Paul Menard is back in victory lane for the first time since he won the Brickyard 400 in 2011. However, this win is in NASCAR’s second-tier division, the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Menard has won his second career Nationwide Series event in 183 starts as he came out victorious at the Michigan International Speedway on Saturday afternoon for the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 200. With five laps to go, Joey Logano had to pit after leading 43 laps during the race. Logano’s right rear tire gave out as he had a 1.3 second gap over Menard, handing over the No. 33 team their first victory of the year.

“This is a brand new car. It’s good to be back in victory lane. This feels really good,” Menard said. “I was trying to run him down and we were going to catch him a little bit, but we weren’t going to pass him.”

The Wisconsin native lone Nationwide Series win prior to Saturday’s event came in 2006 at Milwaukee while he was driving for Dale Earnhardt Incorporated. In eight prior Nationwide Series starts at Michigan, Menard earned seven top-10s, and nearly went to victory lane in 2012 after leading 37 laps. The victory also marks the first win for Richard Childress Racing in any of the top-three NASCAR divisions since Kevin Harvick won at Phoenix towards the conclusion of the 2013 season.

Sam Hornish Jr., who was racing the No. 20 car for the first time this season, gave Menard a run for his money, but came up less than a half of a second short for the win. Hornish spun out of the second lap after getting loose in Turn 2 – forcing him to race his way from outside of the top-30 to the front of the field. He has finished no worse than fifth in his three Nationwide Series starts this season.

On Lap 79, Dylan Kwasniewski got loose while trying to get around Trevor Bayne for the 11th position. Kwasniewski slid right into Bayne’s No. 6 Ford, sending both cars hard into the outside wall in Turn 2.

"I have to start driving smarter. This is all my fault," Kwasniewski said on the wreck.

Elliott Sadler was running in the second position with 25 laps to go when there was a piece of debris on the grille of his No. 11 car. Sadler attempted to get the debris off his car by letting Earnhardt Jr. go by him, but he was unable to do so – forcing him to pit.

Regan Smith continues to hold the drivers points lead as he is 14 markers ahead of Sadler. Chase Elliott, who finished sixth, is six points behind Sadler in the third position. Elliott was battling Kyle Larson for the lead for the majority of the race, but the two opted to stay out during a caution flag while the majority of the lead lap cars pitted. Then, a caution came out several laps later, forcing them to take four tires while their competitors took either two tires or fuel-only. Larson ended up finishing eighth after leading a race-high 46 laps.

Here are some notables from the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 200 at Michigan:

-Ryan Reed recorded the second best finish of his career and the best result of his season as he finished 11th in the No. 16 Ford.

-Ty Dillon led nine laps early in the race, but ended up finishing ninth as he is 35 points behind Smith in the standings.

-Ross Chastain recorded his best career Nationwide Series finish in his second start as he finished in the 12th position for Hattori Racing Enterprises.

-Landon Cassill raced his way to his seventh top-15 of the season for JD Motorsports as he finished 14th.

-There were six different leaders for a total of 14 lead changes.

Every man of every crew lined up for one driver taming a race that broke his heart countless times. Does this sound familiar? Well, if not – here is the story of the 1998 Daytona 500.

For 20 years, Dale Earnhardt Sr. was chasing the trophy for NASCAR’s most coveted event – the Daytona 500. When he started out his career, the Daytona 500 was the second race of the season, following the annual season-opener at Riverside. However, since 1959, NASCAR’s largest, most anticipated event has been the Daytona 500. It might have taken a long time, but Earnhardt finally captured the checkered flag in 1998.

But what was so special about the 1998 Daytona 500 that led to Earnhardt’s victory? Well, after having plenty of bad luck in past Daytona 500’s such as 1997 edition of the spectacle, but flipped over multiple times with a handful of laps to go. Thanks to the help of his crew chief, Larry McReynolds, Earnhardt finally captured the checkered flag ahead of the pack in 1998, and it is a memory which has become one of the most spoken about races in NASCAR history.

