One of organizations that’s synonymous with the state of Iowa is sponsoring the first Indy race at the new Iowa Speedway in Newton. Track designer Rusty Wallace made the announcement Tuesday at the Iowa State Fair.
Wallace says the Iowa Corn Association is the title sponsor of the Indy race on June 24th of 2007, and it will be called the “Iowa Corn 250.” The Indy Racing League has already announced it is switching to run all its cars on ethanol, and Wallace says it should be the start of a trend.
Wallace says with what’s going on today, to be able to grow the corn here in the U.S. and make the fuel, it’s a mystery why other racing leagues aren’t switching to ethanol. Wallace says he believes there has to be someone who is “first to market” with a new idea and I-R-L is the first to do it with ethanol. The I-R-L cars run on a 100-percent ethanol mix.
Wallace told reporters that he’s surprised the 10-percent and 85-percent ethanol and gas mixes are not used more for regular cars across the country and predicts the ethanol mixes will catch on. Wallace says the cars have to be capable to run on ethanol blends, but he says car manufacturers are building cars to do it. Wallace says it’s very easy for the racing leagues to adapt to run on ethanol, because they build their engines by hand.
Wallace says he’s become a believer in ethanol after seeing an Indy car run over 200 miles-an-hour on the fuel. Wallace says he’s been going through a lot of education on alternative fuels and says it’s a mystery why ethanol hasn’t caught on quicker. But Wallace predicts ethanol is going to “catch on in a big way.”
Kyle Phillips is chair of the Iowa Corn Promotions Board, and says the sponsorship will give the industry a big boost. Phillips says they sought out the opportunity to showcase ethanol and roll it out nationally and garner more support for ethanol. Phillips declined to give the exact amount of money that’s being invested in the sponsorship.
Phillips says, “It’s a sizeable investment, but it will pay larger returns.” Phillips did tell Radio Iowa the investment is not in the million-dollar range — but says the agreement does not allow them to tell the exact investment. The Iowa Corn 250 will be televised on A-B-C t-v.