SBD/March 7, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Firestone To Exit IndyCar Series At Conclusion Of Upcoming Season

Firestone's contract with the IndyCar Series expired on Dec. 31
There "won't be Firestone tires on Indy cars after the upcoming season," as the Izod IndyCar series were unable to renew its deal with the tire provider, according to Curt Cavin of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. Series officials "made a last-ditch plea to keep Firestone involved" after the company's contract expired on Dec. 31, but Bridgestone Firestone Racing Exec Dir Al Speyer said that the sides "couldn't agree how to keep the program intact." Firestone "has been in Indy-car racing the past 21 years, 16 in an exclusive deal with the IndyCar Series." IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard said finding a replacement "is my top priority." Bernard "confirmed discussions with Goodyear, Hoosier, Cooper, Avon, Continental and Pirelli, among others." Cavin noted IndyCar is "on the verge of introducing a new chassis and engine package for the 2012 season," and officials had "hoped Firestone's tires would provide a constant for testing scheduled to begin in July" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 3/5). Speyer said, "We evaluated all sorts of options, some worked for us and didn’t for them and vice versa, but we just couldn’t find a sweet spot. ... The world has changed immensely in the last 20 years and we’re looking for new ways to promote the Firestone brand. And at the end of the day we’re simply going in different directions" (SPEEDTV.com, 3/4).
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