“ Going back to my first race with Dale which was the 1997 500 and I knew how bad he wanted to win this race and we had a very up and down day. We had a terrible day on pit road as far as pit stops. The pit crew looked like the bad news bears – it was just awful. But lo, and behold, with about 20-25 to go, I looked up and there were no more stops to make, so soon we were leading the race because that man knew how to get to the front. With about 18 to go, I looked at Richard Childress because I was starting to think ‘son of a gun – the very first race we’re together, we’re going to win the Daytona 500.’ I looked at Richard and said ‘what do you think?’ He went ‘been here way too many times. Been so close so many times, I promise you something will go wrong before it’s over,” McReynolds said in an exclusive interview with Speedway Digest.

“With nine to go, I knew what he was talking about. We were upside down, flipping down the back straightaway. To go the whole 1997 season and go winless with Dale Earnhardt was devastating. They had to hide all sharp objects from me. I thought I was going to have to hire a body guard. Fans were condemning me saying that Ford had sent me over there to sabotage Chevrolet and sabotage Dale Earnhardt’s career. I went ‘oh my gosh this is awful.”

During that 1997 season, Earnhardt went winless for just the second time in his full-time career in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series spanning 1979 until 2000 before his untimely death in 2001.

Moving forward to 1998 – something was different about the environment at Richard Childress Racing. McReynolds had begun to prepare Earnhardt’s Daytona 500 car in the middle of the summer in 1997. Even while they struggled to find victory lane, McReynolds understood how badly Earnhardt wanted to win the Daytona 500 after capturing seven championships throughout the course of his career. After winning the Daytona 500 with Davey Allison in 1992, McReynolds knew the key to success for NASCAR’s largest event, and that key came into play in 1998.

“There was just something different about that whole off-season. The effort we put into that car. That car was built during the summer months of 1997 – of course, there was no limit on testing back then. I’d say that car had probably been in the wind tunnel four to six times. We probably tested it before the 1997 calendar year ended at least three or four times at Talladega. Dave Marcis was doing the testing, and he knew what Dale wanted to feel in a racecar. From the first laps he turned in that car, he went ‘he’s going to like this racecar,” he said.

“It was one of those cars that where – when he would turn it into the corner, the RPM would almost go up. It was almost better in yaw than in a straight line. Speedweeks – it was almost a perfect Speedweeks. It was one of those Speedweeks where the car was so fast and so good that you almost wondered if we’re going to screw this up. We’re going to be the ones to beat ourselves. You almost wondered when something was going to go bad. We were fast in ever practice. He loved the way it drove. We won the Budweiser Duel qualifying races.”

But guess what? You know how there was always something that happened to put an abrupt end to Earnhardt’s chance at winning the Daytona 500? Well, that almost happened in 1998.

After winning the Budweiser Duel (back then it was called the Gatorade 125), Earnhardt’s crew noticed that he was sick. It turned out that he had a horrific flu. However, McReynolds had a plan.

“We won the Duel race and Dale was sick as a dog – flu. Terrible. He couldn’t even hold water down. I could just look at him in victory after what was then a 125-mile race, and this guy was sick. We had to get him healthy before Sunday. He has to run four times this distance. So we were standing there in victory lane and after all of the hoopla winded down, I said ‘you aren’t feeling very good are you?’ He said ‘Larry, I feel the worse I have felt in a long time.’ I said ‘okay, let’s do this – we have three practices left, two tomorrow and Happy Hour after the Busch Series race on Saturday.”

The plan was for Earnhardt to skip the morning practice, get some medicine in the infield care center, and it would allow the team to take their time putting the race engine in the car while he got better. Guess what? Like he did so many times throughout his life – Earnhardt surprised the life out of his team.

“It was a great plan until he comes into the racetrack feeling much better. With five minutes before that second practice on Friday, it started to pour down rain. That practice got rained out. We were okay. We still got another full hour to go. I wish we had a few laps on this engine, but we got an hour to go,” said McReynolds who won 23 races with six different drivers in 16 years.

