DeMetro Racing Sits Down and Talks Natural Gas
Kyle and John DeMetro of DeMetro racing recently sat down with me and talked natural gas and what it means to the sport of racing. DeMetro racing is sponsored by Friends of Natural Gas, New York.
Recently I was able to sit down with Kyle and John DeMetro of DeMetro racing. The DeMetro racing team is very pro natural gas development and is even sponsored by Friends of Natural Gas, New York. They are based out of Utica, New York and race in the Dirt Modified class. The DeMetro team understands the benefits surrounding natural gas development and also knows it is being done safely and responsibly right over the border in Pennsylvania. With the DeMetro family living in Utica they will not experience the direct benefit of Marcellus Shale development on their own land, but know how badly the rest of the state needs the economic boost natural gas development will provide.
Below Kyle and John answered questions about natural gas development and what it means for their racing team.
How did DeMetro get started?
Basically, like many kids I always wanted to be a race car driver. I used to go up to the speedway and watch the cars race but we never had the money to get our own team started as its quite an expensive sport to break into. When I was younger I was always involved with cars, I would only work on them though. As I got older college was coming up and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, I happen to be looking online and found that Alfred state had a motor sports technology program.
I applied for the program and got accepted. The first year was dedicated to working on regular cars. This entailed working on the breaks, suspension, electrical. The opportunities in the program were great because I was young, inexperienced and had the desire to learn.
In the second year, you were graded based on a project that you worked on for the entire year. When the second year started, I went to my dad and I told him that this was something I wanted to stick with so I purchased a race car that I could work on while at school and with the help of my teacher and other students I was able to get it built. We then took it to the local speedway, not knowing what was going to happen and we ended up winning a few races and started to realize wow, this is something that we could actually be good at.
How did you get involved with Friends of Natural Gas New York?
When we got done racing last year we had to look for sponsorship because we couldn’t really afford to do this on our own. So we were looking and looking and I was talking to my friends, the Browns, who live in Canton, Pennsylvania and they happen to have four natural gas wells on their property so we decided to reach out to some of the gas companies.
We went and did our own research and ended up contacting the America’s Natural Gas Alliance. After meeting with then a few times, we were able to put a plan together that worked for both of us. You have to understand we are very pro gas and have seen it developed in Pennsylvania safely with no problems. We spoke extensively with our friends in Canton and their experience with natural gas development. They had nothing bad to say and would do it again. They used to live on a dirt road which is now paved thanks to the gas company. The Browns were kept in the loop with everything going on throughout the process, they just really had a great experience with it.
How do you feel about Natural Gas Development coming to New York
We feel very strongly that it is going to come to New York eventually. My feeling on it is that New York really needs it. Unfortunately for us, though, our property does not lie over the Marcellus Shale so we may never see development directly. Overall, I am looking to stay in New York and I know New York needs this bad. Natural gas is here. There’s nothing in my 30 years of living here that even comes close to it. It’s safe and being done responsibly right over the border in New York. Just the economics surrounding natural gas is reason alone to bring it in. It’s something that we really need.
Right now, we are looking to to take our racing team in a new direction and especially looking to grow it. The things we have been able to do this year on this budget with this team has been phenomenal. We’ve had national coverage with Nationwide drivers and have even been featured on Nascar.com. We are looking to step our program up more and be able to travel further outside of our area. We would love to be able to go into Pennsylvania and New Jersey more.
We currently don’t run any vehicles off of natural gas, but we will be doing some vehicle conversions this year for our team. One of the things we are looking into is getting a tow vehicle that runs completely off natural gas. We know this is something that can be done. We just need the financial backing to make a switch and what’s nice about it is that it will eventually pay for itself. It’s going to be great to be able to fill up for so much less then we were ever able to do before. This is a viable and more economically sound fuel source. Everywhere we pull in there are hundreds of vehicles running off diesel. Seems foolish not to convert those to run off natural gas when we know it’s possible.
What we would love to do is get another race car and have that built to run off natural gas. Now, we won’t be able to race that car because of the regulations on the track for fuels used, but we would like to build it and have people take rides in it to show that it is possible. After doing some research into this, we think that it would only cost $2,000 – $3,000 to convert a race car to run off natural gas.
There is this balance that we need to find. People don’t want to convert their vehicles to natural gas when there aren’t many fueling stations and the gas companies have a hard time justifying putting the stations in when there aren’t enough people with natural gas vehicles. I think if we can show people that it is possible to do we will have more people converting their vehicles. It needs to start somewhere, so why not with us.
– Kyle & John DeMetro
The DeMetro racing team has plans to be in the Albany for the “Real Jobs For Real People” rally on October 15th. Like us, they are expecting a big turnout to show Governor Cuomo what New Yorkers really want.