- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 2, 2013

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - NASCAR is launching a month-long green initiative leading up to Earth Day and Arbor Day designed to drive more sustainable behavior within the sport.

The “NASCAR Race to Green” program is designed to galvanize teams, tracks, drivers, official NASCAR partners, and fans, around the theme of protecting and preserving our environment. The “NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program Delivered by UPS” will plant trees to absorb carbon emissions equivalent to all of the racing in NASCAR’s three national series for the entire season. One mature tree over the course of its lifetime absorbs about one metric ton of carbon dioxide, the same amount of carbon dioxide emitted by a Sprint Cup car driving 500 miles.

NASCAR Race to Green includes a call-to-action for fans and the industry to pledge trees that will be planted across the country as well as in a number of areas recently devastated by natural disasters. Through a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, NASCAR fans can visit https://www.NASCAR.com/green to donate trees - for $1 per tree for a 2-3 foot sapling - to be planted in those stricken areas.

As presenting sponsor of the NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program, UPS has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to commit to plant more than 8,000 trees - including 90 in each market where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for the remainder of 2013. Additionally, UPS will serve as presenting sponsor for the NASCAR Green Summit later this fall.

“Our NASCAR Green activities this month comprise our most ambitious and collective effort to date in reducing our sport’s impact on the environment,” said NASCAR chairman Brian France.

Other activities planned for April involving NASCAR partners are:

_ Martinsville Speedway, NASCAR and UPS will host an event officially kicking off the tree planting program during the race weekend.

_ Kansas Speedway will prominently feature the NASCAR Green logo on the infield grass and the backstretch wall and start/finish line will be painted green. A Toyota Camry Hybrid will serve as pace car for the race.

_ Pocono Raceway in partnership with NASCAR will be donating 8,000 tree seedlings under the supervision and monitoring of the National Parks Service. The donation is a continuation of a major reforestation effort that will eventually result in 150,000 new trees at the Flight 93 National Memorial, the nation’s permanent memorial to the 40 passengers and crew of United Flight 93, and all of those lost on September 11, 2001. The UPS Foundation will also donate 35,000 trees to this site.

_ Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams and drivers will feature the NASCAR Green logo on the B-post of their race cars. Additionally, NASCAR drivers are expected at a number of industry events throughout the course of the month.

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