However, with Earnhardt’s luck – after miraculously getting better, his engine started to go. The team attempted to fix it, and they probably could have raced with it, but it just wasn’t worth the risk in McReynolds’ mind.

“When we started Happy Hour on Saturday, he didn’t even get to pit road well. Something’s wrong with the engine. He goes back around, comes back in, pulls it into the garage area, the guys lift up the hood and make sure there’s no spark plug wire off. They changed the spark plugs, they looked at this and they looked at that. Send him back out there – he got about half way down the back straightaway and he said ‘damn it guys I’m telling you, something is not right with this engine.’ So he comes back in, we pull up the hood again. They start looking, looking and looking. They pulled the valve covers off and sure enough – we got a broke rocker arm.”

McReynolds began to question everything about the engine, and evidently made the decision to change the power house on the No. 3 Chevrolet.

“They decided to change that rocker arm. It was actually a bad pushrod that broke the rocker arm. They decided to change the pushrod, change the rocker arm and I’m looking now – and Happy Hour was half gone. We still had not made a lap with this car and this race engine. Lo, and behold, it ran fine. We ran that 30 minutes of practice and the car was just as good, in fact it was probably the best it had been. It was almost as if the slicker the track got, the better the car was. We felt good about the car, but we had to make a decision about this engine. I’m a big why person? Why did that rocker arm break and why the same for that pushrod? If we don’t change this engine – I know we don’t want to start the 500 with an untested engine, but that’s why we have backup engines. Why did that rocker arm break? Why did that pushrod break?”

Once the green flag waved, Earnhardt set sail for the front of the pack. The GM Goodwrench Service Plus Chevrolet led 107 of the 200 laps during the 1998 Daytona 500. Even with a dominant car, the finish came down to a final pit stop. McReynolds and Earnhardt opted to take two tires, and came out first off of pit road which ended up being the race winning move.

“We led that thing all day long. Pit crew was spot on. It was a perfect day. The last pit stop – I had to make the call of two or four tires, and I elected to go with two as a lot of competitors did. We won the battle off pit road. Then, to see that caution flag waving knowing we hadn’t gotten to the white yet,” he said. “Of course that was back in the days where we were racing back to the caution and you still had to run that last lap. We took the white flag, but the spotter was reminding him ‘Dale, make sure you run this last lap.’ Well, hell he ran that last lap about as fast as he had any other lap. He wanted to make sure that nothing got in his way.”

Earnhardt concluded his Daytona career with 28 wins in the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series, in the Busch Clash (Sprint Unlimited) and in the qualifying races – including 10 straight wins in the Duels from 1990 until 1999.

“The neatest thing – knowing how bad he wanted to win that race, in victory lane after things had kind of settled down a little bit, I kind of took a step back and captured the moment in my mind. To watch Dale and Teresa Earnhardt, quite honestly, Richard and Judy Childress – how many years had they been trying? Richard for a number of years as a driver, but to watch how much they were enjoying it. It was like a dad watching his kids open up their presents on Christmas morning. That is a snapshot in time that I will never, ever forget. When he climbed out of that car and beat that roof and said ‘we done it, we done it, we won the Daytona 500,’ that is just a moment I am proud to be a part of.”

 

After an incredible start to the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Talladega Superspeedway is set to hold a race that might determine a stunning member to the Chase for the Sprint Cup class. With NASCAR's new playoff format, David Ragan would have been in the Chase last season. 

Now, there are approximately 30-35 teams that can win the Aaron's 499 on Sunday afternoon. However, it is going to take the perfect combination of strategy and staying out of tomorrow, as seen in Saturday's Nationwide Series race, to win the second restrictor plate race of the year. 

