NASCAR Promotion Works

Past Chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Jim Rapp, visited the Marquis Energy Appreciation Day. He’s pictured on the far right next to NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace and Jim’s sons, Nick and Ben. Jim says that the NASCAR promotional opportunity that the industry has become involved in proves that a fifteen percent blend of ethanol works. He’s a major advocate for the renewable fuel that’s good for our country! As a family farmer he’s thrilled to have Family Farmers emblazoned on the #09 car that will be driven in the STP 300 Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

You can listen to a short interview I did with Jim here:

Marquis Energy Appreciation Day Photos

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired

Marquis Energy Goes NASCAR

The President of Marquis Energy is Mark Marquis, seen here introducing NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace to the crowd attending yesterday’s Appreciation Event at their Hennepin ethanol plant. I spoke with Mark and learned that Marquis Energy is a real family type business that he had built after growing up on a family farm in this area and branching out into the grain business. In my interview with him you’ll hear him talk about plans to double the size of the Hennepin plant.

Mark is a Growth Energy board member. He says the organization saw the long-term agreement with NASCAR as a great opportunity to help get in front of American consumers who will feel more confident about putting higher blends of ethanol in their cars after seeing how well it performs in the race cars. They’ve accomplished that through American Ethanol, a partnership with the National Corn Growers Association. The local NASCAR Nationwide Series STP 300 race on Saturday provided his company with an opportunity to make a special contribution to the effort by sponsoring the Family Farmers Car that Kenny will be driving. He says NASCAR is very popular with his employees and the farmers who send in about 150 trucks of corn a day to the plant. You can listen to my interview with Mark here:

You can hear Mark’s introduction of Kenny and Kenny’s remarks in this video clip:

You can find photos from the event here: Marquis Energy Appreciation Day Photos

Chuck Zimmerman

Posted by Chuck Zimmerman, AgWired


Did you hear?  Illinois Corn has a ticket package to the June 4 Nationwide Series race in Joliet!  Click here to find out more!  We need you to be a part of the Family Farmers High Performance Racing Team!

Kenny Wallace, currently 7th in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) driver rankings, will pilot the “Family Farmers” car.  The race will be aired live at 7PM on ESPN.


Welcome to Photo Week on Corn Corps! To celebrate National Photography Month, we’re bringing you one photo every day this week that celebrates Illinois agriculture, corn production, and farm family life! We will still have our Friday Farm Photo so if you have a great picture you’d like to see there, send it to

In recent years, Illinois corn farmers have told us that public education and communications back to non-farm consumers is a priority. Illinois corn farmers want to be understood; they want non-farmers to know that they are hard-working, family men and women that grow food with pride. Illinois Corn’s venture into the world of NASCAR is doing just that, talking about ethanol and the farmers that are fueling the ethanol industry on a national stage.

Here, Scott Stirling represents Illinois Corn Marketing Board at the debut of the American Ethanol promotion at Daytona.


NASCAR and American Ethanol are natural partners: NASCAR is a great American sport founded on the sands of Daytona Beach more than 60 years ago, and American Ethanol is produced on family owned farms across our country’s heartland. It’s truly a winning combination.

American Ethanol is the name given to a coalition of groups, lead by Growth Energy and supported by the National Corn Growers Association and many of its member states including the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.  The partnership between American Ethanol gives corn farmers the opportunity to showcase their product to a national audience and it was one that they simply couldn’t overlook.

  • By using American Ethanol, NASCAR will demonstrate ethanol’s superior performance not only to the NASCAR audience, but to the broader public as well. 
  • A 15% blend of ethanol uses 50% more homegrown fuel than the current E10 standard blend in the U.S. NASCAR is leading by example by utilizing Sunoco Green E15 race fuel, showing that American ethanol-blended fuel works.
  • NASCAR is going green. And ethanol is the only commercially viable alternative to gasoline. We are honored to partner with NASCAR to show Americans that ethanol is clean, green and homegrown.
  • For the first time ever, starting in 2011 in Daytona, the NASCAR Green Flag will be branded with American Ethanol, representing the continued efforts of NASCAR and its commitment to environmental responsibility.
  • Also premiering in 2011, every lap of every NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be fueled by Sunoco Green E15 -– a fuel that includes 15% renewable American Ethanol, which is produced from corn grown and harvested on family farms across our country.
  • NASCAR fans will see the same great racing they have come to expect, but powered with a new, greener fuel.

What’s interesting and even more powerful is that while American Ethanol and NASCAR talk about E15 on a national stage, Illinois Corn continues to support the movement here at home with a partnership with Kenny Wallace and an opportunity for you to become part of the Family Farmers High Performance Team on June 4. 

The two programs are separate, but integrated.  One is introducing ethanol as a green, clean, homegrown fuel to audiences in the south and on the coasts that Midwestern farmers struggled to reach, while the other teaches about the family farmers behind that ethanol.

