NASCAR driver Austin Dillon visits the POET biorefinery in Portland, Ind. to talk about ethanol use in race cars. NASCAR has been using Sunoco Green E15 for two and a half years.
NASCAR driver Austin Dillon visits the POET biorefinery in Portland, Ind. to talk about ethanol use in race cars. NASCAR has been using Sunoco Green E15 for two and a half years.

PORTLAND, Ind. — Biofuels are used in more than just everyday cars and trucks. NASCAR driver Austin Dillon stopped at POET Biorefining in Portland to talk about ethanol use in his car, one of the fastest on the road.

As part of his American Ethanol Heartland Tour, Dillon visited the biorefinery, signed autographs and answered questions about his racing career and ethanol use in NASCAR vehicles.

“Ethanol got linked with NASCAR a couple years back,” he explained. “Actually, this past year we’re over 400 million miles on ethanol-grade fuel, so it’s pretty impressive for NASCAR to switch over and make a big change in going to greener sport. We’re one of the first sports to kind of take that green initiative and use it.”

Dillon said he has seen impressive results while driving with ethanol fuel.

“The greatest thing about ethanol, for us, is actually we can create horsepower with it,” he said. “We’re all about speed — we’ve actually seen gains in horsepower, in speed, in being able to run longer on a fuel tank.”

One example of this happened at the Nationwide Insurance Dash 4 Cash, a race that Dillon recently won in New Hampshire.

“We went eight laps extra on fuel than we weren’t expecting to,” he said.

He credits the extra performance to the biofuel.

Dillon also promoted American ethanol by driving a flex fuel Chevy Tahoe on his tour of the Heartland. POET was just one stop on the way to Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, where he competed in a dirt race. “We’re just kind of taking a road trip,” he said.

“There’s a partnership with American Ethanol and NASCAR,” added Matt Tomano, general manager at POET in Portland. “They started running Sunoco Green E-15, and there’s a sponsorship on the car the Austin Dillon drives.

“As part of that, as part of promoting American ethanol, he actually made a decision to rent flex-fuel vehicles and drive from one race to another, so that he can also use the same E15 and all the way up to E85 that’s being used by NASCAR.”

POET was approached by Dillon, who wanted to visit the refinery as part of the Heartland tour.

“He actually called us and said, ‘Hey, I’m going from Chicago to Eldora. I’m going by Portland. Would you guys mind if I stopped in?’” Tomano said. “It worked out great. We said, ‘We’d love to have you!’”

Those interested in following Dillon on his journey can follow his Twitter account, @AustinDillon3.