Here is what you need to watch for during this year's running of the Aaron's 499:

  • Terry Labonte is making his 60th start at Talladega. Labonte announced this is his final year in NASCAR's top-tier division, and he will likely hang out at the rear of the field until the end of the race, making a charge late in the going.
  • Michael Waltrip is returning in the No. 66 Toyota. Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 champion, nearly won at Talladega in this race last year, and should be a contender on Sunday.
  • Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are still looking for their first wins of the year. The two Hendrick Motorsports teammates usually have contradicting strategies during the plate races. Gordon likes to run up front, but sometimes hangs at the back, but Johnson usually runs towards the back.
  • Brian Scott won his first career pole on Saturday afternoon. Scott is making just his fifth career start in the Sprint Cup Series. He led multiple laps in Saturday's Nationwide Series spectacle, but was wrecked by Trevor Bayne - ending his day.
  • There were nine Chevrolet's inside the top-10 in qualifying. They have been extremely strong all weekend, but can they keep it up during the race?
  • Besides Scott winning the pole, there are several underdogs that are starting inside of the top-20 including - A.J. Allmendinger and Casey Mears in row two, Michael McDowell in 14th and Michael Annett in 17th. 
  • David Ragan won this race last year for Front Row Motorsports. He will be starting 39th for the Aaron's 499 with his teammate, David Gilliland with him in 40th. Though the two are back in the pack, they are both proven restrictor plate racers, and they will be a factor during the first Talladega race of the season.
  • Kasey Kahne and Martin Truex Jr. were penalized after qualifying and will have to start at the back of the pack. 
  • Will the higher grove be stronger than it was during the Nationwide Series race? The lower line was the strongest throughout the Aaron's 312.
  • How will tire strategy come into play? Tires will not wear too much, so most times will opt to take two tires instead of four on most pit stops.
  • Will we see a veteran go to victory lane or a young driver?
  • Denny Hamlin was extremely strong throughout Speedweeks in Daytona. Could Hamlin win on Sunday? 

NASCAR Green has been capturing the attention of race fans for the past five years in hopes of making one of the top spectator sports in the world more sustainable. Well, it has done just that. 75 percent of NASCAR fans are aware of NASCAR Green and its initiatives to make not only the sport, but the world a better place. 

Most fans have noticed a different look on the racecars for the past several race weekends - bright green colors on every single one of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series vehicles where the driver's names are located on the windshield. A rather different look, it provides fans a different perspective as to why NASCAR is attempting to truly get their fans involved more than any other sport.

"In addition to having the comprehensive set of initiatives that we have, the thing that really struck us in building this platform over the past five years is how incredible over fan impact numbers have been around the NASCAR Green platform,” NASCAR Green Vice President, Dr. Michael Lynch said in an exclusive interview with Speedway Digest on Friday afternoon. “We have numbers such as 75 percent of avid NASCAR fans are aware of NASCAR Green and know that the sport cares about the environment. That’s a very recent number for us. The fact that NASCAR fans are twice as likely as non-fans to keep their households ‘green,’ and we are always looking at ways to improve the environment whether that be from getting fans more active. That’s a 70 percent difference from four to four and a half years ago."

"It actually goes back to one of the hypotheses that we had at the beginning which is – a NASCAR Green platform across the entire stakeholdership of the league had the potential to have a unique impact because of the mental framework and mental model that fans bring to this sport that is actually different from fans of other major sports like Major League Baseball, or football, the NBA, hockey or Premier League Soccer or the World Cup. The thing is – a NASCAR fan is a fan of NASCAR. On average, fans have six favorite drivers that they follow. That being the case, tackling ‘green’ from an overall sport level and having an integrated level from all of our teams and venues and all of our partners as well from broadcasters to manufacturers, really gathers fans around ‘green’ in a way that no other sport has had the opportunity to do because we are different fans from baseball and basketball and hockey because the team has the passion and the focus. In our case, the league level platform has a unique opportunity literally because of the mental framework of fans in the first place."

What NASCAR has done is incredibly rare in the sports world. With such a large fan base, the sanctioning body has turned a sport that has the potential to harm the environment, and has now made it extremely 'green.' NASCAR launched the Race to Green program in 2013 with the hopes of growing their sustainability, and that they have done. Besides joining forces with race teams, NASCAR has encouraged their partners to participate in NASCAR's Green initiative. It is bringing Fortune 500 companies together more than any other sport, and are doing so for an outstanding cause.

