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RACING NEWS: TIRE COMPANIES HEAT UP RIVALRY; NASCAR PRODUCTS

     With its entry in the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami,
Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. will offer Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
its first challenge for the title of "undisputed leader in
IndyCar racing tires" in 21 years.  "It is the revival of a
Rubber City rivalry that has lain dormant for more than two
decades" (Glenn Gamboa, Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 3/5).
     NASCAR MERCHANDISING BOOM:  AP's Paul Newberry examines
NASCAR's merchandising "boom."  Nye Lavalle of Dallas-based
Sports Marketing Group: "There's tremendous fan loyalty in
NASCAR.  NASCAR drivers as a group are far more popular than
athletes in other sports."  Newberry writes, "That's obvious when
you attend a Winston Cup race.  Nary a fan fails to deck himself
out in the colors of his favorite driver."  Lavalle said NASCAR
is not a regional sport anymore and noted that his company was
"stunned" when their polling research found that Winston Cup is
"most popular" in the Rocky Mountain Region, not the Deep South
as "everyone assumes."  Still, many "big-time companies shun
stock car racing, assuming its popularity is confined to
Southerners, that it's 'somehow beneath them'" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
3/5).     CHEVY NEWS:  Chevrolet notes that Sterling Marlin's
Daytona 500 victory "marked the triumphant debut of the new Monte
Carlo to the NASCAR Winston Cup series" (Chevrolet).
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Related Topics:

General Motors, NASCAR, R J Reynolds

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