Weather Delays Ethanol-Powered Race Drawing People From Across the Country to Kearney


Weather conditions put the brakes on an ethanol-powered competition in Kearney Saturday and stalled it on Sunday.

"The track temperature is around 45 [degrees]. The slicks that these race cars use, they just don't hook up and it's dangerous," said Grady Koch, KRP marketing director.

More than 200 competitors at the Ignite Ethanol NHRA National Open could not get behind the wheel due to the wet track and cold temperatures.

Drivers came from as far away as California, Texas and Arkansas for this weekend's event.

Top alcohol dragsters can reach speeds of 220 miles per hour with a high octane blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent unleaded gasoline in their tanks .

Ignite Racing Fuel has just been around for the last few years. The owner says, while the percentage of gas may vary slightly at the pump, their blend is the same every time.

"Grown here, made here, raced here, but now we are doing, grown here, made here, raced everywhere because of the global appeal of ethanol. We are selling fuel to Japan, Dubai, so we are opening a lot of doors which benefit the farmers and everyone here in Nebraska because we benefit the farmers and are opening up new markets," said Jay Barry.

John Oder, of Osceola, has been racing for 15 years, but this is his first season switching to ethanol.

He said his Chrysler generates more miles per hour, tork and horse power, but uses 30 percent more fuel than gasoline.

"Main thing I’ve noticed is the consistency is so much better than what it was before. You do burn a little bit more of it because it takes more of it but that's more made up in the performance gain that I get out of it. I have definitely noticed an increase in performance," he said.

Oder also adds there's a learning curve when changing to ethanol racing fuel. He had to change out some parts under the hood and find out what engine temperatures work best when driving quarter-mile bracket races.

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