Local News

Pocono Raceway to drop 'green' flag

Posted August 9, 2009 11:11 p.m. EDT
Updated August 10, 2009 11:48 a.m. EDT

— NASCAR's image isn't exactly green, but the gas-guzzling racing industry is cleaning up its act.

“This has gone from a fire-breathing, big tires, loud exhaust smoke kind of atmosphere to folks that enjoy the competition but still respect the environment,” NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Carl Edwards said.

The Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., recently broke ground on what will become the world's largest solar farm at a sporting facility. The panels spread over a former parking lot will generate enough electricity to run the race track and support the local energy grid.

Nearly 20 acres of trees a year will be planted to offset the carbon dioxide from the race cars.

The track is also stepping up recycling programs by collecting and refining 180,000 gallons of used oil each year, as well as used tires.

NASCAR fan Ken Gregory said eco-friendly habits are rubbing off on fans.

“That's just the way it works: Whatever the driver does, that's what NASCAR fans do,” Gregory said.

Driver Brian Vickers said he hopes Pocono's green steps are just the beginning.

“There are 43 teams out here that can accomplish a lot. But there's 70 million fans out there that can do a lot more,” Vickers said.

The track hosts two NASCAR Cup races annually.