Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

January 6, 2011

Who Is Making The IndyCar Call for Firestone? Inquiring Minds Would Like to Know More.

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:01 am

The latest bit of news that has the IndyCar fan world in a tizzy is the uncertainty about the future of Firestone in the IZOD IndyCar Series. The way it has been explained is also confusing. On the record, Firestone has basically said ‘none of your beeswax.’ What we know for sure is that the deadline to negotiate the contract beyond 2011 expired when 2010 did. IndyCar hopes for a renewal.

Conspiracy theories, predictably, abound. My favorite is that Firestone is mad because the Delta Wing did not get the nod as the next Indy Car. That one is mostly foisted by the hate brigade. More sensible heads have opined that the parent company and personnel largely ignorant of motor sports have taken a bean counting approach with respect to deployment of marketing dollars, and may feel limited dollars are better deployed elsewhere. Should they insist on a cessation of IndyCar involvement (as they already have with the Bridgestone brand in Formula One), there appear to be some really stupid Firestone people on the other ends of desks outside the country given the 100th anniversary hoopla and the natural long term momentum and marketing potential with high speed racing associated with their brand.

As a racing fan who appreciates the history of the sport, perhaps no other manufacturer is as inextricably linked to IndyCar as Firestone from the very beginning. They have won far more 500s than anyone and most IndyCar races over the years. Their promotion of the sport, especially recently, is quality stuff. Commercials rarely move people, but theirs do. Their recent agency-commissioned material in particular is brilliant. So is their product safety record.

Those on the inside say important people from Firestone who ARE close to the racing pieces are perplexed. Folks like Al Speyer have their heart in it, but someone else is calling the shots higher up the food chain.

Should we take the most pessimistic approach; i.e., Firestone leaves, what then? Idiots, of course, will portend doom as they always do. Race fans, on the other hand, see a new window of opportunity. Remember that the current Firestone program LEASES tires to teams. Leasing in general seems to be falling out of favor.

Also remember that Goodyear pulled out because IndyCar did not boot Firestone after Goodyear demanded exclusivity. Goodyear could get that now, but would we want that? Look how entrenched they are with NASCAR. They also own Dunlop and Kelly brands, however, and that opens potential doors.

Michelin could be a possibility (and they own  BF Goodrich and Uniroyal) but given the stunt they pulled at the USGP a few years back they are a lot of folks’ least favorite choice. A Continental/General partnership would certainly be intriguing. Even Pirelli has some potential. A natural, to me, is Hoosier.  The various Asian brands might drive folks away.

Regardless of what happens there are several viable choices. For my money the best possible choice is that Firestone stays. The history is too deep to let them go away again.

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4 Comments »

  1. obviously this isn’t ideal, but at least there’s some time between now and 2012. I’d like Firestone to stay, but if they don’t, I’d think Goodyear would jump all over it. But I’d take any reputable company from any country that would be a major contributing partner with Indycar.

    now…who’s the best sponsor for Lights? I say Miller Brewing…Miller Lights.

    Comment by redd — January 6, 2011 @ 2:06 am | Reply

  2. nice mix of xenophobia and racism with the asian tire comment. geez, there’s a lot of blather in your post so i’m gonna have to break my reply into multiple replies 🙂

    reality is that firestone is literally tired of spinning their wheels with ZERO return on their investment. to pull away from indycar as hordes of other companies have is just good common business sense. quite frankly, I, as a shareholder, demanded it. consider this a tread separation. you see, the irl….err indycar league is to Firestone exactly what the ford explorer was to them. the kiss of death. It’s OFFICIAL. Firestone says Sayonara to the defunct irl and soon to be indycar. さようなら 🙂

    Oh, and personally i prefer Pirellis. their Ultra-high performance version performs admirably on my 2008 BMW AC Schnitzer ACS3 Sport. good luck to the indycar league on their selection 🙂

    Editor’s Note: Why is the same tire company pulling out of Formula One? Are they literally tired of spinning their wheels in that series with ZERO return on their investment? Is that good common business sense too? Did you demand that as a shareholder too or did they take care of that all on their own? Is Formula One to Bridgestone what the Ford Explorer was to Firestone? I have not seen an official announcement Firestone is gone from the IZOD IndyCar Series, but I HAVE seen the official announcement they are gone from Formula One. Kid, you are getting a little better and get the message. You are on topic, but you are still pegging the stupidity meter. Keep on trying, though.

    Comment by Harvey — January 6, 2011 @ 2:28 am | Reply

  3. I think IndyCar needs see what the other tire makers have to offer. There are a few that would like the job. It might be a chance to get a better situation but at the cost of tradition.

    Like STP, Firestone could be vanishing from racing. Get Cooper and Goodyear on the phone. Get to work on something new. If Firestone decides to stay, fine. But don’t be held hostage.

    Comment by M. Miller — January 6, 2011 @ 1:28 pm | Reply

  4. Financially there may be coming issues with Firestone. To pull out of F-1 and also to be considering pulling out of Indycar tells me this goes beyond anything Indycar is doing.

    Comment by Bob F. — January 6, 2011 @ 2:10 pm | Reply


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