As his NASCAR team goes green, Ryan Newman’s car shifts to neutral

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“We as a society have to take notice to make an impact,” Newman said (via the Associated Press). “I’ve never been one to pride myself in driving around an electric vehicle, but the reality is that makes a big impact. I’m a V8 (engine) guy with the rumble and a hot rod sounds good, looks good, and take the kids for ice cream in it — that’s me, right?

“The reality is that comes with a cost to our environment, and I’m aware of that more so than ever. There are things that we can all be doing better.”

Carbon neutrality refers to the net zero balance between carbon emissions and carbon absorption from the atmosphere.

To achieve this, Roush Fenway Racing says it plans to recycle 90 percent of every car — including oil, rubber, aluminum and carbon fiber. The organization has reduced its overall waste produced by more than 100 tons over the last decade and has reduced electrical usage and energy consumption costs. At its North Carolina facility, rainwater runoff is captured and contained for landscape irrigation, and idling has been prohibited to reduce emissions and air pollutants.

The initiative started with smaller, environmentally-conscious measures and evolved into a companywide effort. Castrol, a team sponsor, mandated that the team work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during their contract negotiations. It’s PAS 2060-standard carbon neutral certification was verified by independent evaluator ERM CVS.

“Roush has always prided itself on taking environmentally friendly steps, and we’ve done a number of things here with recycling, with rainwater collection, with solar panels and things of that nature, but it’s really been a series of one-off projects,” team president Steve Newmark told Autoweek.

Newman, a Daytona 500 winner, has spoken about his desire to see the sport strike a balance between environmentally-friendly initiatives and “the best interests of carmakers, fans and racers and not just one faction.” In Roush’s pursuit of carbon neutrality, he sees a step forward.

“This is huge for my daughters,” Newman told Autoweek. “For the generations to come, that we’re making an impact and that we’re doing it collectively.”

Newmark views it as an extension of NASCAR’s 2011 green initiative — which provided a stated goal to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint — and the a small step forward in the broader challenge to address the impacts of climate change.

“NASCAR got things started with its Green program with the ethanol fuels, solar panels at tracks and just having conversations about working toward environmentally friendly projects,” he said. “That’s what we’ve been doing over the years. The Next-Gen platform contemplates a potential hybrid engine component going forward.

“But Castrol took it to the next level. They made us aware of a broader world about what we could accomplish. I want to keep it in context. Our footprint is fairly small in the grand scheme of things, but I think it’s important to convey the message that it’s possible for even small businesses to look at their footprint and think about ways to reduce it going forward.”

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