Austin Dillon, 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, will drive the iconic No. 3 Chevrolet during the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season with American Ethanol serving as the primary sponsor for six races as well as one race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012. Dillon's No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet paint scheme was unveiled at the event.
"I'm proud to carry the American Ethanol colors in NASCAR," said Dillon. "Growth Energy is committed to clean air, and as an avid outdoorsman I truly appreciate their desire to protect our nation's air and water for future generations. I commend the work they do and I am looking forward to representing American Ethanol, Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association."
In addition to American Ethanol's partnership with Dillon, the organization will serve as an associate sponsor with the entire RCR family of drivers. Team owner Richard Childress as well as RCR's Sprint Cup Series veterans Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Paul Menard will also serve as spokesmen for the cause.
Kenny Wallace, who notched 11 top-ten finishes last year, will drive the No. 09 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for RAB Racing. American Ethanol will partner with Wallace for the Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500, as well as five races in the Nationwide Series.
"I'm honored to represent American Ethanol. I not only talk about American Ethanol, I truly believe in it. I've been to the farms, I've met the families, I've been to the plants, and I've been in the hallways of the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C., in support of it. I believe it is our job to cut down on dependency of foreign oil, and American Ethanol is a major part of that," Wallace said.
"American Ethanol is in this for the long haul. Through our partnerships with Austin Dillon and Kenny Wallace, we are telling NASCAR and its fans that American Ethanol is committed to the sport," said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, which led the effort to create American Ethanol. "These drivers are ideal ambassadors for the American Ethanol team and will help tell the story of how American-made ethanol creates jobs, cleans our air and fosters energy independence."
"American Ethanol is getting a lot of positive attention because it's a good fit for NASCAR's green initiative, and because of the increased horsepower on the track," said NCGA President Garry Niemeyer. "Our partnership with RCR and RAB Racing will assure continued success in letting the American public know that if ethanol can stand the stress these drivers put it through, it's good for the family car, too."
The American Ethanol partnership was established with the goal of increasing awareness of ethanol's renewable, clean-burning, high-octane abilities as a fuel. One initiative included the release last September of a white paper detailing NASCAR's use of E15 (15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline) in more than a million miles of racing, qualifying and practice laps – proving that E15 can withstand the test of America's toughest proving ground.
Ethanol is the most commercially-viable alternative that America currently has to offset the economic impact of foreign petroleum. Corn ethanol reduces emissions by 59 percent, and cellulosic ethanol is at least 86 percent cleaner. And by strengthening America's energy independence, ethanol helps create American jobs; studies have shown that for every $1 sent overseas for oil, $1.55 leaves the U.S. economy.
Growth Energy, a coalition of American ethanol supporters, filed the petition to the federal government, called the Green Jobs Waiver, to increase the allowable blend of ethanol in fuel from 10 percent to 15 percent, or E15. In 2010, NASCAR embraced the desire for greener, American-job-producing fuels when it announced its decision to move to Sunoco Green E15 for NASCAR's three national series.
Representing a wide array of ethanol supporters, from farmers to bio-engineering firms, American Ethanol was established by Growth Energy in partnership with the National Corn Growers Association and others. By establishing a marketing partnership with NASCAR starting with the 2011 racing season, the same year that NASCAR switched its fuel to Sunoco Green E15, American Ethanol aims to educate and inform the broader American public about the benefits of U.S.-made ethanol.