By: John Farrell
In 2009, NASCAR created the NASCAR Green Clean Air program designed to plant 10 trees for each green flag that drops during a NASCAR-sanctioned event, the largest tree-planting program in all of sports. For example, if a race at Michigan International Speedway has five cautions and restarts, 60 trees will be planted in areas damaged by natural disasters, parks, at schools and other areas surrounding a track or within the race market that are in need of trees.
There is a minimum of 50 trees planted for each NASCAR-sanctioned race held at a participating race track, regardless of whether there are less than five green flags dropped during the race.
By planting 10 trees for each green flag that drops in a NASCAR-sanctioned race 100% of the emissions produced by the racing on track are captured. When the unique program debuted in 2009, 11 tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series participated. By the beginning of the 2012 season, there are more than 26 tracks participating, including tracks in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
In 2010 alone, close to 1,000 trees were planted throughout communities surrounding tracks across the country. In 2011, as the number of participating tracks grew the number of trees planted through the program swelled to over 1,000 and in 2012, the number is expected to increase to over 1,500.
After the 2012 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, 110 trees were planted at four different locations in Daytona Beach, Fla., and neighboring Port Orange. Mainland High School, Bethune Point Park and North Street Park, all in Daytona Beach, and Orange City Elementary School in Port Orange were the recipients of an assortment of trees including crepe myrtles and red maples that not only will add to the aesthetics of each locale, but benefit the environment. It is recommended that the trees used in the program are purchased from businesses within the race market owned by minorities and women to support local diverse merchants.
Fifty-seven employees from NASCAR, International Speedway Corporation and Daytona International Speedway participated in the day of planting.
As more and more tracks sign up to participate in the program and more and more trees are planted as a result, the NASCAR industry continues to do their part in making the world a better place to live… and breathe one tree at a time.
Be on the lookout for an announcement over the summer from NASCAR and Charlotte CENTER CITY Partners announcing a day later this fall when they will plant trees around the Charlotte area.