For Cole Queensland, using ethanol in his USRA Modified race car has been a smooth transition. So smooth, in fact, it’s helped Queensland get off to his best start in 14 years of racing.
“I’ve had zero issues whatsoever,” said Queensland, who has two first-place finishes in five races this summer. “You hear stories and I was kinda nervous to do it, but it’s been great.”
Queensland races at Deer Creek Speedway in Spring Valley, about 15 miles south of Rochester. He’s one of 19 divers who started using ethanol this season in pursuit of The Ethanol Cup, a special points fund sponsored by the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) for drivers who race using fuels blended with higher amounts of homegrown ethanol.
Queensland said racing on ethanol requires some adjustments to the carburetor, but once drivers get that squared away and make a few other minor tweaks, it’s smooth sailing. So far this season, nine drivers who run on ethanol have celebrated a victory in the winner’s circle at Deer Creek.
“When something new comes along, people are hesitant about it,” Queensland said. “Then once they figure it out, it’s the next greatest thing. That’s where ethanol is at right now. It’s growing in popularity in racing.”
Ethanol gives drivers a power boost. It also runs cooler, which is easier on the engine and provides drivers the option of using a smaller fan.
And just like it does for consumers, ethanol saves race car drivers money at the pump. Queensland uses E85 (a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). He got his first tank from the Freeborn County Co-op in Brownsdale and paid $2.89 per gallon. Racing fuel costs around $8 per gallon.
“There’s a lot of momentum behind ethanol right now within the racing community for a variety of reasons,” Queensland said. “The cost, the horsepower, the fact that it’s easier on motors. A lot of positive discussion.”
Want to see ethanol racing in action? Want to learn more about the environmental and economic benefits of using homegrown ethanol in your own vehicle? Then come on out to Deer Creek Speedway on Saturday, July 19 for “Tasseldega Nights,” an ethanol-themed promotion from MCGA.
Race fans get into the track for free and can win a four-pack of tickets to a NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway in August. In addition to great racing action, you can enjoy many other great family activities, as well as opportunities to talk to Minnesota corn farmers and race car drivers about homegrown ethanol.
See you at the track!