Here are some examples of what NASCAR's partners are doing this month: 

-Toyota will be pacing the Richmond Sprint Cup Race this month with a Camry Hybrid; Ford had a Ford Fusion Hybrid to pace the Sprint Cup race in Martinsville and a Fusion EcoBoost as backup pace car for the Martinsville race weekend.

-Coca-Cola Recycling will be activating recycling efforts in Texas, Darlington, and Richmond.

-Featherlite Trailers will plant 200 trees for every Featherlite Trailers NSCS driver win during the month of April

-Freightliner will plant 400 trees for every Freightliner NSCS driver win during the Race to Green platform

- 5.11 Tactical will be producing & providing 300 NASCAR Green patches for use on Officials Uniforms during the Green Platform window.

- 3M will be supporting the 2014 Tree Planting efforts.

There are endless amounts of projects going on thanks to NASCAR Green, but the impact is greater than one might believe.

"We categorized where our initiative would really make a difference,” said Lynch, who was previously a professor at Purdue University. “Then, we also realized where we could have the most impact is where we had the initiative to make a change of the environmental impact for the fans that can literally take these things home with them and get involved. We weighed in the initiatives of recycling at tracks, the camp grounds (which is very much like curb side recycling), our emissions reductions initiative, our bio-fuels in the racecars, the renewable energy across the sport and those were all a part of the initial phase. All of that sort of set a foundation to give us the opportunity to do some call-to-action work to have direct fan engagement and participate in the initiative with us by recycling at the track – putting the bottles and cans in the recycling bins.  Last year was our first year of the Race to Green initiative where we started from Earth Hour in early March to Arbor Day at the end of April with Earth Day in there as well."

"Last year was the first time we made a call-to-action. With the Arbor Day Foundation, and multiple of our corporate partners, last year it was 19 (partners) and this year it is about 30, you can donate a dollar to plant a tree in an area of natural disaster that caused devastation in the U.S. We forest that area and also, when you plant a tree that lives its full life, it stores about a metric ton of CO which is the amount generated by one of our Sprint Cup cars driving a 500-mile race. We issued that call-to-action last year, and the total from the tree planting was about 189 thousand, and we are replicating that this year with the Virginia Department of Forestry to place a lot of trees each year as well. Now, in later years, for our call-to-action, we will be adding in a contribution to the renewable energy in the U.S. Bringing household products and energy products in the sport will bring energy proficiency management. We will take steps over the next few years to engage fans on what they can do to reduce the amount of environmental impact that they can do in addition to driving a more fuel efficient vehicle that our manufacturers are producing."

However, NASCAR's off the track initiative is not the only thing they are doing to make the sport sustainable. Since the launch of NASCAR Green in 2008, the importance of this campaign has grown to unbelievable levels. The most abundant gains, however, have been on the race track. 

NASCAR's Sunoco E15 fuel blend has been a leader for innovation. It has brought cleaner gasoline to the sport, and has also brought more partners into NASCAR than imaginable. Over the past several seasons, Kenny Wallace, Mike Bliss, Tayler Malsam, Jeff Burton and Austin Dillon have each been sponsored by American Ethanol and other 'green' friendly companies such as G-Oil or Family Farmers. This initiative has brought great partners to the sport, and what goes into NASCAR's new fuel combination might surprise you if you do not already know.

"It is actually pretty simple,” explained Dr. Lynch, who has been a large part in launching this oil, which is the world's most visible biofuels program. “It is Sunoco Green E15. It is 85 percent high octane unleaded gasoline from Sunoco. Then, it is 15 percent of American grown, American made ethanol produced here in the U.S. from corn grown here in the U.S. Ethanol, being a high-octane bio-fuel, actually increases the octane even further because ethanol has an average octane level of over 105 to 113 which is why we end up with higher horsepower in the cars with this high performance bio-fuel. There is actually a very simple formula to it. It is high-octane, high performance racing gas that Sunoco is creating (and they are truly the world experts at race fuel production), combined with 15 percent of American grown and made ethanol that Sunoco actually produces in their plant in upstate New York.”

