- An ambitious NASCAR environmental-awareness program is now in the works in the run-up to Earth Day.
- NASCAR has pledged to plant 8,000 trees to reduce the sport's carbon footprint.
- The tree planting is part of a program, called NASCAR's Race to Green, which has been in the works for five years.
MARTINSVILLE, Virginia — The planting of more than 8,000 trees is the mission of the NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program, which got its start in South Central Virginia as part of the STP Gas Booster 500 weekend at Martinsville Speedway.
The first 90 trees were planted near the half-mile track, site of Sunday's STP Gas Booster 500, to kick-start what the stock car racing organization touts as its "most ambitious environmental awareness campaign ever."
NASCAR has pledged to plant one tree for each green-flag lap of racing during April, a month-long promotion that will emphasize efforts in relation to the Earth Day and Arbor Day holidays on April 22 and 26.
The number of trees to be planted will, NASCAR says, essentially eliminate the sport's carbon footprint by absorbing a volume of carbon emissions approximately equal to those produced by racecars in NASCAR's three national touring series.
Look for various tracks to jump on the bandwagon. Kansas Speedway will prominently feature the NASCAR Green logo on the infield grass and the backstretch wall and start/finish line will be painted green. A Toyota Camry Hybrid will serve as pace car for the race.
NASCAR's Race to Green is the name of a program five years in the making to improve the sport's environmental image. In recent years NASCAR has switched from high-octane leaded gasoline to Sunoco Green E15 ethanol blend. It has an even longer history of responsible recycling of fluids such as oil, brake fluid, coolant and cleaning solvents, through a partnership with Safety-Kleen that was launched in 1987.
"We're already feeling tremendous momentum going into this month," said Dr. Mike Lynch, NASCAR's founding and managing director of green innovation.
UPS is a co-sponsor of the tree-planting initiative. Green Earth Technologies, Sprint, Ford and 3M are also taking part.
"We are moving the perception of tens of millions of fans in a way that's just bigger than anything else the U.S. has ever done," Lynch said.
Edmunds says: Racing organizations are putting more and more emphasis into environmental responsibility.