NASCAR: Major announcement from Roush Fenway Racing

Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Ryan Newman, Roush Fenway Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Powered by Castrol, Roush Fenway Racing have announced that they have become the first carbon neutral race team in all of NASCAR.

Roush Fenway Racing announced today that they have made history by becoming the first carbon neutral NASCAR team, powered by Castrol, the British global brand of industrial and automotive lubricants.

According to a press release, the team achieved carbon neutrality for the entire organization for the period between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, according to the PAS 2060 standard as verified by ERM CVS, an independent third party.

Throughout the 2021 season, Castrol will power the Cup Series organization by supporting their carbon reduction and offset programs across their operations both on and off the track.

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The partnership is designed to help the team better manage their greenhouse gas emissions by tracking, quantifying, and reducing those emissions as well as offsetting the balance with high-quality carbon offsets.

As a nod to this announcement, Ryan Newman’s #6 Ford is slated to be “washed out” with an all-white paint scheme for this Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 at the Daytona International Speedway road course to signify the carbon neutral achievement and commitment to change.

The scheme is set to feature a grey Castrol badge and muted logos from the team’s other partners, including Ford Motor Company, Kohler Generators, Oscar Meyer, Coca-Cola, Guaranteed Rate, MacTools and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

Take a look below.

We had the chance to speak with Roush Fenway Racing president Steve Newmark about the matter ahead of today’s announcement.

“Historically, Roush Fenway has tried to innovate and be on the cutting edge,” Newmark told Beyond the Flag. “And we’ve actually tried a lot of environmentally friendly projects within our organization. We recycle over 90% of the car, we’ve reduced our weight. The way we built our buildings was with kind of solar orientation in mind.

“All of that said, historically, those have really been just kind of one-off, disconnected projects. And through our partnership with Castrol, they brought to us this idea and this concept of ‘Have we looked at, holistically, evaluating our carbon footprint?’ and trying to figure out ways that we can reduce our carbon emissions and actually become carbon neutral.

“And so that was probably not something that we were familiar with. We didn’t have the internal expertise, didn’t have the awareness, and Castrol really was the driving force behind the project, as they pledged to help themselves and other companies reduce their carbon footprint. So they guided us here. They put their resources behind the efforts and ensured that we did this the right way.”

Roush Fenway Racing’s partnership with Castrol only began last year, so they have been working under an accelerated timeline to get to this point.

“It has been under an accelerated timeline,” Newmark continued. “It’s been interesting for all of us because it’s been a very important project, but it has been a scramble because we didn’t have a good baseline. The reality of it is, our partnership with Castrol started last year, and obviously it was around their oil being in our cars and the traditional marketing/sponsorship relationship that you have.

“During our relationship development in the fall, Castrol came to us and said ‘We’d like you guys to consider embarking on a sustainability program with us.’ So that’s really when these discussions started in earnest, in the fall, and as part of that, the Castrol team and a lot of their internal resources globally worked with our facility’s group to start to quantify, track and measure what our existing footprint was.

“And so that was something that was a pretty elaborate process to go in and try to evaluate and track every carbon emission that you have as a company. And that involves not just the electricity we use or the fuel we burn, but the parts and pieces of the car. You have to track that: the extraction of resources, the manufacturer of the tires, the shipping of the parts to us, and make sure you take into consideration all of the carbon emissions that go into our full operation of the business.

“So that was really the first step, and then the next step was working with an outside global third party assurance company that monitors this and reviews everything that you do. And then we initiated and continued to evaluate ways that we can actually reduce our footprint, and so looking at different things that we can be doing as a company to be more cognizant of reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that we emit.

“And then the last piece was that there are unavoidable emissions that you’re going to have in operating any business, and of course, when you race cars and travel around the country to do so, you’re going to have carbon emissions as part of the ordinary course of your business.

“So the last step was to purchase high-quality carbon offsets to offset the unavoidable emissions. And again, we worked through Castrol to make sure that that process was done in the right way and that we purchased those high-quality offsets to make sure that we could then get to carbon neutral, which is where we’ve gotten, and we now are officially carbon neutral for 2020, and we will continue to do that going forward.”

For Roush Fenway Racing, the work doesn’t stop here.

“We think that being carbon neutral makes us better stewards for business, and probably just as importantly, we hope to send an example to any company, regardless of size or industry, to take small steps to become more sustainable and reduce their carbon footprint, and hopefully small steps from a lot of businesses can make a large difference in global climate challenges,” Newmark added.

They have not discussed the initiative with other NASCAR teams because they wanted to make sure they had done everything properly first, but their hope is that other teams will take notice and follow suit.

“Our hope is that we can show other race teams that this is possible and it’s achievable,” Newmark said. “And there’s no doubt that NASCAR is behind us in this initiative. … So I do think that we’ll continue to work with NASCAR about how the industry can make a positive impact.

“Now NASCAR has some of the details of what we’re doing but since we hadn’t announced it, probably the next steps will happen after it becomes public. We haven’t talked to any other race teams just for that reason that we need to finish the process ourselves, and it was a fairly elaborate process and there will be what’s called a qualifying explanatory statement on our website about it that has probably more technical speak than any normal fan would want to consume.

“But we needed to get through that process, check all the boxes, to make sure that we did it right with Castrol’s oversight. And then the hope is this will generate interest from other teams and players in the sport to see how they can reduce their footprints as well.”

Newmark hopes that this publicity will extend to other forms of motorsport as well.

“We don’t reach into those other sports, but hopefully they’ll see the press and the publicity, and then we’re always available to talk with them about how we went through the process.”

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Tune in to Fox at 3:00 p.m. ET this Sunday, February 21 for the live broadcast of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 from the Daytona International Speedway road course.