Supporting Illinois Corn Growers

Sitting next to the Illinois Family Farmers exhibit outside of Chicagoland Speedway this past weekend was some big iron. As in a New Holland combine and other equipment like tractors and utility vehicles. New Holland is the official ag equipment of NASCAR and lent their support to the exhibit by bringing out the equipment along with some educational materials.

On hand to visit with race fans was Greg Kiesewetter, north Illinois sales manager. Greg is pictured talking with several visitors to the exhibit area on race morning. He says they brought out a variety of equipment for not only farming but also for the construction and consumer market. In supporting Illinois Corn Growers he says they brought a combine with a corn head and a tractor pulling a grain cart to show how the equipment is used in the field. Greg says New Holland is very pumped up about their partnership with Growth Energy and American Ethanol as well as working with the Illinois Corn Growers.

Listen to my interview with Greg here:

2012 NASCAR Dollar General 300 Race Photos

Promoting Ethanol with NASCAR Important to Illinois Corn Growers

The Chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board is Kent Kleinschmidt, pictured here with his wife Sara and NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace. They were attending the Saturday Illinois Corn Growers get together before the race at Chicagoland Speedway. It’s the second year that they’ve held the event. Kent says the sponsorship of the race and Kenny’s #99 car is a very different kind of promotion than they are used to. But once NASCAR decided to move to an E15 fuel blend it opened up a big opportunity and audience to showcase the fuel.

Listen to my interview with Kent here:

2012 NASCAR Dollar General 300 Race Photos

Chicagoland Speedway President Scott Paddock

What does the President of the Chicagoland Speedway think of Illinois Family Farmers and ethanol? Let’s find out. I spoke with him prior to last Saturday’s Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

Scott says Illinois Family Farmers have been a great partner and this venue is a great place to get the word out to consumers about all the benefits of an American made fuel. He thinks the big equipment in the Family Farmers exhibit is a big hit with race fans who are curious about how their food is grown and made. He also says the track has recently invested significant dollars in track upgrades and new areas for a great fan experience on the infield.

Listen to my interview with Scott here:

2012 NASCAR Dollar General 300 Race Photos

American Ethanol Car Driver Austin Dillon

On Saturday race morning at Chicagoland Speedway the driver of the American Ethanol car, Austin Dillon, paid a visit to the Family Farmers exhibit in Champions Park outside the track. He made some remarks to the people who had gathered around to see him before signing autographs.

I was able to get a moment with Austin. He says he’s always excited to come to the midwestern tracks in the heart of corn country where a majority of the feedstock that’s making the Sunoco Green E15 he’s racing on is grown. He’s glad that corn growers can come out to see him race and have a good time at the track.

Listen to my interview with Austin here:

Listen to Austin’s remarks to the crowd here:

2012 NASCAR Dollar General 300 Race Photos

Illinois Family Farmers Educating Race Fans

Illinois Family Farmers entertained and educated NASCAR race fans again this past weekend. The exhibit featured everything from a large New Holland combine to games like this one and many Illinois family farmers took part in helping talk with the crowd.

During set up day I visited with Mark Schneidewind, farmer and manager of Will County Farm Bureau. Listen to my interview with Mark to learn what was in store for race fans when they come out to the track:

You can find lots of photos from this weekend’s activities here: 2012 NASCAR Dollar General 300 Race Photos

Educating at Chicagoland Speedway

During NASCAR race weekend at Chicagoland Speedway the Illinois Corn Growers put a lot of effort into communicating with the general public attending. Here’s a picture of David Loos with the t-shirt gun in action. He had a crowd hoping it would point their way!

To learn more about what Illinois Corn Growers were doing I spoke with Executive Director, Rod Weinzierl. Rod says that the Illinois Corn Marketing Board and Illinois Soybean Growers teamed up again this year to put on an exhibit outside the track that has included an appearance from NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace who signed autographs and talked to the crowd. He says that there are a few challenges in the industry that includes getting more ethanol in the fuel supply. NASCAR helps get that message out. Additionally, having educational materials and displays like a large combine help the public better understand where their food comes from.

Listen to my interview with Rod here:

Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

RAB Racing at Chicagoland Speedway

The RAB Racing team competed in last weekend’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol 225. The driver of the 09 Toyota Tundra was John Wes Townley, pictured on the right with team founder Brack Maggard (center) and Chris Rice (left). John Wes started 16th and finished for a career best 14th place in the race.

I spoke with each of these guys when they visited the Illinois Corn Growers Family Farmers pavilion at Chicagoland Speedway.

John Wes says the team is very fortunate to have Family Farmers come on board as a sponsor. He says his Dad grew corn once upon a time so he’s familiar with the business and hoped the race would help farmers take their mind off the weather for a while. Listen to my interview with John Wes here:

Team co-founder Brack Maggard says he grew up on a farm and raised a lot of corn in his life. Back then he says they did it by hand. He wishes he had the big New Holland combine on display when he was farming. He says he’s gotten to know Family Farmers and really enjoys the association. When it comes to ethanol in their fuel Brack says it has performed flawlessly in their engines. As he puts it, “It’s fuel we don’t have to go overseas to get.” Listen to my interview with Brack here:

Chris Rice is the crew chief for the 09 truck driven by John Wes. He says they’ve spent a lot of time with ethanol and the truck runs very well on it. Listen to my interview with Chris Rice here:

Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

Winning the STP 300

It has been a great weekend of NASCAR action for Illinois corn growers at Chicagoland Speedway. Capping it off was today’s 2nd Annual Nationwide STP 300.

Ethanol had another victory on the NASCAR track today when Elliott Sadler won the race. The race came out of caution with two laps to go so it made for an exciting finish. Placing 4th today was master agvocate Kenny Wallace, spokesperson for the Illinois Corn Growers Family Farmers.

After the race I asked Elliott what he thinks about racing on a fuel that’s made in part by Illinois corn growers. He says the initiative that NASCAR has taken to go green in the last couple years is a great one. Since the track is surrounded by corn and soybeans he says, “It’s neat to see something in the field growing. I’m a farmer at home too.”

Then Richard Childress, RCR Racing, chimed in. “In NASCAR we’ve put in almost 4 million miles or maybe a little over by now on E15, American Ethanol blend of fuel. That says a lot for what E15 can do for your car.”

Listen to Elliott and Richard’s remarks here:

Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

5th Generation of Corn Farmers Next Door to Chicagoland Speedway

Kenny Wallace calls Glenn Fritz “the ultimate farmer.” This morning the Illinois Corn Growers hosted an off the track pre-race meal that included an appearance by Kenny. We were located at Greenfields Campground owned by farmer Glenn Fritz.

I kind of let Kenny take the microphone to chat with Glenn. Glenn has a grandson on the farm that is now the 5th generation of the family on the land. He’s got an interesting story to tell and I think you’ll enjoy listening to it.

Listen to Kenny and Glenn here:

Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

American Ethanol 225 Winner

The winner of the American Ethanol 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is James Buescher. He’s pictured here in Victory Lane at Chicagoland Speedway. Presenting the trophy is Chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board Bill Christ and Tricia Braid, Communications Director.

During the post race press conference I asked James what he thought of racing on a blend of home grown fuel made by corn farmers. He says “It’s really cool to be able to be part of NASCAR going green. It’s only positive. We’re helping the environment.” By the way, he had to have his carburetor replaced during the race!

Listen to James comment on ethanol here:

Illinois Corn Growers NASCAR Weekend Photo Album

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired