Omaha, Neb. -- Paul Dana, driver for Team Ethanol, will be jumping into a Rahal Letterman IndyCar(R) Series car this year.



"This is a huge step up for us from a competitive standpoint, because Rahal Letterman has such an excellent track record," Dana said. "My teammates will be Buddy Rice, who won the Indy 500 in 2004, and, of course, Danica Patrick, who was Rookie of the Year last year."



Rahal Letterman Racing (RLR) is co-owned by 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal and television talk-show host and comedian David Letterman.



Team Ethanol is sponsored by the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. Executive Director Tom Slunecka said they could not be more thrilled with the switch to one of the best and well-known Indy Racing League teams.



"The Rahal Letterman team, having produced Indy car winners and having the sensation in race car and sports media Danica Patrick, is just a fabulous way for ethanol to get its name out to that many more people."



The 2006 racing season marks a major milestone for the ethanol industry, with the switch for all IRL cars to a 10 percent ethanol-blended fuel, and next year they will step up to 100 percent ethanol.



"This makes a huge statement on behalf of the quality of the fuel and its performance abilities," said Dana. "The best racers in the world and the fastest race cars are out there doing 220 miles an hour on ethanol. It will perform in your minivan."



This is the first time that a major racing league has sanctioned the use of ethanol in all cars and all races, and Slunecka said this proves ethanol performs at the highest levels in the most technically-advanced engines in the world.



"In order for consumers to feel comfortable about choosing ethanol, they have to know about the performance that this product provides to them, and our working with the Indy Racing League is vital to getting our performance message out to consumers."



While Dana said the teaming of ethanol and the IRL is a winning combination for the environment and U.S. agriculture, as well as contributing to the energy independence of the nation, he hopes to see Team Ethanol in the winner's circle this year as well.



"We're very proud to represent one of the largest business development initiatives in agriculture -- that, of course, being ethanol. And we want to win, we want to run up front and do a good job, and we want that ethanol car to be competitive."



For more information about Team Ethanol and ethanol in general go to www.drivingethanol.org.



The Ethanol Promotion & Information Council is an alliance of ethanol producers and industry leaders who have come together to spread the word about the benefits of ethanol through information and promotional programs. EPIC is a nonprofit organization and is overseen by a seven-member board of directors.



SOURCE: EPIC news release.