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Local News

A look at the tires, fuel used by NASCAR this weekend

Company has made strides to help environment

JOLIET – A single crew in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series TheHouse.com 225 will use an estimated 36 Goodyear racing tires and 70 gallons of Sunoco fuel this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway.

Assuming the entire field of 32 for the truck series race were to cross the finish line Friday, that’s about 1,152 tires and 2,240 gallons of fuel used by the series in one weekend. The calculation is based on the data provided by NEMCO Motorsports, which features driver John Hunter Nemechek.

The truck series vehicles will average about 4 miles per gallon at the 1.5-mile oval in Joliet.

The trucks, though, have the smallest field and shortest race out of NASCAR’s three racing series.

According to race entry information on Friday afternoon, the XFINITY Series TheHouse.com 300 on Saturday would have 40 teams participating. The main race, the Monster Energy Series Tale of the Turtles 400 on Sunday afternoon, has another 40 teams competing.

The NASCAR stock cars of the XFINITY and Monster Energy series average in the neighborhood of 4.15 miles per gallon, according to one of the company’s calculations.

Based on that average, a car in the Saturday race would consume between 65 and 75 gallons of gas, and a car in the Sunday race would consume between 90 and 100 gallons of gas.

Multiply that by 40 cars each, and you have 2,600 to 3,000 gallons of gas used in the Saturday race and between 3,600 and 4,000 gallons of gas used in the Sunday race.

That doesn’t include qualifying and practice lap usage.

Altogether, the three series will combine to use more than a few thousand tires in one weekend in Joliet.

NBC Sports, which has exclusive rights to NASCAR broadcasts, reported that in the 2015 season NASCAR’s top series used about 75,000 tires at a cost of $35 million.

In January, NASCAR announced it was reducing the amount of tires it would allow crews to use at five Monster Energy Series races while increasing the limit at eight races.

Chicagoland Speedway was reduced from nine sets to eight sets of tires available to each crew. The track is “standard” when it comes to tire use, according to one truck series team.

“However, compared with other tracks, such as Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where tires are used more, Chicagoland Speedway is good on tires,” NEMCO Motorsports Communications Director Courtney C. McGarry said in an email.

When asked for data regarding past tire usage and fuel usage at Chicagoland Speedway, McGarry stated both categories are “proprietary information.”

NASCAR, unlike the cop cars and snowplow trucks used for municipal services, is privately funded, making it difficult to access information that can tell exactly how much of an impact the sport has on the environment in one weekend.

NASCAR was able to dodge the 1970 Clean Air Act, which forced a transition to unleaded fuel in consumer vehicles, for nearly four decades.

It wasn’t until 2008 that NASCAR finally deployed a fuel without lead.

But it seems the company is making strides.

In partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, more than 400,000 trees have been planted across the country and near tracks to help offset NASCAR emissions. Some of those trees are in Joliet.

Since 2008, NASCAR has recycled about 120,000 tires and 200,000 gallons of oil per year, in addition to 25 million bottles and cans recycled at events since then.

In 2011, it started using fuel with ethanol, which produces up to 20 percent less emissions.

A handful of speedways NASCAR races at now rely on solar energy, though Chicagoland is not one of them.

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