Watch and learn more!


NASCAR, racing, family farmersTeam: RAB Racing with Brack Maggard

Car: No. 09 American Ethanol Toyota Camry

Race 9 of 34: Bubba Burger 250 at Richmond International Raceway

Event Info: Friday, April 29, 2011, Live on SPEED at 7:30PM EST and MRN at 7:15PM EST

Farmer advocate…Kenny Wallace is agriculture’s newest advocate. He’s been chosen to represent not only “American Ethanol” but also the multi-state “Family Farmers” coalition. The Family Farmers car has already run in Phoenix and Talladega. It’s next stop is the May 28 NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Charlotte. From there, Kenny will bring the Family Farmers car to Joliet’s Chicagoland Speedway on June 4 and September 17. Kenny drove the “American Ethanol” car in Texas just a couple weekends ago.

Rumble in Richmond…This week the RAB Racing with Brack Maggard team and Kenny Wallace will cross the Virginia state line en route to Richmond International Raceway (RIR) to compete in the NNS Bubba Burger 250 on Friday night. Making the ninth appearance in 2011 on the NASCAR circuit this weekend, Wallace will continue the hunt to capture his elusive 10th career win in the Nationwide Series. Fresh off a 12th place finish at Nashville Superspeedway last weekend in the Nashville 300, Wallace and the RAB Racing team are ready to lead the field in the No. 09 American Ethanol Toyota Camry and make their way to victory lane for the first time in 2011.

Keeping Tabs…With eight races now complete on the 2011 Nationwide Series schedule, Kenny Wallace has become a fixture in the NNS driver point standings top-10. Occupying the ninth position for the third consecutive week, Wallace is only 12 points behind the eighth position and 44 points from the top-5.

Richmond Details

  • At 47, Wallace has competed in 57 total events at Richmond International Raceway throughout his career in NASCAR’s top-three racing divisions.
  • Wallace will make his 33rd career-start Friday night when he tightens his belts and focuses on earning his fourth Nationwide Series victory at the Virginia short-track. Wallace scored his three Richmond victories in four events during the 1994-1996 seasons.
  • During his career, Wallace has completed every NNS race he has started on the .75-mile D-shaped oval track, accumulating three wins, nine top-5 and 17 top-10 finishes.
  • RAB Racing with Brack Maggard will make its fourth start in the Nationwide Series this weekend at RIR.
  • RAB Racing engineer, Cliff Daniels, returns to his home state this week. A native of Smithfield, Virginia, Daniels is no stranger to racing, growing up only an hour from RIR and having himself competed in several racing divisions including bandoleros, legends and late models.

Welcome Back…American Ethanol will make its second appearance this season as primary sponsor on the No. 09 RAB Racing Toyota Camry. American Ethanol made its debut on the RAB Racing machine in April 2011 at Texas Motor Speedway. American Ethanol’s profile will be front and center and seen by thousands of fans as American Ethanol helps take NASCAR’s environmental commitment to the next level. The efforts of NASCAR and American Ethanol are projected to expose 80 million people to the benefits of ethanol and link millions of American farmers with the sport of NASCAR.

The “fans” have spoken… Wallace will drive the No. 09 Toyota Camry supported by fans from around the world in October’s Nationwide Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. For $20, fans can get their name on Wallace’s No. 09 RAB Racing Toyota Camry and receive a postcard. In addition to fan support, the University of Northwestern Ohio will be featured on the hood for the memorable event. For more information, please visit

Can’t get enough

Follow Kenny on Twitter:

Follow RAB Racing with Brack Maggard on Twitter:

Become a fan of RAB Racing with Brack Maggard on Facebook:


It’s been nearly a week since ethanol made its debut at the Daytona 500 but we’re still as excited as ever!

American Ethanol is an official partner of NASCAR and this year every car and truck in the three series will be running on a fifteen percent blend of fuel made with homegrown, corn based ethanol. The fuel is Sunoco Green E15.

It’s as American as NASCAR. The fans are supportive, the drivers are supportive, and so are the mechanics.

In fact, 120,000 American Ethanol Green Flags were distributed so that everyone could help start the Daytona 500 waiving their own green flag. This year, every NASCAR race start and restart will be made with the American Ethanol Green Flag.

Each race team has their own specific fuel cans. In fact, NASCAR changed the entire fueling system this year. That change was nothing to do with the switch to E15. Each can is clearly marked with the car and driver, as well as Sunoco Green E15.

And in those pit stops that last only a few seconds, those fuel cans empty into the car. Each can weighs about 92 pounds when full and holds about 12 gallons.

Every car advertises the American Ethanol logo with a green circle around the fuel port, recognizing the positive environmental impact that E15 brings to the sport. 

And along with that positive environmental impact comes increased horsepower! The cars were running at unprecedented speeds. In this photo, you’ll see Kenny Wallace’s No. 09 car drafting with the Brandt Consolidated car. It’s great to see NASCAR and farming teaming up.

