A multi-state coalition of farmers and agribusinesses announced this week their promotional partnership with NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Kenny Wallace, who will serve as a spokesman for family farmers and renewable fuels for the entire 2011 racing season.
The agreement also makes family farmers the primary sponsor of RAB Racing’s No. 09 Toyota Camry, driven by Wallace, at five races this season, with the first at Phoenix International Raceway on Feb. 26.
Participants in the family farmer coalition, to date, include the Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB), the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA), the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC) and Marquis Energy.
“Kenny is the perfect spokesperson for family farmers,” said Scott Stirling, ICMB chairman and a family farmer from Martinton, Ill. "His passion for racing mirrors exactly the passion that family farmers have for their work growing food, feed and fuel for their families and for all of America’s families. We’re honored to be part of this coalition on behalf of America’s family farmers.”
Doug Winter, a family farmer from Mill Shoals, Ill., and current ISA secretary, said: “Illinois soybean farmers are proud to partner with Kenny and participate in the upcoming NASCAR season. This is a great opportunity to emphasize the connection between racing families and farm families. We look forward to Kenny talking about the connection between soybean farmers and livestock during several events this year.”
Kevin Hurst, a farmer from Tarkio, Mo., added: “We’re excited to have Kenny, a native Missourian, advocating for family farmers. Family farmers play an important role my state’s economy, but as is the case across the country, many people are unaware that families still own and operate more than 90 percent of farms.”
In addition to the farmer organizations involved, Marquis Energy, one of the Midwest’s leading producers of environmentally friendly energy, chose to join in the partnership, with Wallace as a spokesperson for family farmers and renewable fuels, including ethanol.
“With NASCAR’s decision to move to a 15-percent ethanol blend in all their races, the opportunity to have Kenny share our story with 75 million racing fans is incredible,” said Mark Marquis, president and CEO. “Ethanol is a great choice for healthier air, healthier economies and stronger national security."
Wallace joins RAB Racing with Brack Maggard for the 2011 Nationwide Series season. He has competed in more than 800 events in NASCAR’s top-three divisions, including 488 Nationwide Series starts, with nine wins, 10 poles, 63 top-five and 159 top-10 finishes. In addition to his on-track accomplishments, Wallace is recognized as one of NASCAR’s most popular drivers – having been awarded the Nationwide Series Most Popular Driver award in 1991, 1994 and 2006.
“Getting to know the hard-working family farmers of this country has been a fantastic experience for me,” Wallace said. “I’m so excited to be their spokesperson, sharing the truth about what they do and the products and food that are made from their crops.
“The best part is that I’ve come to understand that our nation’s farmers are just like you and me. They want what’s best for their families, just like us. And like me, as a NASCAR driver, they are responsible for their own work and take that responsibility very seriously. I’m humbled that they’ve chosen me to be their advocate with dedicated racing fans,” Wallace said.