Keeping Pace

NASCAR Tree-Planting Program To Capture Carbon Emissions

(Left to right) Rex Boner of The Conservation Fund, Mike Lynch, Managing Director of Green Innovation for NASCAR, Ryan Newman, Sprint Cup Series Driver, Roger Curtis, President of Michigan International Speedway and Kevin Sayers, Michigan State Coordinator of Urban and Community Forestry Program Kevin Sayers plant a tree for NASCAR's Tree-Planting Program To Capture Carbon Emissions prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Friday in Brooklyn, Mich. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) (Rusty Jarrett / The Spokesman-Review)
(Left to right) Rex Boner of The Conservation Fund, Mike Lynch, Managing Director of Green Innovation for NASCAR, Ryan Newman, Sprint Cup Series Driver, Roger Curtis, President of Michigan International Speedway and Kevin Sayers, Michigan State Coordinator of Urban and Community Forestry Program Kevin Sayers plant a tree for NASCAR's Tree-Planting Program To Capture Carbon Emissions prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Friday in Brooklyn, Mich. (Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) (Rusty Jarrett / The Spokesman-Review)

Trees Planted For Each Green Flag At NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Races Will Store Emissions Goal Is To Plant 20 “Green” Acres Per Year.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 12, 2009) – The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) today announced “NASCAR Green Clean Air” – a program to help capture the carbon emissions produced by racing. Under a pilot program that will expand significantly next year, NASCAR will plant ten new trees for each green flag that drops during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events.

The tracks participating in the tree-planting program – eleven this year and every venue visited by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2010 – will mitigate 100% of the carbon emissions produced by the race cars competing in their Sprint Cup Series events.

“This is a first, important step in an ambitious five-year plan to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of NASCAR, while raising awareness of conservation among fans,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “Our goal is to be an environmental leader not only in sports but in all industry.”

Over time, rolled out across all three national series, NASCAR and its partners will be planting approximately 20 acres of new trees each year. Michigan International Speedway, which is at the forefront of green initiatives, is matching the carbon-capturing planting effort at its track. A tree stores approximately one ton of CO2 over its lifetime, which means that the entire CO2 emissions from a typical race will be offset during this time.

“Tree planting is one of the simplest, most tangible and lasting things we can do in our lives.,” said Kevin Sayers, State Coordinator of Urban and Community Forestry Program, Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “The benefits are immediate and last for generations, improving the environment, the communities we live in and our quality of life. This partnership in tree planting between NASCAR and Michigan International Speedway is a commendable example of corporate awareness and stewardship of our natural resources.”

“NASCAR Green Clean Air is one example of the comprehensive and measurable programs the sport is developing,” said Dr. Mike Lynch, Managing Director of Green Innovation for NASCAR. “Like any major organization, NASCAR is focused on reducing waste, saving power and lowering emissions. We will continue to announce initiatives in each area throughout this and the coming seasons. A great example is the event recycling program we have been piloting this year with Coca-Cola Recycling at several venues that has already resulted in diversion of more than 20 tons of waste from landfills.”

“NASCAR Green Clean Air” was announced today at a ceremonial tree planting at Michigan International Speedway, located in the lush Irish Hills area. MIS has more than 1,400 acres of property, some of it protected wetlands.  

“I think everyone knows that I am a big advocate for conservation and preservation of our environment,” said NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Newman, who participated in the tree planting. “In fact, that’s one area of focus for the Ryan Newman Foundation through the Racing for Wildlife program. I want to encourage kids and future generations to get out and enjoy the outdoors like I did when I was a kid, whether it be through fishing, hiking or just sitting outdoors. For me, fishing gives me a chance to get away from everything and just relax and enjoy the peacefulness and the scenery. I’m proud to be part of NASCAR’s new green initiative to help the environment.”

“Our commitment to conservation and the environment is part of our business strategy and deeply ingrained in our culture here at MIS,” said Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis. “From broad-based recycling to pursuing renewable energy, our efforts are focused on providing a healthy environment for our guests and employees, preserving the beautiful region where we live and work, and enhancing our business.  We’re glad to partner with NASCAR on this initiative to educate race fans on the importance of environmental responsibility.”

The tree-planting program is just one part of the NASCAR industry’s growing green initiative. There are strong waste management, land conservation and bottle-and-can recycling programs at NASCAR-sanctioned race tracks; all oils and car fluids used at the track are recycled by Safety-Kleen; Goodyear recycles all tires used in racing; Exide provides a recycling program for racing batteries and all NASCAR offices have introduced a recycling program aimed at 100% recycling, while two new NASCAR office buildings, the 20-story NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte led by NASCAR and the new headquarters building for ISC and NASCAR in Daytona Beach, will qualify for LEED certification, an important and relatively rare distinction making them “green buildings.”

Additionally, tracks are planning several significant renewable energy efforts that will be announced soon.

NASCAR and its drivers have strong credibility with fans when it comes to their own cars. The sport is promoting fuel-saving and car-care messages, including a partnership with the EPA to showcase fuel-efficient vehicles from Chevy, Ford, Dodge and Toyota at NASCAR-sanctioned race tracks. Additionally, since 2004, NASCAR has committed more than $50 million in advertising and promoting “Be Car Care Aware,” which encourages motorists to take care of their vehicles, reduce emissions and improve gas mileage. NASCAR’s fan base consists of tens of millions of car-enthusiasts and these communications initiatives are having a meaningful impact.

About Michigan International Speedway’s Green Efforts
MIS is committed to the implementation of environmental management practices which will provide a healthy and sustainable environment and enhance the lives of its guests and employees. MIS is the first sports facility in Michigan to join the Michigan Business Pollution Prevention Partnership (MBP3). It is a member of the federal program, EPA WasteWise, with recycling programs totaling over 2 million tons in 2008. MIS is also pioneering utility reduction programs, wetland remediation and restoration programs, and alternative energy programs.
Here are some examples:

Alternative Power — MIS is researching alternative power sources such as solar and wind to operate its facility.
 
Broad-based Recycling — through a partnership with Coca-Cola, MIS in 2008 collected 50 tons of plastic, cardboard and aluminum. The track has also recycled 2 million tons of construction material.
 
Government Partnerships — MIS is the first professional sports venue in the state to join the MBP3 and Retired Engineers Technical Assistance Program (RETAP). These self-administered, private programs (with overview from the state) are designed to reduce pollution, lower energy usage and reduce costs.
 
Wetlands conservation — MIS maintains approximately 200 acres of protected wetlands in and around the facility. The speedway is researching mitigation, restoration, educational and enhancement programs with the State of Michigan and working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife to secure grant monies. Mitigation efforts could yield revenues of $5 million to $10 million over 20 years.
 
“Green Escape – National Park”
— MIS is pursuing open-space programs to make the property available to the community as walking/biking trails and athletic fields.




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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.




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