What’s That on Biffle’s Fusion?

Gary S. Vasilash

Some of you might have been wondering about that brand name on the hood of Greg Biffle’s NASCAR Ford Fusion last Sunday at the Phoenix race.

2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Phoenix

(c) 2013, Michael L. Levitt.autostock USA

No, not 3M.


Turns out that it is actually a 3M product, an environmentally sustainable fire protection fluid. The cockpit in Biffle’s Roush Fenway Racing car has a Fire-Trak fire suppression system from Metalcraft Inc. that uses Novec 1230 fluid.

The fluid is stored as a liquid but is discharged as a gas. Not only does it provide “a wide margin of safety is deployed in an enclosed area near Biffle”—which is certainly a good thing—it is also said not to affect the surface of the track, which is a good thing for those who want to keep the amount of time for yellow flags to a minimum.

Here’s a remarkable fact: It stays in the atmosphere for five days. HFC-236fa, which is used as a suppressant, “lingers for 240 years.” That would be 87,600 days.

According to 3M, Novec 1230 has a “zero ozone depletion potential and a global warming potential of one.”

Who knew?