Indy 500 wave green flag for sustainability with high goals

A reimagined E-Z-Go cart, which is basically filled with garbage, can be found just a few feet away from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's iconic pagoda.

Indy 500 wave green flag for sustainability with high goals

A reimagined E-Z-Go cart, which is basically filled with garbage, can be found just a few feet away from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's iconic pagoda. Plastic bottles that were thrown into the recycling bins months back are now neatly stacked in rows and available for purchase.

You can also be fast.

Indy 500 T-shirts are stored in the electric cart, which houses many of them. They are just as soft as regular merchandise and about the same price. It's no accident that they are getting prime retail space right next to the famous racetrack.

They are the heart of IndyCar’s latest green push, "The Penske Initiative." They are taking increasing steps, some more than others, to hold carbon-neutral races by 2050. No, really.

Although IndyCar has truckloads of fuel, tires and countless pollutants, what was once considered laughable is now a feasible goal. This doesn't even include the waste associated with hosting almost 300,000 fans at Sunday's 106th Indy 500.

Doug Boles, long-time president of IMS, said that "it's baby steps." It's like a hundredth of a second for cars. Although it doesn't seem that much, if you add four to five changes, you suddenly have a tenth. This is where we are. These are small things that, at the end of it all, hopefully have a huge impact.

This includes the suspension of traditional balloon releases due to concerns about wildlife and environmental impacts.

Here are some of the most notable initiatives Penske Entertainment has taken to combat global warming, and to do its part in sustainability.


IndyCar will be the first North American racing series that uses 100% renewable fuel for its race cars.

Shell, the long-standing sponsor of the open-wheel series' fuel, announced Friday that it will switch to a lower-carbon fuel in 2023. It will consist of second-generation sugarcane waste ethanol and other biofuels. The fuel will be 100% made up of renewable feedstocks as per the applicable regulatory frameworks. According to the oil giant, the fuel will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% when compared to fossil-based gasoline.

Mark Miles, Penske Entertainment CEO and President, stated that "You have to be part of solutions." "Carbon reductions are possible because of great technology and innovative people. Both are available to us.


Firestone has been working since 2012 on a new type of tire and is now close to completing the project.

A decade ago, the tire manufacturer opened a research centre in Mesa, Arizona. There, hundreds of biologists and chemists were hired to develop the guayule plant. Guayule is the future of racing tires and produces natural rubber.

About 90% of the world’s rubber is produced in Southeast Asia by Hevea brasiliensis. It is costly to harvest those trees and bring the rubber back home to North America. This creates a large carbon footprint. Geopolitical instability can also make it difficult.

Guayule is an alternative to other crops that is more affordable and lasts longer. It requires about half the water of other crops, and can be renewed in three years.

Guayule tires were distinguished by their green-painted sidewalls and made their IndyCar debut at the Pit Stop Challenge. IndyCar will test them at the Music City Grand Prix in Nashville in August. They will be using tires partially made of guayule rubber.

Cara Krstolic (director of race tire engineering at Bridgestone Americas Motorsports) stated that "You don’t want to go straight towards the Indianapolis 500." "You want to go in stages." Racing is a lot of fun. Every once in a while, you can show off something that will end up in your car.


Penske Truck Leasing used two fully-electric tractor-trailers to transport all of the May race tires from Firestone's distribution centre. IndyCar has a high-speed charging station located at IMS which can charge a truck as close to 100% in three hours. Twelve trailers with tires were moved by the trucks in six trips.

For a fleet that travels across the country frequently, the expansion of electric tractor-trailers as well as the installation of additional charging stations could be the next step in reducing carbon emissions.


IMS launched a pilot program to collect food waste and send it off-site to a composting facility in May. The trailer is being used daily by food banks to store pre-prepared and unutilized food.


This week, Indy's most popular item has been the electric golf cart that is filled with recycled clothes. Officials plan to move the cart from its current spot in Indy over the next two weeks. The cart has a range of 50 miles and is equipped with an electric generator that runs LED lights as well as a point-of sale device.

The shirt is partially made from 6 1/2 plastic bottles. It also uses water-based inks. Five designs are available, ranging from $32 to $35.

Raeann Suggs is senior buyer of merchandise at IMS and IndyCar. I would have said, "I don't want to buy a shirt made from plastic bottles." It's going to end up being garbage! It's garbage, but it feels incredible."