Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Painting NASCAR Green

Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR
The Sprint girls go green

NASCAR went Green for Earth Day.

Or at least it tried to.  With little else to work with, NASCAR resorted to the same tactics the auto industry often uses when there’s not much to talk about: paint and tape.  It’s a time-honored tradition.  When a car has nothing really new to offer when the new model-year rolls around, introduce an all-new color and stripping.

NASCAR painted the back straight wall green and put a green logo in the grass at the start/finish line at Kansas Speedway.  The Camry Hybrid pace car also carried the logo and special green stripping.  Miss Sprint Cup wore a green fireproof jump suit.  Jimmy Johnson painted his car an old GM hot rod green. Winner Denny Hamlin used green where purple normally is on his car and a number of other cars featured special green highlights.  Sprint highlighted a recycling program for electronics.  Even the television coverage got into the act, putting a nifty green border on its scoreboards.   Mike Joy wore a bad green tie.  (Somebody needs to explain to me why DW and Larry Mac are in purple every week.  But that's a different story.)

NASCAR also put out a White Paper on its environmental efforts.  The use of E15 ethanol remains the main fallback for the series, which noted it has now run more than two million miles on the fuel since it was introduced at the start of last year.  No mention of the fact all four NASCAR manufacturers are currently fighting the Federal government on the expansion of ethanol or the many other criticisms of the fuel.  

The other highlight of the NASCAR report?  The introduction this year of Electronic Fuel Injection.  NASCAR says EFI provides more efficient use of gasoline.  Yup, that’s true and one of the reasons EFI has been used on Indy cars since the ‘50s and most passenger cars and trucks since the ‘90s.  Not exactly ground breaking.

That's about it.  In the end, NASCAR discovered what Kermit has known all along.  It’s not easy being green. 

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