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NASCAR Black Flagged Going Green

DAYTONA BEACH -- Not everyone is embracing NASCAR's move to E15 Ethanol blend fuel using American-made ethanol from corn grown by American farmers for the 2011 season.

"NASCAR is committed to being an environmental leader, and the sport has taken significant steps over the years toward conservation by introducing measurable, best-in-class initiatives in recycling, alternative energy, and carbon mitigation," said Brian France, chairman and CEO of NASCAR, who claims the move will reduce the carbon footprint of their races. "We're not exactly certain, how, but there is a benefit."

Ironically, stock car racing in the United States has its origins in bootlegging during Prohibition, when drivers ran bootleg whiskey made primarily in the Appalachian region of the United States. Bootleggers needed to distribute their illicit products, and they typically used small, fast vehicles to better evade the police. Many of the drivers would modify their cars for speed and handling, as well as increased cargo capacity, and some of them came to love the fast-paced driving down twisted mountain roads.

Despite that storied heritage, some fans have yet to embrace the move away from gasoline.

"This ain't a sport for tree hugging weenies," said local fan Porky Chumwater. "And look at what they're doing to our food supply ."

The cost of concession stand corn dogs has risen 467% at tracks across the country this season creating unprecedented unrest among even the most ardent NASCAR fans.

The popular motor sport is also taking heat from alcohol abuse prevention groups like Alcholics Anonymous, AL-ANON, Alateen and the Christian League for Alcohol Prohibition.

"Ethanol fuel is really ethyl alcohol which is the same type of alcohol found in whiskey, gin and demon rum," said Michelle O'Camlin, Executive Director of CLAP. "What message is this sport sending to the children of this country?"

While the switch to ethanol might be the most important step in achieving an ancillary benefit — attracting new sponsors in the green economy to cash-strapped teams hurting for funding since the onset of the recession, NASCAR has to be careful not alienate what is traditionally a staunchly conservative fan base.

Danica Patrick drives the #7 Go-Daddy Chevrolet in NASCAR's Nationwide series.



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