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NASCAR driver Kurt Busch visits POET

Saturday, July 28, 2012

(Photo)
POET General Manager David Brooks (right) explains the process that makes ethanol to NASCAR driver Kurt Busch Friday morning. [Order this photo]
CLOVERDALE -- It was literally a story of the rubber meeting the road when NASCAR driver Kurt Busch visited the POET ethanol Friday morning.

NASCAR made the switch to Sunoco Green E15 and is a leader in the push to bring accurate information about renewable fuel sources to the public. Busch's visit gave him a behind the scenes look as the process that powers the cars on the NASCAR circuit.

Busch donned a white POET hardhat, safety glass and toured the plant with POET general manager David Brooks leading the way. Busch and a small group toured the POET facility inside and out and the NASCAR star noticed the similarities between other industries.

"It reminds me a little bit of some of the brewery tours I was on with Miller Lite, driving that car the last six years, with different stages and how they get the product in and what the process is to turn it to the next stage. Except this is 200 proof stuff -- this is potent," Busch said with a smile.

Busch said it was nice to see a program like that at POET come together and benefit local businesses. Brooks was quick to agree.

"Ethanol has brought a lot of good things to rural communities, providing jobs and value back to the farmers. It's a good thing and we have to keep it going," Brooks said.

"I drove the Shell car last year and went to a few of the places where they get the oil out of the ground and the process of how to separate the natural gas versus the fuel and the oil," Busch said. "You see the upstream side and the downstream side. It's amazing how you have the beer, fuel and the corn industry all so close together.

"It's amazing what we can do with just the products we find in the earth. What we grow and how we turn it into what we use every day and then the programs that are involved with sponsorship with NASCAR. It's amazing how it's all tied together real closely," Busch added.

During the tour, the group made a stop in the control room where all systems of the plant can be managed. As Busch spoke with some of the workers, Brooks noted that two were veterans and this is where Busch's girlfriend and businesswoman Patricia Driscoll stepped in.

Driscoll is the President and Executive Director of the Armed Services Foundation, which assists service men and women with financial assistance, career and educational services and building morale. She described how the foundation in addition to helping veterans in those areas, also gives wounded service men and women a chance to enjoy a day at the race as well.

"We bring wounded troops to the track at every race, so that we remind people that we have troops that have come back home that are in your community. You have a lot of guardsmen and reservists that don't get the thank you they should," Driscoll said.

"It's neat to see her program," Busch said. "We bring guys from the region to the race. We'll see everybody this week from the Indiana program and then next week when we go to Pocono, it will be Pennsylvania guys. We really get into the heart of communities."

Once the tour was over and the group returned to the main office, Busch quickly turned from student into teacher as he talked about many aspects of racing on the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. The topics ranged from drafting to pit lane speed with everyone listening intently.

After Busch departed, Brooks said it was a good thing to have a driver from the Sprint Cup Series come out and see the process that goes into helping make the fuel that powers their cars.

"With American Ethanol right now partnered with NASCAR and with them supporting the use of ethanol and our fuel -- it's been fantastic," Brooks said. "There's a lot of misinformation out there and we want to continue to educate the public and it's great to have NASCAR involved with ethanol now with E15. We know it runs well and we hope the Nationwide Series with get to that E15 level across the board and people can see the difference in the fuel.

"Having Kurt Busch was fantastic," Brooks added with a smile.

For more information about POET and ethanol fuel, visit www.poet.com