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How NASCAR aims to reduce its carbon footprint

Kentucky Speedway.jpg
Kentucky Speedway/Scott Tengen

As Kermit the Frog so wisely noted, it's not easy being green, but in NASCAR's case, the stock car racing association is trying to drive more sustainable behavior with two programs that were launched this month.

Both programs aim to capture the carbon produced by on-track activity. 

Kentucky Speedway spokesman Tim Bray says the track in Sparta is taking part in the programs as it has in  previous years.

"The one thing that is very apparent is that the green initiative here at Kentucky Speedway encompasses a lot of different things from recycling to planting of trees," said Bray.

He said the tree planting program that's part of  NASCAR's green efforts is significant.  It's being expanded this year in a partnership with UPS and the Arbor Day Foundation.

How significant are those trees?

This year, NASCAR plans to plant more than 8,000 trees in markets with NASCAR Sprint Cup races.  That means the Kentucky Speedway will be planting 90 trees.    Last year, it planted 50 trees at Turkey Foot Middle School in Edgewood.

NASCAR said all those trees will "absorb carbon emissions equivalent to all of the racing in NASCAR's three national series for the entire season."

NASCAR also notes, "One mature tree over the course of its lifetime absorbs about one metric ton of carbon dioxide, the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a NASCAR Sprint Cup car driving 500 miles.

What about that second initiative?

It's called NASCAR Race to Green.  The program, as NASCAR puts it, "will galvanize teams, tracks, drivers, official NASCAR partners, and most importantly  fans, around the theme of protecting and preserving our environment."  That includes a call for fans and the industry to pledge trees that will be planted across the country as well as in areas recently hit by natural disasters. 

Fans can visit www.NASCAR.com/green to donate trees for $1 for a 2-3 foot sapling.