- Jacques Villeneuve will attempt to make Indianapolis 500 starts 19 years apart, bettering Cy Marshall & Roland Free's 17-year gap set in 1947.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Firestone Back Through '13

A week after announcing their exit from INDYCAR racing,  Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC announced today that they will return through 2013 as the sole tire supplier.

"At the end of last week, we had reached the deadline where both organizations had to make a decision regarding the future to prepare our individual operations for the long term," said Randy Bernard, CEO, INDYCAR. "This is one of those decisions that it is imperative that you have the team owners 100 percent behind you.  Early this week we called a meeting to walk the team owners through the process and hear their input.  I'm happy to say we walk as one with Firestone.

"We feel that this new supply agreement will benefit everyone. It provides a proven safe and reliable Firestone product for the transition to the all-new cars for 2012. We have to thank everyone at Firestone for working with us to help ensure the best for the long-term growth of our sport," Bernard said.

The late rally to bring back the long-time tire supplier gives relief to both the league, drivers, teams, and fans after what would have been a huge loss. No time is a good time for such an active sponsor to leave the series, but with the introduction of the new formula in 2012, the situation was turning desperate.

"We are pleased that we were able to reach this agreement with INDYCAR," said Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing.  "As we prepare to celebrate our involvement in the 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, we are also focused on the future and the great opportunities that lie ahead. While we've reached the pinnacle of success in the IndyCar racing, we're happy to extend our relationship with the IZOD IndyCar Series through 2013, and to continue our winning partnership.  Meanwhile, we will continue to evaluate all options for promoting the Firestone brand inside and outside of motorsports, as the Firestone Brand is a very important part of our business."

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