Friday, September 21, 2012

Examining watermelon and ethanol (but not watermelon ethanol)

I've seen a recent spike in traffic on a 2009 post that described how watermelon can be used to make ethanol. So I thought I'd see if there had been any further progress in this area.

That's when I ran across this press release that happened to mention both watermelon and ethanol, but not watermelon ethanol.

MOORESVILLE, NC – September 12, 2012 – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie Ross Chastain returns to the Iowa Speedway for American Ethanol 200 presented by Hy-Vee on Saturday evening. The NCWTS last raced at the track just east of Des Moines, Iowa back in June and Ross and the SS Green Light Racing team finished sixteenth; he and the entire team are looking for a better run in the / Magnuson Hotels Toyota when the trucks hit the pavement in Iowa on Saturday night.

For those who don't follow racing closely, it should be noted that both the races and the racers often receive sponsorships. In this case, the race itself is named the "American Ethanol 200" (although I'm not sure how Hy-Vee is connected to this), and one of the racers is partially sponsored by

I visited to see if the site talked about ethanol, but the fuel was only mentioned on the site once, when the site sponsor (the National Watermelon Promotion Board) took the time to explain the difference between itself and another organization, the National Watermelon Association (not to be confused with the Compton, California hip-hop band):

The NWA supports the industry's research needs through scientific grants to numerous universities and other organizations each year with a keen focus on the highest research priorities. Disease research (i.e. vine decline, phytophthora, gummy stem blight, etc.), farming improvement research (i.e. plant grafting), and value-added research (i.e. ethanol) are examples of the NWA's investments that will provide answers and support to the industry's needs.

But throughout all this, I was unable to answer one basic question.

What fuel did Ross Chastain use in his truck?

(By the way, Chastain placed 11th.)

(And yes, the title of this post is intentionally derivative of that famous statement that young boys sometimes say on the playground: "She's a girl, and she's a friend, but she's not a girlfriend.")
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