When you think of a motorsport team that could conceivably be carbon neutral, you probably first jump to something like a Formula E or Extreme E squad. When I say NASCAR, you probably think of big roaring pushrod V8s, pumping carbon and particulates into the air, not green initiatives. But, Roush Fenway Racing has been leading the series toward a more environmentally conscious future, and on Thursday announced that it has become the first carbon-neutral team in the sport.
The team has achieved a carbon neutrality certification according to the PAS 2060 standard, which has been verified by independent third party ERM CVS. The entire Roush organization, including its two NASCAR Cup Series racing teams, has achieved this status together.
“We’ve spent months tracking, quantifying, measuring our existing carbon footprint and ways to reduce our carbon footprint,” RFR President Steve Newmark said. “There’s no doubt that we have unavoidable carbon emissions in how we operate our business. When you race cars and travel around the country to do so, that will inevitably be part of our operations.
“We’re trying to show that even companies in an industry like ours can take steps to reduce overall emissions, and, our hope is that it will set an example for other teams and the racing industry.”
In order to make this goal a reality, the team set a goal of recycling 90 percent of every race car it builds, which includes all of the oil, rubber, aluminum, and carbon fiber. All of the facility’s lighting has been converted to LED, the HVAC systems have been optimized with computer control, and reflective roofing membranes have been installed to reflect as much solar heat as possible. The facility has even been equipped to capture and contain its rainwater runoff for irrigation, and all vehicle idling has been banned on the campus.
Roush, a company known for building hot rod gas guzzlers, race cars, and hopped-up pickups has been converting its fleet of company cars to electric and hybrid Ford vehicles. Hell, even racer Ryan Newman has committed to the plan, driving a Mustang Mach-E electric SUV every day that isn’t race day.
“We as a society have to take notice to make an impact,” Newman said. “I’ve never been one to pride myself in driving around an electric vehicle, but the reality is that makes a big impact. I’m a V8 (engine) guy with the rumble, and a hot rod sounds good, looks good, and take the kids for ice cream in it — that’s me, right?
“The reality is that comes with a cost to our environment, and I’m aware of that more so than ever. There are things that we can all be doing better.”
Newman claims that he spends his free time once a week picking up trash on the side of the road. Allegedly as much as three five-gallon buckets of refuse thrown from moving cars along his North Carolina farm property.
“It’s sad that people can be that nasty,” Newman said. “Their mindset has nothing to do with greenhouse gasses, or carbon footprints and offsets. They are more worried about not having trash on the floor of their car. They don’t care about what they are driving, they don’t care if it has a catalytic converters, they don’t care if the oil has been changed or what happened to the oil after.
“It’s a challenge, and the whole message here is that you don’t have to do that. You can be efficient. You just have to be smarter.”
It is sad that people can be that nasty, Ryan. It is sad.
Newman will drive the #6 Ford, as usual, this weekend when NASCAR races at the road course at Daytona International Raceway. While his car is usually black and green, the team have given it a special one-off livery depicting the car in a sharp white with muted logos from all of the partners which helped Roush make this green dream a reality. Green NASCAR is a relatively new thing, but it’s a really big deal, don’t you think?
Quick question, if I can, for Ryan. Hi, Mr. Newman, Bradley Brownell from Jalopnik. Thank you for taking the time. I’d like to ask, if I may, um, who stole your neck?