From Indy Car

Today’s IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:

1.Ethanol industry backs Hunter-Reay for Iowa race

2.Iowa Ag Secretary takes 2-seater to work

3.Drivers to toss first pitch at games

4.Twenty-four presses of Honda overtake assist for Iowa

5.Of note

1. Ethanol industry backs Hunter-Reay for Iowa race: Officials of ICM and Green Plains Renewable Energy — industry leaders in the development and production of biofuels in the U.S. – received an ovation from the participants at the Fuel Ethanol Workshop in St. Louis when they announced a partnership to sponsor the No. 37 Ethanol USA-Team IZOD car of Andretti Autosport driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay in this weekend’s Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer.

Hunter-Reay was sponsored by the U.S. ethanol industry in the 2007 and ’08 IZOD IndyCar Series seasons.

“We’re excited to be back in the IZOD IndyCar Series, and thrilled to renew our relationship with Ryan Hunter-Reay,” said Dave Vander Griend, president and CEO of ICM Inc. “Ryan has demonstrated his tremendous skill on the racetrack, and is a passionate supporter of the U.S. ethanol industry.”

Added Todd Becker, president and CEO of Green Plains Renewable Energy: “This partnership is a great platform to demonstrate the environmental and performance aspects of ethanol right in the back yard of the No. 1 ethanol producing state with over 84 million barrels of production. We continue to prove year after year that ethanol has become a permanent solution to breaking our dependence on foreign oil in a clean and responsible manner.”

Hunter-Reay is sixth in the championship standings with one victory and three top-five finishes overall. He advanced six positions to finish eighth at Iowa Speedway in 2008 with Rahal Letterman Racing, driving the No. 17 ethanol car.

The IZOD IndyCar Series is the only form of motorsports to use a renewable and environmentally-friendly fuel (100 percent fuel-grade ethanol) to power its Honda Indy V-8 engines.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be representing Ethanol USA in the IZOD IndyCar Series again for a race that’s fueled by ethanol made in the United States,” Hunter-Reay said. “Everyone talks about cleaner, greener energy, but this is one industry that has been consistently delivering on its promises.”

2. Iowa Ag Secretary takes 2-seater to work: Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey joined representatives from Iowa Speedway and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board for breakfast in Des Moines and a quick trip to his statehouse office June 15 in the Indy Racing Experience street-legal two-seater.

“It was a fun ride,” Northey said. “I definitely got some looks this morning. It’s a fun chance to tell folks a little about the Iowa Corn Indy 250.”

The IZOD IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway on June 20 is sponsored for the fourth consecutive year by the Iowa Corn Growers Association and Iowa Corn Promotion Board. The IZOD IndyCar Series is the only form of motorsports to use a renewable and environmentally-friendly form of fuel (100 percent fuel-grade ethanol) to power its Honda Indy V-8 engines.

“It certainly does send a message, especially when you’re running 100 percent ethanol like these IndyCars do,” said Dick Gallagher, who was among a group of corn growers who joined the secretary for breakfast. “It’s very common to have E10 in your regular gasoline. But we’re trying to increase the ethanol blends that we are using, and showing that IndyCars run on 100 percent ethanol sends a very clear message.”

Iowa produced a record 10.75 billion gallons of biofuel last year, reducing demand for imported oil by 364 million barrels.

Northey enjoyed his morning commute to the Wallace State Office Building, but said he won’t be trading in his flex-fuel vehicle.

“Probably my pick-up is a bit more practical for me,” Northey said.

3. Drivers to toss first pitch at games: Firestone Indy Lights driver Charlie Kimball will throw out the first pitch before the Clinton LumberKings minor league baseball game against Wisconsin on June 16 as part of Novo Nordisk Diabetes Awareness Night.

The 25-year-old Kimball is in his second season of competing in the 13-race Firestone Indy Lights Series and competes with Type I diabetes.

“I’m pretty nervous about it,” Kimball said. “Of course, since it’s Class A baseball, they may sign me for the rest of the season if I do a good job.”

Indianapolis 500 winners Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon will also make an appearance at a baseball game on June 16. The Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates will throw out the first pitches before the Minnesota Twins-Colorado Rockies game at Target Field.

4. Twenty-four presses of Honda overtake assist for Iowa: IZOD IndyCar Series drivers will have 24 uses of the Honda overtake assist at their disposal for the 250-lap race at the .875-mile Iowa Speedway.

Each press of the button will activate the system for 10 seconds of added horsepower. There will be an eight-second reset period between uses. It will be the first time the Honda overtake assist has been used on a short track since it was introduced last August.

5. Of note: E85 for 85 cents a gallon and meet Marco Andretti? What a deal. The Andretti Autosport driver will greet patrons at the Kum & Go (2110 Guthrie St. in Des Moines) from 5:30-7:30 p.m. June 17. Premium unleaded will be offered for 10 cents off per gallon. … Jake McVey and Jessie James will perform on stage after the checkered flag of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer.


The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues June 20 with the Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Pioneer at Iowa Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 1:30 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the AvoidTheStork.com 100 on June 19 at the Iowa Speedway.