But why is this fuel better than using regular racing gasoline? It is actually quite compelling.

"There are a few reasons. One is that by using 15 percent renewable fuel, you end up with a life cycle green house gas reduction of about 20 percent because the ethanol is produced in a state-of-the-art process. It is ‘greener’ from a green-house initiatives standpoint. Then, the performance benefit of it is literally eight to 12 horsepower as a result of having it. The reason of that is, based on a physics and performance standpoint, is that because ethanol’s octane creates a smoother blend which makes a clean burn. There is a lesser chance of irregularity of the pistons. What you get is – a very elegant, powerful motion in addition to lesser greenhouse gas emissions. You get sort of a maximum combo of a greener fuel. It is renewable, so you can grow the 15 percent out of the ground again. And you get added horsepower which translates to the performance of the cars which is something drivers have commented on since the beginning."

With an increase in horsepower has also caused controversy. So much controversy that NASCAR is planning on taking out approximately 75-100 horsepower over the next year or two to reduce speeds. However, Lynch said that a change in horsepower has little to no effect on the environment because of what the cars are producing is still the same.

A reason that this has occurred is because of the addition of Electronic Fuel Injection, otherwise known as EFI. Introduced during the 2011 Daytona 500, EFI has had a giant impact on the sport. Not only has it modernized the Sprint Cup Series, but it has increased the sustainability of the sport. However, it is still not present in the Nationwide Series, Camping World Truck Series or any of the developmental divisions. Instead, the lower tiers of NASCAR use carburetors. Part of the reason is because it will save the lower funded teams plenty of money, helping them survive in the sport. 

"Fuel injection is one where, like a lot of new aspects of the racecars, because of the cost implications of launching something new and because of the consciousness that NASCAR has of the sport with, and on behalf of the teams in the Nationwide Series, Camping World Truck Series and the developmental series to cost effectively compete. We need to make sure these folks continue to make a profit in what they are doing. These are all family businesses and they are the life of the sport. When something new like Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) comes in that has a cost component that needs to be managed and worked through with the learning curve over time, it is something that takes a lot to get started in the Cup Series."

"Then, as the learning curve is worked through and the cost is worked through, then it can be implemented into the other series and divisions. In this particular case, there was a bit of a timing issue as well because you might recall that EFI came in not long after we launched Sunoco Green E15 in the 2011 Daytona 500. EFI, when we talk about integrating to new partners, the complexity was being best handled at the Cup Series level from the start. A lot of what EFI is about is it automatically, with fine-penciled precision, dials in an air to fuel mixture that maximizes the efficiency of the engine. That is particularly important when you are dealing with a bio-fuel blend. If you get that air to fuel mixture right, and you get it adjusted to keep it optimized, then that explains why you get more horsepower from the biofuel blend and no hiccups with excellent results. Do they get that program to where it can be implemented in the Nationwide and Truck Series teams without negatively impacting them to make a living? That was really the logic that was going on there because everyone knew it was going to be something that would have technical bumps to go through, so start with the Cup Series teams was the thinking."

Another amazing innovation which NASCAR has created is the Air Titan. Everyone knows how dreary it can be to wait in the rain at a race track. After all, we all want to see a race - that's the whole point of going to the track. After the long, drawn out process of using the jet dryers, NASCAR Green has helped create the most state-of-the-art track drying process there is.

NASCAR is different from most other forms of motorsports since the cars do not race in the rain. Well, they do every now and then, but that is extremely rare and must be at a road course. The Air Titan has shaved more than enough time to get races in on the same day, saving fans another night at a hotel, or missing a day of work and/or school. However, there is a lot more that goes into the Air Titan than one can imagine.

