Winning the STP 300

It has been a great weekend of NASCAR action for Illinois corn growers at Chicagoland Speedway. Capping it off was today’s 2nd Annual Nationwide STP 300.

Ethanol had another victory on the NASCAR track today when Elliott Sadler won the race. The race came out of caution with two laps to go so it made for an exciting finish. Placing 4th today was master agvocate Kenny Wallace, spokesperson for the Illinois Corn Growers Family Farmers.

After the race I asked Elliott what he thinks about racing on a fuel that’s made in part by Illinois corn growers. He says the initiative that NASCAR has taken to go green in the last couple years is a great one. Since the track is surrounded by corn and soybeans he says, “It’s neat to see something in the field growing. I’m a farmer at home too.”

Then Richard Childress, RCR Racing, chimed in. “In NASCAR we’ve put in almost 4 million miles or maybe a little over by now on E15, American Ethanol blend of fuel. That says a lot for what E15 can do for your car.”

Listen to Elliott and Richard’s remarks here:

Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

Family Farmers in STP 300

This is the car we’d love to see win the NASCAR Nationwide Series STP 300. The race is on and I’ll post the result later today.

We got a few raindrops right before the green flag and then that was that and the race was underway. Earlier today Kenny Wallace told the Illinois Corn Growers Family Farmers High Performance Team, “I’ll take a rainout for you.” He’s that kind of guy.

Besides final results I’ll post later I’ve got a number of other interviews to share this week. Please enjoy the photos and feel free to share with your friends and via social media.

Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

5th Generation of Corn Farmers Next Door to Chicagoland Speedway

Kenny Wallace calls Glenn Fritz “the ultimate farmer.” This morning the Illinois Corn Growers hosted an off the track pre-race meal that included an appearance by Kenny. We were located at Greenfields Campground owned by farmer Glenn Fritz.

I kind of let Kenny take the microphone to chat with Glenn. Glenn has a grandson on the farm that is now the 5th generation of the family on the land. He’s got an interesting story to tell and I think you’ll enjoy listening to it.

Listen to Kenny and Glenn here:

Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

American Ethanol 225 Winner

The winner of the American Ethanol 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is James Buescher. He’s pictured here in Victory Lane at Chicagoland Speedway. Presenting the trophy is Chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board Bill Christ and Tricia Braid, Communications Director.

During the post race press conference I asked James what he thought of racing on a blend of home grown fuel made by corn farmers. He says “It’s really cool to be able to be part of NASCAR going green. It’s only positive. We’re helping the environment.” By the way, he had to have his carburetor replaced during the race!

Listen to James comment on ethanol here:

Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

Green Flag For American Ethanol 225

Illinois corn farmer Donna Jeschke got to wave the green flag for the American Ethanol 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race tonight. Donna is ending her term on the board of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board. She found the experience to be exciting and just a little scary. She says this type of promotion puts what she does as a farmer out in front of the public to help them better understand where their food comes from.

Listen to my interview with Donna here:

Listen to the race invocation and national anthem here:

Listen to Mark Marquis, Marquis Energy, make the “Drivers, start your engines” call here:

Please share and use photos from the Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

Kenny Wallace and Family Farmers

Illinois Corn Growers got to hang out with “The Agvocate” Kenny Wallace at Chicagoland Speedway today. It’s NASCAR racing weekend and Kenny will be driving in the Nationwide STP 300 race.

Kenny attracted a big crowd to the exhibit area outside the grandstands this afternoon. He talked to them and signed autographs for an hour. I heard one fan say after he got an autograph that he had just had a conversation with Kenny Wallace and his day was complete. See why fans love him in the video below.

Kenny loves farmers and he loves ethanol and lets everyone know about it. He says there may be some people who disagree about using ethanol but they need to talk to him because he knows everything there is to know about the subject. I hope a lot of people talk to him!

Listen to my interview with Kenny Wallace here:

Watch Kenny in action in this video:

You can find photos from the weekend activities here: Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

NASCAR SPEEDS ETHANOL TO A RESPONSIVE FAN BASE

The question has been posed to the IL Corn office and farmer leaders on more than one occasion…”Why is it a good idea to get involved in a NASCAR sponsorship?”

Fair question.  The answer may seem obvious if you’re one of NASCAR’s more than 80 million fans in this country. Or maybe you’re a fan, but you’re not really sure of the answer, either.

It’s a pretty simple answer. NASCAR delivers an audience unlike any other.

NASCAR fans are more likely than any other sports fans to support sponsor messages.

NASCAR fans are more likely to purchase the products that are responsible for their sport’s sponsorship.

NASCAR fans are more likely to influence their friends to do the same thing.

The bottom line to this story is the Start/Finish line at a NASCAR race. It’s all about the fans.

Take a look at this chart. Not only do NASCAR fans deliver on their promise to support race sponsors, but the sport itself generates media coverage that can’t be bought.

In the case of ethanol, NASCAR was responsible for a huge portion of the news coverage that included ethanol, much more than what the ethanol industry or corn farmer organizations could have generated themselves.

2011 brought E15 to NASCAR race cars and trucks. 2012 will bring it to a gas pump near you. And for the NASCAR fan, they’ll be chomping at the bit to fuel up with the same high-performance fuel that their favorite driver uses.

Tricia Braid
ICGA/ICMB Communications Director

Educating Consumers About America’s Farmers

The “Professor” for the America’s Farmers Mobile Experience is Allan Ciha, pictured here with some NASCAR race fans who came out for the inaugural Nationwide Series STP 300 race. The Monsanto traveling education center was on display in Champions Park at Chicagoland Speedway.

Allan says they talk about the expansion of the world population, farming today and biotechnology that will allow farmers to feed that growing population. He says that people are surprised at the technology being used in farming today. He says that the educational effort has been very well received by both consumers and farmers themselves.

STP 300 Nationwide Series NASCAR Weekend Photos

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

NASCAR Director Loves Ethanol

The director of the NASCAR Nationwide Series is Joe Balash, pictured here before the STP 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway. He’s proudly displaying the American Ethanol name around the gas coupler on this car. All the NASCAR cars display that name!

I talked with Joe before the race. He talks about how STP has “come back” to NASCAR as a major race sponsor. Then we moved to ethanol. He says that using a blend of ethanol is “part of the things we’re trying to do to become less dependent on foreign fuels.” Joe believes it’s great to partner with American Ethanol and be able to use ethanol mixed with their Sunoco racing fuel to provide a very high quality, high power fuel for the race cars. He says the fuel is performing very well for the NASCAR teams which is a comment I heard repeatedly over the race weekend.

STP 300 Nationwide Series NASCAR Weekend Photos

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired