After our test of the Project G.R.E.E.N. Camaro at New Smyrna Speedway (Jan. '11), I couldn't wait to go out and race the car. The combination of EFI and E85 had the motor pulling so strong around the track, that I knew we had a car that could compete with many of the Super Late Models in and around Florida.

Almost immediately after the test was done we began discussing when and where to race it. Some of the Project G.R.E.E.N. team wanted to race immediately while others thought that heading to a bigger show would benefit the project more. Me? I didn't care where we went, I just wanted to race.

In all of this we did have one major hurdle to clear. The Project G.R.E.E.N. Camaro isn't really legal...anywhere...yet. So we had to work with track promoters and tech officials to get a waiver to run it. Looking back it wasn't all that difficult. I guess when Circle Track magazine comes calling, tracks stand up and take notice. After several discussions we narrowed our choices down and with help from Dennis Huth at ASA and promoter Greg McCarns, we settled on the Trickle 99 at La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway.

The Trickle 99 takes place on the Friday of La Crosse's annual Oktoberfest race week, a four-day oval track extravaganza at the 1/2-mile speedway in West Salem, Wisconsin. Traditionally, the weekend features 20 different divisions and more than 800 laps of racing. Named for short track legend Dick Trickle, the Trickle 99 is a three-segment 99-lap race for Super Late Models. Each segment is 33 laps with a break in between when other companion races are run. That means we'd be able to work on and adjust the car during the breaks.

CT's Editor, Rob Fisher, wanted to debut the Camaro at a large event and Oktoberfest proved to be the perfect venue. "Our goal was to showcase the fact that new OEM technologies and alternative fuels could make effective racing platforms to a lot of people in one area. The packed grandstands of Oktoberfest did just that," said Fisher.

The Trickle 99 was going to be stacked with some of the most talented Super Late Model racers in the Midwest. Guys like Steve Carlson, Chris Wimmer, and Nathan Haseleu. It would be a true acid test for the Project G.R.E.E.N. Camaro. But there was work to be done before we hit the track.

Argonne National Labs
One of the big treats in this project for me has been the opportunity to meet new people and work in a different environment than the race shop. Part of our Oktoberfest race plan involved adding a data acquisition system to the car that would allow our project partners at Argonne National Laboratory to gather real time fuel flow measurements. In addition, the system would pick up CAN (Controller Area Network) signal codes that come out of the engine's ECU.

Once analyzed, this data allowed Argonne researchers to determine exactly when, where, and how much fuel was being used by the engine. Forrest Jehlik from Argonne told me that he was able to use this data to build a computer model that would allow him to accurately predict fuel consumption on the car to a 0.5-percent accuracy. Now that's some information I'd like to have at every race we run.

Arrival at the Track
Argonne National Laboratory is right outside Chicago and about a five-hour drive to La Crosse, so we left the night before the rest of the crew to get situated. We ended up parking in a closed Ford dealership right in front of the Fairgrounds. With the Project G.R.E.E.N. Camaro behind the hauler and in clear view of a main highway, we had a constant stream of people coming up to the car and asking us what division we ran, what the deal was with the motor, and more. The Camaro body and the LS3 engine really created a buzz, but when people found out we were going to run the race on pump grade E85, they often looked at us like we were crazy.