We hope you’ll continue to watch and listen to NASCAR broadcasts this year. You’ll definitely hear more about farmers and ethanol. And so will NASCAR’s 75 million dedicated fans. Now that’s an audience you can be proud of!

Tricia Braid
Communications Director


With Danika Patrick there, the famous opening line was tweaked a bit, but the resulting roar was just as satisfying…”Drivers! Start your engines!”
That’s all it took to turn this girl into NASCAR’s newest fan. That’s right, add me to the other 75 million Americans the racing giant counts as its constituency.
I was already a Kenny Wallace fan. Sure, I’m a “Johnny come lately” as they say, but I recently met the man who represents the heart of racing to many. He’s one of NASCAR’s most beloved drivers. To me, he’s a genuine guy with a genuine interest in the things that make America great. We have that in common. That, you see, is why I took to him immediately. He saw in me a common love of laughing and (sometimes) ornery behavior.
It was an opportunity made it heaven. Since I count myself as one of farming’s biggest agvocates, my work with Illinois corn farmers was going to be extra special and even more heartfelt than usual this time. We were going to reach an entirely new audience, with a (pardon the pun) entirely new vehicle for that message.
And this (see the picture below), my friends, is that vehicle. But despite how absolutely fantastic it is, the car isn’t what our partnership with Kenny Wallace racing was about.
nascar kenny wallace IL corn farmers
The promotional partnership struck between the Illinois Corn Marketing Board (called Illinois Corn Farmers outside of farm circles) and Kenny Wallace Racing was about the people. In this case, those people include Kenny Wallace, NASCAR and Kenny’s fans (see the people waiting for his autograph?), and Illinois corn farmers.
nascar wallace IL farmers ethanol

And as it happens, the corn gods evidently smiled upon us. Because the day after we announced our partnership, NASCAR publicly announced their intention to move the entire NASCAR series of races to E15 starting in the 2011 season.
Illinois Corn Farmers…NASCAR…fans…Kenny Wallace…ethanol! That’s Good Clean Fun and Good Clean Fuel!

Now, not only can Kenny talk about the family corn farmers of Illinois and ethanol, but he can talk about it in the venue of NASCAR and racing. He did just that at this NASCAR press conference the day before the race at Gateway.

Kenny talked about corn farmers, their crop, and corn ethanol in all his television and radio appearances. He filled his twitter feed and facebook pages with great information about all of you corn farmers. And people responded in the positive.
So did our partnership yield a nicely painted up, sharp looking, eye catching car? You bet. Did we have signage at the track, viewed by the 30,000 people in attendance and the millions on television? Of course. Did we get one-on-one conversations with people visiting the track? More than we could count. Did we get a car that ran in the Top 10 most of the race and finished in the Top 15? Oh ya. How about media coverage? ESPN, Speed TV, AP, local news…yup, they were all there.

But the best thing we got out of this partnership was a new spokesperson and advocate.

You see, what all the research we’ve undertaken here recently at IL Corn has indicated is that despite the issues, it’s the people that matter. You can dispute someone’s facts, but you can’t dispute their feelings. That is a lesson that we in agriculture need to take close to our heart. People carry messages. And we have some of the best people in the world, right here in our midst.
So yes, I’m a new fan of Kenny Wallace.

I’m a new fan of NASCAR.

And I’m a fan of Illinois Corn Farmers.

We reached countless people over the weekend with Kenny Wallace. As a checkoff contributor you can feel proud of that.
Illinois Corn Farmers are in the driver’s seat. Where will you take the opportunity to have a conversation?

nascar ethanol wallace

Tricia Braid
ICGA/ICMB Communications Director

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:
Kenny Wallace Announcement
Family Farmers are the Face of Agriculture
EPA Approves e15 for 2007 Model Years and Newer


Hopefully over the weekend, all our Corn Corps followers had an opportunity to check out the news.  And if you didn’t, here’s the biggest news item we’ve seen in a while.

Illinois Corn has entered into a promotional partnership with Kenny Wallace, NASCAR so that we can better tell the story of Illinois corn farmers and their families to a much, MUCH bigger audience.

At the same time, NASCAR announced on Saturday that they are moving to a 15 percent blend of ethanol to gasoline for the 2011 season.

nascar kenny wallace combineLet me tell you, if these two announcements in one weekend don’t excite you, I’m not sure what will.  According to, NASCAR is the No. 1 spectator sport — with more of the top 20 highest-attended sporting events in the U.S. than any other sport — and is the No. 2 rated regular-season sport on television. NASCAR fans are the most brand loyal in all of sports.

I think what this means is that if Kenny Wallace says corn farmers are good, NASCAR fans will believe him.  And if NASCAR says that all vehicles run well on e15, American’s will line up in droves to by it.  Looks like we’ve got a perfect test case on our hands.

Can’t wait to see the results of this dynamic partnership!

Lindsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Director