Tough Times For “Bubba” The Nascar Fan, Indycar Series Switches To Sugar

Big Bend, WI ( November 18, 2008) – It has been and will be tough for the stereotypical “old school” NASCAR fan. For the last three years he had to watch a handsome, well spoken, Californian named Jimmie Johnson win three championships in row. Johnson, an American corporate dream has equaled “Bubba’s” hero, Cale Yarborough of three straight championships he won with the ‘Last American Hero’ Junior Johnson as his car owner. “Bubba” has seen his sport taken over by young brash kids from seeminly everywhere but North Carolina. Vegas youngster Kurt Busch won the first Chase in ’04. This year, his kid brother had 22 wins in the top-three tiers of NASCAR. “Bubba’s” next great Carolina hope, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. this year switched over to the enemy-Rick Hendrick who employs that ‘pretty’ Jeff Gordon. Jr’s only win this year came at Michigan, a fuel mileage stinker at that. At least Jr. got into the Chase, but sadly for “Bubba” he finished last. Ford, GM and Dodge may be out the door, leaving Toyota the only manufacturer. It looks like “Bubba” and some of his friends already may be showing less interest. In the TV ratings, the build up to the Chase appeared it didn’t bring the excitement that NASCAR was looking for this year. Homestead showed a ratings drop of 5%. Hang on “Bubba,” it’s going to be a rough ride.

With the sudden onset of negative press that the corn-based ethanol industry has seen, the IndyCar Series may have politically positioned itself well. The IndyCar Series announced today of a partnership with APEX-Brasil making the trade promotion agency the official ethanol supplier to the IndyCar Series beginning with the 2009 season.

The press release added, the multi-year deal names APEX-Brasil an official partner of the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis 500, which includes cooperation from UNICA (the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association) to identify those interested in supplying ethanol to the series. Initially, UNICA will look to partner with a U.S.-based ethanol company to supply the IndyCar Series with corn-based ethanol.

One of the primary messages of the new partnership is that regardless of the sources used in the production of ethanol – corn, sugarcane, or various cellulosic materials in the future – the end product is identical, a clean, renewable bio-fuel that reduces dependence on fossil fuels and combats one of the major causes of climate change.

“The move to other sources of ethanol is a natural progression as the ethanol industry continues to grow and evolve,” said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division of the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series. “We continue to strive to be on the leading edge of the greening of racing. The IndyCar Series was the first motorsports series to mandate use of a renewable fuel, and now we will work with the ethanol industry in both the United States and Brazil to promote the use of all types of ethanol by consumers.

The released continued, in 2007, the governments of the United States and Brazil signed a Memorandum of Understanding on bio-fuels with particular aim at consolidating ethanol as a global commodity. Jointly, the U.S. and Brazil produce in excess of 75 percent of the world’s ethanol output. Both countries are committed to ethanol development at a global level.

“This will help ethanol to attain global energy commodity status as well as fulfill its vital objectives: to help provide energy security and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Marcos Sawaya Jank, the president of UNICA. “The involvement of APEX-Brasil is a natural, since several Brazilian drivers already compete in the IndyCar Series. We’re eager to contribute so that the IndyCar Series continues to showcase all of the benefits of ethanol. This involves teamwork, and both the United States and Brazil, as major producers and users of ethanol, have the duty to remain ahead of the pack in the global race for alternative energy sources.”

Didja know that all three winners of races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway went on to win their respective series title. Scott Dixon won the 92nd Indianapolis 500 on May 25 in the Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara-Honda for his first victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” He went on to clinch his second IndyCar Series title, as his first came in 2003. Jimmie Johnson held off championship rival Carl Edwards to win the 15th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 27 in the Hendrick Racing Lowe’s Chevrolet. It was his second victory in the marquee NASCAR race. The final race of the year at IMS saw Valentino Rossi pull away from American favorite Nicky Hayden to win the wet inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Sept. 14. The victory helped propel Rossi to his sixth career MotoGP World Championship.

For those of you against the Chase, here is some ammo. released its “Classic” points system, here it is

Final UNOFFICAL Classic Driver Points Standings
[after Homestead race 36 of 36]:
1) #99-Carl Edwards 5236 [9 wins] 2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5220 -16 [7 wins] 3) #18-Kyle Busch 4984 -252 [8 wins] 4) #16-Greg Biffle 4747 -489 [2 wins] 5) #31-Jeff Burton 4709 -527 [2 wins] 6) #29-Kevin Harvick 4691 -545
7) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4605 -631 [1 win] 8) #24-Jeff Gordon 4537 – 699
9) #20-Tony Stewart 4487 -749 [1 win] 10) #07-Clint Bowyer 4487 – 749 [1 win] 11) #11-Denny Hamlin 4439 -797 [1 win] 12) #17-Matt Kenseth 4316 -920
13) #6-David Ragan 4299 -937
14) #9-Kasey Kahne 4085 -1151 [2 wins]

For its return to the ALMS GT2 class in ’09, BMW of North America announced they signed Americans Bill Auberlen and Joey Hand as its first two drivers for BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team’s new BMW M3.

One final note. Penske Racing has a new on-line merchandise store on its new redesigned website, The store features a variety of Penske Racing NASCAR, IndyCar Series and American Le Mans Series (ALMS) team and historical merchandise, as well as some special “exclusive” Penske Racing products.

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