NASCAR, American Ethanol Form Partnership

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LAS VEGAS — NASCAR Chairman Brian France announced a long-term partnership with American Ethanol led by ethanol advocacy group Growth Energy during the annual Myers Brothers Luncheon Thursday at the Bellagio.

Growth Energy, a coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters including farmers and members of the ethanol supply chain, becomes an official partner of NASCAR, using the sport to bring its message of American ethanol to millions of race fans. American Ethanol will support drivers, teams and tracks with marketing, promotional activities, advertising and a season-long weekly contingency award in 2011.

NASCAR made the American Ethanol partnership announcement just weeks after announcing a switch in its major national series to Sunoco Green E15, a new 15-percent ethanol blend fuel made with corn grown in the United States.

Financial terms of the six-year agreement were not disclosed.

“NASCAR and American Ethanol are ideal partners,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “NASCAR is a great American sport in its third generation of family ownership, and ethanol is produced from the harvest of family-owned farms across our country’s heartland.

“American Ethanol’s new partnership with NASCAR is much larger and more ambitious than a typical sports sponsorship. Here we have an entire industry looking to NASCAR to communicate its message that America is capable of producing its own renewable, greener fuel. The entire NASCAR industry will benefit from American Ethanol’s multi-faceted support of NASCAR, as well as from thousands of farmers and members of the ethanol supply chain now serving as new ambassadors for the sport.”

American Ethanol will participate in NASCAR’s Prize Money & Decal Program, also known as the contingency program, with the creation of the “American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award” in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, while also providing weekly prize money for eligible competitors in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series based on finishing position.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekly award will be given to the participating driver who records the fastest average speed on restarts and who finishes the race on the lead lap.