NASCAR’s Austin Dillon Revs a Greener Engine
Advocacy The 2014 Daytona 500 pole-sitter advocates for the widespread use of higher ethanol blends, a homegrown fuel.
Mediaplanet: Why do you think it is important for NASCAR to have programs in place like NASCAR Green?
Austin Dillon: It’s important to show the world and our fan base how much NASCAR cares about its impact on the environment. We have recycling programs with major partners like Coca-Cola and Goodyear. We’re recycling race used tires, race used oil, collecting cell phone at the track to be recycled, as well as recycling bottles and cans. All of this helps our fans see that NASCAR is reducing its carbon footprint on the environment.
MP: Why are you committed to advocating for higher ethanol blends?
AD: It helps the environment. Richard Childress Racing is involved in efforts to make our sport more environmentally friendly. We recycle motor fluids, reduce carbon emissions from our racing fuel and use alternative power sources under the NASCAR Green umbrella. I'm a conservationist who wants to see the world with clean air and water. One of the efforts that I'm most proud of is the introduction of American Ethanol to racing as a means of cutting our emissions with a clean, renewable alternative fuel.
“I'm a conservationist who wants to see the world with clean air and water.”
In NASCAR we’ve been using Sunoco Green E15, a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline since 2011. If American Ethanol can withstand the rigors of NASCAR, it can withstand everyday driving. Homegrown biofuels like American Ethanol have stepped up to help our nation’s economy, and are proving to be a better fuel. I am proud to wear the American Ethanol colors in NASCAR.
MP: As one of the most well-known NASCAR drivers currently on the circuit, is it important for you to have a positive impact on climate change?
AD: Yes, it sure is. We are role models for our fans, and I feel if I can help impact the environment in a big way it’ll show our fan base they can, too. NASCAR fans are passionate about perceptions of climate change — support for and participating in environmentally friendly activities.
MP: How do you see yourself positively effecting climate change?
AD: I have to continue to be aware of the environment and be more eco-friendly. NASCAR fans support businesses that are environmentally friendly, and as a NASCAR driver I know our fans look up to drivers like myself to positively impact things like the environment. Our fans uniquely feel they have a personal responsibility to address climate change by changing what they do and what they buy. Also, my favorite pastime outside of racing is being outside and conserving the environment.
MP: Why is using an ethanol blend beneficial for performance?
AD: NASCAR has accumulated over 6 million miles of driving — in practice, qualifying and racing laps — on Sunoco Green E15, without an issue. We've also seen enhanced performance. Many of the teams have reported an increase in horsepower. In my mind, this proves that E15 is a viable alternative to regular gasoline. By pumping E15, we are reducing not only carbon emissions, but we are also reducing lots of other toxins that would otherwise be pumped out of the exhaust.
MP: Do you use an ethanol blend in your own car?
AD: Yes, I use it all the time and have never had any issues with it.
MP: Do you find NASCAR fans to be open and excited about the use of an ethanol blend?
AD: Yes. I’ve had fans come up to me at races and at numerous sponsor events around ethanol that tell me how great it is that NASCAR is using a cleaner fuel blend like ethanol in our race cars.
MP: What can we expect to see from you in the upcoming season?
AD: I’ll continue to be environmentally friendly in my everyday living and continue to push for wide acceptance of American Ethanol. Of course, I also hope to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.