Minnesota's corn farmers launch Ethanol Cup racing series

Ethanol CupGentleman, start your ethanol-powered engines!

Minnesota’s corn farmers are launching the Ethanol Cup during the upcoming 2014 racing season at Elko Speedway just outside of the Twin Cities and at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, about a half hour south of Rochester.

Drivers who use a minimum of E15 (a high-octane gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol) in their cars will qualify to compete in the Ethanol Cup point fund. The competition is designed to increase awareness and usage of homegrown ethanol blends in the local racing scene and help Minnesota corn farmers demonstrate the environmental and economic benefits of clean and renewable ethanol to loyal fans of Minnesota racing.

“The Corn Growers were part of a successful coalition that recently introduced E15 to Minnesota consumers,” said Chad Willis, a corn farmer in Willmar and team leader of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association’s (MCGA) Food and Bioenergy team. “The Ethanol Cup is another way to introduce people to the benefits of E15 and other higher ethanol blends. Benefits include cleaner air, lower fuel prices and a boost to the rural economy.”

Currently, E15 is available at fueling stations in South Minneapolis, Coon Rapids, Shakopee, Maplewood, Willmar and Sleepy Eye. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of E15 fuel in cars, trucks and SUVs model 2001 or newer, which represents about 75 percent of vehicles on Minnesota roads.

Generally, E15 is also priced less than regular unleaded fuel blended with the standard 10 percent ethanol.

Elko Speedway
Drivers who race in the Super Late Model division at Elko Speedway and run an ethanol blend of E15 or higher will compete for the 2014 Ethanol Cup.

“Our drivers are really looking forward to the chase for the Ethanol Cup,” said Duane Fredrickson of Elko Speedway. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for Minnesota’s corn farmers to show loyal race fans here in the Twin Cities the benefits of ethanol-blended fuels.”

E85 – a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline – is now an authorized alternative fuel for all divisions at Elko Speedway.

Deer Creek Speedway
At Deer Creek Speedway, all drivers running at least E15 are eligible to compete for the 2014 Ethanol Cup.

The first 13 point races will be used to qualify for a final three-race “Dash to the Ethanol Cup” in August, which begins Aug. 8 and runs through Aug. 23.

“Buzz is building for the Ethanol Cup and we look forward to kicking it off,” said Randy Queensland of Deer Creek Speedway. “Farming is a major part of the economy here in southern Minnesota and Deer Creek is proud to partner with Minnesota’s corn farmers on this unique series of races.”

Tasseldega Nights
While the chase for the Ethanol Cup lasts throughout the summer, MCGA is also partnering with Elko Speedway and Deer Creek Speedway for two special races billed as “Tasseldega Nights.”

Race fans get into the track for free on June 7 at Elko Speedway and July 19 at Deer Creek Speedway courtesy of MCGA. The unique “Tasseldega Nights” promotion is another way for Minnesota’s corn farmers to connect with consumers and race fans about homegrown ethanol.

Stay tuned for more information on “Tasseldega Nights.” See you at the races this summer!

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