Ethanol Takes The Podium At NASCAR
American Ethanol, a Washington-based ethanol industry group whose member companies make the product that NASCAR racecars drink in a 15% blend called Sunoco Green E15, is activating against the official relationship with a brand campaign to get the word out about ethanol. Central to the campaign is the “American Ethanol Sweepstakes,” which runs through August to promote Sunoco Green E15 to NASCAR enthusiasts.
The promotion will give away over 500 prizes valued at $150,000, including three Chevy Silverados, race tickets, and autographed merchandise, per the company. At NASCAR.com and at selected races starting this month, the campaign includes activation on American Ethanol’s Facebook page, and a big presence at races and other events across the country. Also on tap is a 60-second American Ethanol ad, vignettes and traditional 30-second commercials to air during TNT Summer Series race coverage.
The brand awareness campaign features racer Austin Dillon, who drives for Richard Childress' team, and includes race entitlements, paint schemes, and a Turner media commitment on TNT. There are also race entitlement sponsorships at Iowa Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway.
Dillon, Childress' grandson and winner of last year's Camping World Truck Series and contender this year in the Nationwide Series, is in the 30-second national television commercial that highlights the benefits of U.S.-made ethanol. Fellow driver Kevin Harvick also makes an appearance in the spot, which is scheduled to debut during the broadcast of the Pocono 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on TNT and is designed to drive fans to American Ethanol’s Facebook page to enter for a chance to win one of three Chevy Silverado trucks and additional prizes.
Dillon will also drive the American Ethanol No. 3 Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series on June 17 at Michigan International Speedway. Childress driver Joey Coulter will carry the American Ethanol paint scheme on the No. 22 Chevrolet in the Camping World Truck Series at Iowa Speedway on July 14. And American Ethanol will serve as the event sponsor of the Camping World Truck Series races at the Iowa Speedway on July 14 and September 15. Chicagoland Speedway will host the American Ethanol 225 on July 21. The brand will also do activation at Kentucky Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, and at key farm industry events across the Midwest.
"We partnered with NASCAR for all of 2010 when they moved to E15," says Says Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy, one of the member ethanol producers. Really NASCAR is a third-party validation for us. The relationship fits like a glove: I like to tell people there is no sport more American than NASCAR and no fuel more American than ethanol."
Noting that IndyCar went to nearly 100% ethanol a few years ago, then backed off to E85 this year, Buis says the goal is the consumer. "What we want to show is a product that consumers can go out there and buy. With the reach NASCAR -- with one of four adults in America, over 80 million fans, it's a great opportunity to get the facts out ethanol."