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There won't be IndyCar without Firestone

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There won't be IndyCar without Firestone

Firestone will remain the brand of choice -- the only choice -- for the IZOD IndyCar Series for at least the next six years. Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC and IndyCar jointly announced the five-year contract extension on Dec. 21, 2012.

As part of the partnership extension, Bridgestone says it will increase its commitment to and investments in the series to help maximize the growth potential of the series.

“Firestone performance and safety have been synonymous with IndyCar racing for more than 100 years,” says Al Speyer, executive director of motorsports for Bridgestone. “We are excited about the opportunity to continue the ongoing success of this series by extending the Firestone brand’s history in the sport through the 2018 season."

(Speyer will retire executive director of motorsports for Bridgestone Americas in 2013 after 38 years with the company. Click here to read more.)

Bridgestone has supplied Firestone tires to the IZOD IndyCar Series since the league began in 1996. The announcement confirms that the Firestone brand will participate in the 100thrunning of the Indianapolis 500 in 2016.

“The Firestone brand’s significant contributions to IZOD IndyCar Series racing are the result of more than 100 years of experience competing in this sport, most recently as part of a continuous 22-year partnership,” says Jeff Belskus, interim CEO and president of IndyCar.

(The partnership almost ended after the 2011 season. For more information, click here.)

“The agreement expands our opportunity to continue working together to provide on-track excitement for our fans and grow the sport through coordinated and consistent off-track promotions."

The expanded agreement begins in 2014, and includes tires and technical support, investments in advertising, event promotions, at-track signage, hospitality, race title sponsorships and other programs. Specific details of the agreement and relationship will be announced next year.

The title sponsorship and official tire status of the Firestone Indy Lights series will run through 2013.

“One of our future aims is to help grow interest, so we look forward to welcoming a new generation of fans to the sport while at the same time energizing the existing loyal fan base," says Speyer. "Fans are the true end customer for both IndyCar and Firestone, and their engagement is fundamental to our mutual future success.”

The 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule includes 16 tracks with “double-header” races at Belle Isle Park in Detroit; Reliant Park in Houston, Texas; and Toronto, Canada. In addition to the partnership with the IZOD IndyCar Series, the Firestone brand will be the official tire of the race season kick-off, the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Fla., and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in Long Beach, Calif.

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