DC's By Any Name questionaire

BY ANY NAME White Lightnin' Can Still Get Ya Please carefully read the following information and answer the associated questions, which are multiple choice - most of the time (I think). Prizes and how the reader might win will be discussed ...

White Lightnin' Can Still Get Ya

Please carefully read the following information and answer the associated questions, which are multiple choice - most of the time (I think). Prizes and how the reader might win will be discussed later.

"As part of the (ALMS) series' 'green racing' initiative, the most successful team in ALMS history is using a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline in the demanding arena of endurance road racing." (Jan. 15, 2008, media release, courtesy of GM Racing)

Based on the above information, the "most successful team in ALMS history" is (pick one):
A) Audi Motorsports
B) GAINSCO Bob Stallings
C) Chevrolet Corvette

ANSWER: "C" - Beginning with the 2001 season, Chevy's Team Corvette has won every ALMS GT1 championship, even when, like last year, it pretty much competed only against itself.

"Since its inception, Corvette has always been a platform for Chevrolet and GM to introduce and develop new technology," Chevrolet general manager Ed Peper said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Jan. 15, 2008, media release, courtesy of GM Racing)

Based on information found in Question Nos. 1 and 2, above, at this past weekend's ALMS Sebring race, Chevrolet's Nos. 3 and 4 Corvette C6.R GT1 race cars were fueled with (pick one):
A) "Clean" diesel
B) E85 (85-percent ethanol/15-percent gas blend)
C) E10 (10-percent ethanol/90-percent gas blend)
D) Crown Royal.

ANSWER: Given that it was Sebring, some readers might've answered "D" but it definitely wasn't answers "A" or "B."

"Corvette Racing's transition from E10 to E85 ethanol will be seamless, according to Steve Wesoloski, GM Road Racing Group manager. 'The race cars' fuel systems were already 100 percent compatible with ethanol.'" (Yep, we're still working that treasure trove of a Jan. 15, 2008, media release, courtesy of GM Racing) (pick one):
A) Just like they said, that new E85 did the job at Sebring, dude!
B) Did some of the boys at Chevrolet and Team Corvette get a little too excited and, uh, prematurely unload?

ANSWER: "B" - "Corvette Racing FIRST TRACK-TESTED the renewable alternative fuel in LATE-FEBRUARY (emphasis added). A post-test inspection revealed that the initial formulation of the E85R fuel specified by IMSA, the ALMS sanctioning body, was adversely affecting the adhesive used to construct the race cars' twin fuel cells." (Entirely devoid of the fanfare accompanying the previous, positive releases, this March 10, 2008, media release excerpt also is courtesy of GM Racing)

You mean, for the 2008 Sebring 12-hours Team Corvette's fuel of choice was (pick one):
A) E10 and, man, they just flat-out slammed that ol' E10 into the Nos. 3 and 4 'Vettes every time they pulled in to the pits.
B) Uh-oh, I don't like where this is going. Despite all the environmental, gas-saving and "seamless" hoopla, did Corvette really ditch the E85 in favor of E10?

ANSWER: Yep, to both "A" and "B."

In a broad sense, pure "ethanol" is "White Lighting" or, by yet another name, "moonshine," and again under another name, simply, "alcohol."

Now, as at least some of us backwoods boys have long known, some lightnin' is darn good stuff (like the stuff Junior Johnson once made and ran) and some of it was just plain "rot gut."

The latter name came along with a reason beyond just the occasional renegade's use of lead or anti-freeze in 'shine. Ethanol is strong stuff. Among others, it'll flat-out ruin petroleum-based products with which it comes in contact. Try cavalierly splashing it on some varnish, sometime, too.

As noted in an earlier Motorsport.com piece, "Go Ethanol Go!" - and as Team Corvette has now demonstrated - a lot of smart people have noted a number of negative issues remain to be resolved in the use of ethanol. Not the least of which included what high-content ethanol will do to existing fuel systems. And, forgive me if I'm wrong, a fuel cell is part of a fuel system.

However, besides the above reality, from the highest towers Chevrolet, Team Corvette and IMSA/ALMS did all it could to scream ethanol's virtues but virtually buried the fact that E85 was, at least for one race, abandoned in favor of E10.

Commendably, at least someone at some level in Team Corvette almost assuredly took a heckuva "beating" for rejecting E85 in favor of driver and crew safety, despite potentially embarrassing a number of upper-level executives who had clearly stated (in the company's own media releases) that the use of E85 was fait accompli in the Corvette C6.R before the team had actually track-tested it.

If one is going to insist that the trial of something on the race track to be its ultimate test - as Chevrolet has done repeatedly - those words need to be fully heeded.

Some at Chevrolet and Team Corvette certainly don't seem to have done so in this case - at least given the sparse information made available to the media concerning the fuel switch. Indeed, from everything I've seen or heard on SPEEDtv's coverage, no mention whatsoever was made of Team Corvette's E85 to E10 fuel switch.

Folks, that's news. This journalist knows it when he sees it. And yes, admittedly, the information was made public - almost microscopically so.

Getting all wrapped up in some common, present-day fervor is a subject about which former U.S. President James Madison wrote extensively in Federalist No. 10 - authored before this nation's highest office even became a reality. People might want to give it a read, sometime. The wisdom therein applies to this situation, too.

Sadly - right about now - others likely have added this journalist to a few more "enemy" lists.

C'est la guerre - if such is wished.

    DC Williams Exclusively for Motorsport.com

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Junior Johnson , Bob Stallings
Teams Williams , Corvette Racing