Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

March 7, 2011

The Indy Car Wheels Go Round and Round…But Not For Long With Firestone

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

The most legendary name in Indy Car tires over the years is Firestone. They have been on the cars of 61 Indianapolis 500 winners. Basically the only times they did not win were mostly years in which they did not participate.

It has been a long while since Firestone was an American company based in Akron, Ohio with Harvey Firestone in charge. Today it is part of a Japanese company that owns the Firestone and Bridgestone brands (and others). Recently that company pulled Bridgestone out of Formula 1. Now they are letting their contract with INDYCAR expire at the end of the 2011 season.

Firestone’s involvement in INDYCAR in the ‘IRL’ era has been amazing in terms of safety and performance. As an added bonus, their marketing efforts and national spots have also been top of the line. They will definitely be missed.

So who will replace them? Tony Cotman has occasionally dropped hints that point toward multiple manufacturers after 2012. That would be great. But who? There are several possibilities, and is something Randy Bernard is working on while in Europe.

Goodyear/Dunlop , Hoosier, Michelin, Cooper, Pirelli, Kumho, Hankook, Yokohama and others loom as possibilities. Some theorize that Firestone wants into NASCAR and that NASCAR would not mind seeing Goodyear go. That may or may not have merit; the Japanese parent is ‘refocusing’ its marketing efforts on other sports like golf. Personally a tire company that willfully has no involvement in motorsports seems ignorant. It is not my money, though.

As a consumer I bought six sets of Firestones since 1997 and patronized their auto care centers. Now I won’t. I have found it increasingly easy to patronize Indy Car partners over the years, and I am going to need to buy two more sets of tires in the next six months. The only thing I know for sure is that they won’t be Firestones. The will most likely be purchased from an enthusiastic Indy Car sponsor like the Service Central folks.

This development makes 2012 even more interesting with a new car, new engines, new aero kits and now new tires. There is never a dull moment!




  1. VIBRANT!!!!

    Comment by jb — March 7, 2011 @ 4:42 pm | Reply

  2. 2012 will be an interesting year for sure, but hopefully it is for the right reasons and not the wrong reasons. We still haven’t seen any real designs for the new car, no aero kits have been shown yet, and there has been no news from the engine manufacturers since Chevy and Lotus announced their involvement. Now we have to worry about who will supply tires. May is only a short two months away, hopefully this all gets sorted out by then. I’d like the 100th anniversary to be a celebration and not a farewell.

    Comment by Gary — March 7, 2011 @ 10:08 pm | Reply

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