFR also works with Safety-Kleen to recycle oil and promote services.
Kyle Busch Motorsports: It’s typically called a “shop,” but in the case of Kyle Busch Motorsports, its shop is a 77,000-square-foot state-of-the-art corporate headquarters, equipped to handle race preparation for its fleet of Toyota Tundras as well as executive meetings and gatherings for its array of partners. Geothermal heating and cooling, cocoon insulation and solar control glass are just a few of the efforts being made to ensure the shop is running as sustainably as possible.
JR Motorsports: JR Motorsports has an installation of solar panels atop its race shop and office, diversifying the ways in which the company gets its energy. The solar energy reduces the company’s power usage from the grid by about 44 percent.
Brad Keselowski Racing: The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team is working closely with Safety-Kleen to separate oil and water throughout the race shop.
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates: The team is working with XFINITY Series sponsor DC Solar to create solar powered cool down units for use on pit road. The solar panels eliminate the need for the noisy, fossil fuel driven generators and cuts down on the CO2 emissions going back into the race car.