Holy Shit! You Can Run Racing Cars on Alcohol!

Yeah, yeah, we know, it's a press release. But criminy it's annoying. And cloying. Ethanol people are claiming great joy upon the beginning of testing at Daytona for the IRL season. And sure, we've got no beef with racing cars running ethanol whatsoever and we think that even if ethanol is far from a cure-all at this point, it's at least raising awareness of renewable fuels. But to read this thing, you'd think a bunch of racecars starting up was was like the Second Vatican Council or something. Full release after the jump.

Ethanol Cars a Success At IndyCar Series Open Test in Daytona, FL
Daytona, FL — The IndyCar Series held its first Open Test of the season Jan. 31, at Daytona International Speedway where for the first time all IndyCar Series cars ran on 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol.

Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) Executive Director Tom Slunecka was in Daytona to watch history being made.

"The test started off with just a bang, the engines cranked up. Just amazing to know a product that comes right from the Heartland is powering these massive machines around the track at over 200 miles an hour. It was an exciting morning," said Slunecka.

According to Slunecka, the IndyCar drivers he talked to in Daytona are proud to be a part of the change to a fuel that is better for the environment and the economy, as well as being happy with its performance in their cars.

Plus, the fumes of the farm-based fuel are less harmful and smell better.

"Methanol is a very gaseous-type smell - makes your eyes water and your throat tighten up. But, today as these engines cranked up for the very first time, the sweet smell of ethanol wafted over the paddock," Slunecka said.

"And all of these drivers and mechanics are so appreciative of the fact that these fumes that they are breathing today are non-toxic and their jobs just got a whole lot healthier."

Slunecka added that the ethanol industry should take great pride in the switch to ethanol by the IndyCar Series.

"If it weren't for the vision of several leaders in the ethanol industry and a young man named Paul Dana we wouldn't be here today. We wouldn't have the opportunity to show the world that ethanol is the right choice."

Also in Daytona to watch the test was Dan Schwartzkopf, senior vice president of Renova Energy in Torrington, WY, the facility which was contracted by EPIC to supply approximately 120,000 gallons of ethanol to the IndyCar Series this season.

"In the conversations that I have had with the crews, everybody seems to like the ethanol. No bad remarks whatsoever. So, I think it's going to be promising from this point on to see it not only here in Indy but in a number of other motor sports venues," said Schwartzkopf.

Renova Energy actually has its own drag race team which has been using ethanol as a high performance race fuel for more than a decade with great success.

Dan's son Jamie Schwartzkopf, who is team manager for Renova Energy Racing, says the IndyCar Series really puts ethanol on the map as a motorsports fuel.

"So far the fuel's been flawless, no problems whatsoever. With the new Honda engine there's been a lot of R&D put into this and I think every body knew it was going to hit the track pretty flawlessly. So, it's as expected and everybody's pretty upbeat about it," he said.

This groundbreaking achievement makes the IndyCar Series, the cutting-edge leader in motorsports safety and technology and a leader in using renewable and environmentally responsible fuel produced in the U.S.

The 17 race IndyCar Series opens March 24, 2007 with the Homestead-Miami 300.

Related:
10% Ethanol Blend Hits Indy, Would Eric Carr Be Stoked? [Internal]