Transcript: American Ethanol/Growth Energy Announcement
December 2, 2010
An interview with:
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK
BRIAN FRANCE: You know, several years ago NASCAR made a commitment to go green, to be a true environmental leader. And now we're blazing trails and recycling, waste reduction, carbon neutralization and alternative energy. Most recently we announced a transition to a new, greener fuel, Sunoco Green E15, made with American Ethanol from corn growers in the nation's heartland.
We're pleased and extremely proud to support American farmers with a high-quality, renewable fuel produced on American soil. Today NASCAR is also proud to announce a major new partnership with American Ethanol and the industry of American Ethanol, led by the ethanol advocacy group Growth Energy. Growth Energy is a coalition of U.S. ethanol supporters, including farmers and members of the ethanol supply chain.
Many are here with us celebrating Championship Week here in Las Vegas. I hope you get to meet these hard-working, fine people.
NASCAR and American ethanol are ideal partners. NASCAR is a family-owned American sport, and ethanol is produced from harvests of American-owned farms across our heartland. Overall there will be a hundred agriculture entities involved in this major new relationship.
From the garage to the grandstands, these farmers, these small businesses, will be immersed in NASCAR, serving as ambassadors of the sport. The entire NASCAR community will benefit as American Ethanol supports drivers, teams, tracks through a broad range of marketing, advertising, at-track hospitality programs and a season-long contingency award called the American Green Flag Restart Award, given to the driver who records the fastest average speeds during the event and finishes on the lead lap.
The significant commitment from the American agriculture shows our sport remains a viable platform for communicating a message and a viable proving ground for the green economy.
Let me just point your attention, if you will, to the video.
Kind of proud of that video.
Now I'd like to introduce the CEO of the largest ethanol producer in the U.S., POET, please welcome Jeff Broin.
JEFF BROIN: Thank you, Brian.
We're here today to celebrate a historic partnership between two unique American industries: NASCAR and American ethanol. It is thrilling to be part of this great sport. We at Growth Energy are excited to tell American ethanol's great story to all the drivers, teams and 10s of millions of NASCAR fans.
American Ethanol is not only high performance, it is also made by American farmers and American workers, and it cleans our air and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
This is a great day for NASCAR, the American Ethanol industry, and millions of American farmers. Today we are all proud to now be part of the NASCAR family.
Now, let me introduce one of those farmers, Bart Schott, a North Dakota farmer and president of the Corn Growers Association, a valued partner of American Ethanol.
BART SCHOTT: Thank you, Jeff. Thank you to Brian France and the rest of the NASCAR nation.
I farm in North Dakota, and I know firsthand what ethanol means to the American farmer. I am an American farmer. American ethanol means a steady market for the rapidly increasing supply of corn that we grow in this country. But American Ethanol is more than that. American ethanol is an opportunity drawing on the strength, ingenuity of American farmers to produce our nation's own source of fuel. I know we can do this.
American farmers are the most productive in the world. We can grow twice the grain per acre than in China. We can grow twice the grain that the Brazilians do per acre. This year's corn harvest was the third largest in U.S. history. With precision farming, innovation and technology, American farmers can double our harvest within 30 years.
We embrace the challenge of meeting the demand for food, for livestock, for feed, and for ethanol.
Now, let me introduce retired four-star general and former supreme allied command of NATO, General Wesley Clark, co-chairman of Growth Energy.
GENERAL WESLEY CLARK: Thank you.
As Bart said, I'm here today as co-chairman of Growth Energy. Now, this partnership will have a tremendous impact. It will be helpful for American Ethanol. It will tell a very important story to millions of American race fans every weekend.
The story boils down to this: Our nation has the capacity right now to meet more of our demand for transportation fuel than ever before and meet that demand from domestic sources. I'm talking about turning to the farm fields of the Midwest to secure our nation's energy future.
By investing today in domestic ethanol, we'll be creating jobs for decades. Here in the United States, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, all the states that have been so hard hit, we can do that with ethanol. American ethanol creates jobs, it cuts carbon emissions and it strengthens national security.
Today we begin to tell the great American story of ethanol in partnership with another great American story: the story of NASCAR. There's probably nothing more American than NASCAR, and there's no fuel more American than ethanol.
Thank you and God bless America.
Thank you and good morning all.
Let me give a few special welcomes. First Brad Keselowski is with us. The Nationwide Series champion is with us somewhere in the audience. Todd Bodine, the Camping World champion is with us, as well. And then a number of track operators who host the events are with us, a number of our other drivers, valued sponsors, certainly our friends at sprint, and some new partners we're going to be excited to talk about later in the show are all with us, as are other members of the industries.
We're all here celebrating what is clearly the most competitive, best year in NASCAR on the track. There's no question about it. The numbers tell the story. But your eyes verified the story. We all saw the most incredible, tight Chase for the Championship all the way down to the wire in a come-from-behind and a fifth championship in a row by Jimmie Johnson. Truly incredible.
Let me just say that in January, we talked about the season, as we always do, the rules packages, what we were thinking about. And as always, there are periods in NASCAR's history when we can overregulate, we can overthink things. It's possible, believe it or not. We're human. We talked a lot about opening it up, about making sure that the competitive part on the track, the mixing it up, the things that everybody has come to know as America's premiere motorsports series is what it should be.
Then I remember in January having our press conference and talking about some of the things we were going to do. Robin Pemberton stood up and said the now very infamous words, 'Boys, have at it.' I said to myself for a moment, hold on, that's not in our script, that's not in our plan. But you know what, in a good way he was right. That's exactly what this sport needed to transition and take another good step towards.
The result was from the start of the Speedweeks throughout the season, you saw the level of come up. I told the group who host our Chase drivers every year in New York before the Chase I knew it was going to be the most competitive because I knew there were a number of teams that really believed going into the final 10 races they had a legitimate chance to win. They felt that way.
What I also told them was that this is a special time because you can't always count on being with a team that you're with, being in the position you're in, and if you're Jimmie Johnson to win an unprecedented incredible five championships in a row. Obviously that may never be duplicated by him or anyone else.
Just take a moment and realize what a special sport you're competing in, what a special time it is for you and your teammates, and certainly the car owners.
I think they did. I think they went on to demonstrate incredible performances that are going to be great memories for a long time.
I particularly am interested by Kevin Harvick and his tremendous charge. I just saw Denny back behind a minute ago. I thanked him for the performances, the efforts they made. They didn't just try to go out and compete hard, they went out and tried to win races right then, beat somebody right then. That's what big-time sports is all about.
So we had the most competitive, best year in NASCAR. We'll have the biggest audience tomorrow night in attendance that we've ever had, the most fans, which is a great thing. We'll celebrate Rick Hendrick, Chad Knaus, and those five championships in grand style tomorrow.
Rick, congratulations on what can only be described now as a dynasty.
Thank you very much.