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Bridgestone/Firestone unveils Firehawk Indy 500 tire

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Bridgestone/Firestone Americas Holding Inc. (BFAH) has officially introduced its co-branded Firehawk Indy 500 entry-level performance tire, which mtdealer.com originally previewed in January.

The S-rated tire -- unveiled yesterday in Indianapolis, Ind., at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- targets SUVs, light trucks and some passenger cars.

It is available in 17 sizes through United States-based BFAH company-owned stores and independent tire dealerships, according to BFAH officials. The tire's price will range between $50 and $110 and will vary in different parts of the country, they say.

The tiremaker may make the Firehawk Indy 500 available in Canada and Mexico next year.

The co-branding deal with Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) -- a royalty arrangement -- lasts through 2005, when BFAH's current contract with the organization's Indy Racing League (IRL) expires.

It's the start of what IMS hopes will be a series of co-branding activities, says IMS President and CEO Tony George, who expressed his confidence in the Firestone brand and in BFAH as a company at the Sunday press conference.

BFAH considers the deal a key step in its efforts to rebuild the Firestone brand, according to Phil Pacsi, executive director of consumer tire marketing for Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC.

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