Green-Sports News

Follow Up To Greening F-1 Post: NASCAR Green Also Taking A Lead Role


In yesterday’s GSB Interview, Edgar Farrera, Director of Sustainability at Circuit Of The Americas, the brand new Formula 1 racetrack in Austin, TX, made a strong statement in support of the substantive and perceived benefits of greening the motorsports world.

While F-1 is a niche player for the hearts, minds and eyeballs of US motorsports fans, NASCAR is most certainly the behemoth.  Thus it’s great to notethat NASCAR Green has been taking a lead role in bringing environmental stewardship to the fore since 2008.  A piece in The Huffington Post details those efforts, from recycling to re-use of spent motor oil, which often involve NASCAR’s many corporate sponsors.  The most interesting nugget from the story to me relates to the link between the corporate sponsors and NASCAR fans:

“In a 2012 study commissioned by NASCAR and conducted by Toluna, it was shown that NASCAR fans are 100 percent more likely than non-fans to view their household as very green. This number was up from 70 percent in 2011. In 2008 (when NASCAR Green started), the number of fans and non-fans who viewed their households as very green was equal.”

This week, the NASCAR Green Summit is being held in Chicago (there sure are lots of Green Sports-related and Sports-As-Force-For-Good Summits these days!) with Al Gore featured as a Keynote Speaker.  I know VP Gore is from NASCAR-mad Tennessee but, really, who’da thunk he’d be keynoting a NASCAR-related green summit?  It is interesting to note that NASCAR, in its Gore bio, does not mention the words “An Inconvenient Truth” at all.  Here’s the part of the Gore bio where one would think they’d mention the title of the movie that won him a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar:

“He is the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary (WHAT’S IT CALLED???) and is the co-recipient, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”

Maybe I’m nitpicking here or maybe NASCAR’s not fully evolved just yet.  But it seems like they’re moving in the right direction and that’s a good thing.  We will keep an eye on F-1 and NASCAR to see how it goes.  And if I get text of Mr. Gore’s speech to the NASCAR Green Summit I’ll pass it along.



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The GSB Interview: Edgar Farrera, Director of Sustainability, Circuit Of The Americas

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  1. i have mixed emotions regarding NASCAR’s green effort. The cynical glance would say that their green effort is an offensive maneuver to deflect criticism from a sport which is inherently not green. Saying that, the brand loyalty of NASCAR fans is unparalleled. Love to see an electric car entry. Go tesla….although I am guessing in ten years GM and its battery technilogy will surpass the off the shelf components used by tesla. So maybe we will see an electric GM car racing around the tracks!. Well, cynical or not I guess we have to applaud NASCAR for the effort.

  2. I too have mixed emotions but, I have to say, our interview ( with Edgar Farrera, Sustainability Director of the new F-1 track in Austin stripped some of that skepticism away. Farrera’s point that most of the GHG emissions associated with motorsports come from transportation by fans getting to/from the tracks. And that’s a problem endemic to all sports. Siting future racetracks near mass transit might be the greenest thing the industry could do but many of these facilities are far from urban centers. On Tesla-GM and the EV battery battles to come, you should look at Tesla as really Tesla-Toyota-and others. I say that because Tesla is licensing its EV technology to Toyota and others. My bet is GM and the other non-Tesla aligned car makers and Tesla will be one-upping each other, in much the same way that Apple, Google (Android) and Microsoft are one upping each other on Smartphone technology.

  3. I never understood the Nascar study: that Nascar fans are more likely to see their households as green. Does this mean that the Nascar fan has a green household or that their households are no different than others but they perceive themselves as green? The first would be progress, the second would be a step backward if housholds felt they had done enough already, with no real change. I never saw the actual study, just heard the spin without interpretation.

  4. I was struck by that piece of data as well. My guess is that it’s more perception than reality on the part of NASCAR fans and their greenness but future studies would need to suss that out. If NASCAR feels the same way they may not want to know the truth. NASCAR fans, more than fans of any other sport, respond positively to the sport’s sponsors. So if the sponsors are promoting recycling or other green activities, the fan might think she/he is greener than is actually the case if she/he buys the sponsor’s product.

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