"Well, you can imagine that anything where precision applies, a sheet of heated air, there are a bunch of different things that you can do with that – whether it is on the racing surface or otherwise. The focus of the R&D team and the focus on the rollout of it are to get the tracks dried faster and get back to racing sooner and get races in on the same day or evening. The fans in particular make a huge investment to come out to the track to see a race. If they don’t get to see a race that same day, that is a huge impact, and NASCAR knows that. The Air Titan, the original and 2.0 versions were designed to deliver to the families and fans that come to the track to maximize the opportunity to know that they are going to go to the track and know they are going to see that race. As you may imagine, when you are leaning in with mother nature like that, that is a tough challenge. That is where our team really focuses to define how to get the tracks dry as fast as possible and refining the implementation of this system of exactly how it is used and whatever fine tuning is needed to be done to any part of it. Anything that can be done to shave five to 10 percent off of the margin of the time is a huge impact for everybody. It requires the full focus of the team. The complications of the Air Titan right now are just not as important as making sure that the actual track drying process is completely optimized with every opportunity we use it to put the cars back on the track."

Wait, but there is a lot more. There are plenty of physics and mathematical equations which the NASCAR Research and Development team must conduct in order to truly define what is needed to dry a track as quickly as possible.

"It was along the lines of practicing the best products along with a lot of R&D development. It went all the way back to the concept of this team, before the version one came along, there was an enormous amount of conceptual work done to figure it out like ‘what is a track surface?’ And it actually is a very complex surface area at a microscopic level. How does water behave on the surface? It is really hard to understand this in terms of a physics and math standpoint. How does water evaporate exactly? How do you maximize the speed of having water evaporate? Because in the end, that’s what we are trying to do. You have a complex surface area. There are millions and billions of little craters in there where water can go, or little channels that they can go down. How do you tackle all of that with a machine that can be built cost effectively, that can be used straight forwardly to be transported to 38 locations a year, will have a reasonable amount of maintenance throughout the year and that will be as ‘green’ as possible," Lynch said as he elaborated on what the Air Titan does better than the jet dryers.

"You can imagine the white board sketching that goes on. Dozens of experts were tabbed with the enormous amount of prototypes that we were testing. The versions of the development of the one we are using now made us have to go back to the beginning and ask – ‘what is the track surface? How does water behave on it? How can you tackle it?’ Then, in order to get to that point, we had to create a machine to spread water out as much as possible to let it evaporate as quickly as possible into the air. What are the ways that you can speed that up and have that optimized to run an entire solution package? It is the same kind of logic that goes into building any kind of system. 3M engineers will give you the same way that they develop products for 3M that are very much the same type of any complex equipment that any complex solution company makes something work. Getting from here to Mars creates some of the renewable energy that uses amazingly complex systems. A lot of those engineers would walk you through the same process that I just walked through here that our R&D team goes through in Concord, NC."

While NASCAR is seemingly happy with the development of the Air Titan 2.0, there is plenty more that they want to do in the future. Anything and everything that can make the Air Titan cleaner and faster is on the table. Obviously, it will not always work just like what happened at Texas, but it certainly increases the chance of getting a race in on the same day if there is inclement weather in the area.

The greatest part of this initiative is how hard everyone is working to get the job done. It does not matter if companies are competing against each other in the marketplace - they just want the world to be a better place.

“Sprint consistently is encouraging fans to recycle their used phones with recycling at the tracks. I know Mike touched on Coca-Cola recycling. Safety-Kleen recycles all of the race used oil. We have a lot of partners consistently working each race weekend with the sport," added Brad Klein, Manager of Business Communications for NASCAR.

So, how can fans help out? Well, it is quite simple. Participate at the track and at home. NASCAR Green has plenty to look forward to in the future, and you will certainly see that as time rolls on. For now, however, show support of NASCAR's partners such as Safety-Kleen with their at-the-track oil recycling, Sprint's used phone recycling, track initiatives of planting trees, the work of Toyota to help show why hybrid cars are supportive of sustainability efforts and dozens of other activities and projects which NASCAR has started. 

 

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