It's easy to take gasoline prices for granted when it comes to NASCAR, but the high-octane fuel used by competitors burns quickly under race conditions, drawing on some 6,000 gallons of fuel in a weekend. Supposing gas is at $2.83 a gallon, which is about the going rate for regular in many U.S. cities, that means that gas for a race weekend comes out to about $17,000... and that's assuming pump gas - NASCAR motors run on far more exotic (and costly) 110-octane leave-in-the-lead hooch. Ouch. Good thing Sunoco and NASCAR have a deal going where the latter gets the gas for free in exchange for sponsorship recognition.

NASCAR says that this fuel doesn't come out of the public gas stash; however, the diesel fuel that goes into the haulers and various auxiliary vehicles does. Because budgets are worked out a year or more in advance, the volatility of fuel costs can make for a shaky bottom line, and teams are making tough choices to cope. One solution is to make like the IRL -- convert to using 100 percent ethanol, which is on for the 2007 racing season. NASCAR has yet to indicate any interest in such a change, and all eyes are likely on the IRL to see how it works out.

So how about it? Is NASCAR a waste of fuel, and should the cars switch to ethanol? Or is this just the way things are, and should always be?

[Source: Delaware Online]


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