Indy circuit to use E85 for races

2012-06-14T02:00:00Z Indy circuit to use E85 for racesBy Tim Hoskins, Iowa Farmer Today Iowa Farmer Today
June 14, 2012 2:00 am  • 

With a new design, Indy Car also has changed the fuel mixture to E-85 for cars competing on the circuit.

The Iowa Corn 250 IZOD IndyCar Series will be June 23 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton.

Kevin Ross, president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, says IndyCar’s switch to E-85 is intended to show consumers the performance of a fuel they can purchase.

In the past, IndyCar switched from methanol to 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol in its cars.

Ross says the new car changes also mean there are more companies beyond Honda involved in the racing series.

This year, Chevy and Lotus are making engines for the racing series. Lotus is a British manufacturer of sports and racing cars.

Hopefully, Ross says that might translate into more flexible-fuel vehicles for consumers to drive and use higher ethanol blends.

“I would like to see more of them (flex-fuel cars) on the road,”  he said.

The addition of a couple engine manufacturers getting involved in the series also helps increase some of the excitement for the IndyCar Series, he notes.

Ross says there is one big change IndyCar will try during the qualifying for the Iowa Corn 250 race. Some heat races will be used to determine qualifying.

In the past, IndyCar used timed trials for each driver to determine the qualifying race order.

The change to heat qualifications should appeal to  race fans throughout the state because it is similar to qualifications held at many local race tracks, Ross says.

The Iowa Speedway has seen some changes because the Clement family bought out the interest from Manatt’s Inc. of Brooklyn, Iowa.

Even though there have been changes, track officials have worked with Iowa Corn very well, Ross says. He does not expect that to change.

Iowa Corn is in its sixth year of sponsoring the IndyCar race. The group signed a one-year agreement in 2011 to sponsor this year’s race.

Ross says the Iowa Corn directors will decide about future sponsorship after the race.

He says the race sponsorship is a good opportunity to promote ethanol to drivers.

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