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Nick Bromberg

Pocono is going to be powered by the sun

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When the martians arrive — or maybe they already have? — they'll have a new target to land at from outer space.

Pocono Raceway is building a 25-acre solar panel just outside the short chute between turns two and three that will be visible from space. It will contain 40,000 photovoltaic modules to catch energy from the sun and will be the track's primary electric-energy source as well as provide additional energy to the local power grid around the track.

“This is an important milestone for Pocono Raceway and our sport,” Brandon Igdalsky, President of Pocono Raceway, said in a release. “Pocono Raceway strongly believes in the NASCAR industry’s commitment to operate in a more environmentally responsible way and is proud to be the first race track to power our sport with clean, renewable sunlight as the world’s largest solar-powered sports facility. This solar power system, built with timber, steel and solar panels made in the U.S., satisfies all our Raceway’s energy needs, while helping to power local homes. This project demonstrates real sustainability and proves that any business that truly wants to go green, can do it.”

Because of a relationship with the Iowa corn growers and currently, APEX-Brasil, the IndyCar Series transitioned to an ethanol-based fuel in 2008, but Pocono will become the first track to use unconventional sources for energy. And who would have guessed that Pocono would be solar powered before NASCAR engines had fuel injection?

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