Entergy Nuclear (NYSE:ETR) started its first full season sponsorship of the Nuclear Clean Air Energy car driven by Simona de Silvestro at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix in Florida this past weekend. The nuclear emergency in Japan cast a particular spotlight on the message of the car.
As Entergy Chief Nuclear Officer John Herron watched the Nuclear Clean Air Energy car circle the road course around downtown St. Petersburg, he said, “There will be lessons learned from the tragic event in Japan. Incorporating those into our operations is a hallmark of the global nuclear industry. In the U.S., we have the toughest standards in the world, and we want to assure our communities that our plants are safe along with being a clean source of electricity.”
In the 25-car field, having a message on the side of a car is a new phenomenon for the IZOD INDYCAR Series that usually sports retail and automotive products. “Through history we have seen how sport transcends social barrier – whether race or gender or other – and can lead the way for new thinking. We believe we are doing this with the Nuclear Clean Air Energy message on our car,” stated Keith Wiggins, HVM Racing team owner. HVM is based in Indianapolis and Wiggins is a racing veteran team owner since 1984.
Driver Takuma Sato, sponsored by Panasonic, replaced his sponsor logo with a map and a message for Japan, his home country. He placed fifth.
De Silvestro also had a top five finish. She drove the first portion of the race in second place behind Dario Franchitti, the winner on Sunday. Finishing fourth, she demonstrated that she belongs in the lead pack of the best drivers in the world.
“I got questioned about Japan over the weekend but mostly about my new car, new chief engineer and my new sponsor, Entergy. I couldn’t be more proud to represent Entergy and this industry since I am a personal advocate for clean and safe nuclear power,” noted De Silvestro after her successful sponsor debut on Sunday. “I have been inside a nuclear power plant and seen first-hand the security and precision of operations at Entergy’s Grand Gulf Nuclear Station. I’ve been very happy to talk about that,” she concluded.
De Silvestro led a class tour for the Bishop Hall Charter School of Thomasville, Ga., of the paddock which is the temporary garage area set up for race teams. Students received a brief on electricity, nuclear power and had a few questions about Japan answered by Entergy staff. The principal, teachers and students were appreciative of the opportunity and the chance to ask questions about nuclear energy before hearing more from the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year, De Silvestro, about her car.
Herron added, “For many years, we have been sharing with the public all of nuclear energy’s benefits – safe, clean and vital to U.S. energy independence. Now, the public is asking questions, and we can start real conversations. This is our teachable moment. Even while we watch with great compassion as the people in Japan battle this extraordinary situation, Entergy is moving forward to better inform Americans about safe electricity production that meets their appetite for power.”
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, and it is the second-largest nuclear generator in the United States. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.7 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of more than $11 billion and approximately 15,000 employees.
Entergy sponsored nuclear message reaches Indy racing fans