Goodyear wants to continue with NASCAR

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. executives had far more on their minds than solely announcing their five-year "Official Tire" agreement with Daytona International Speedway yesterday.

(See "Goodyear, Daytona Speedway sign five-year deal," Feb. 19, 2005.)

They wanted to let everyone know that they want to continue their tire arrangement with NASCAR's top-tier series, even after the current contract expires at the end of the 2007 season. Goodyear is the sole supplier of tires to the NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series.

Jon Rich, president of Goodyear North American Tire, began his remarks to a large contingent of racing media by saying that Goodyear had celebrated 50 years with NASCAR in 2004. He also said, "NASCAR officials have come to us to extend our agreement.

"I can’t imagine the Great American Race without the 'Great American Tire Company.'"

Stu Grant, general manager of global racing tires, said that Goodyear plans to continue its support of NASCAR and stock car racing.

Goodyear first signed an exclusive tire deal with NASCAR for three years in 1997, according to Grant. It signed another three-year extension in 2000, and then a five-year deal through the end of 2007, Grant told after the press conference at Daytona International Speedway.

One of the reasons Goodyear chose to announce the extension at this time was to address rumors that have been reported about the desire of Bridgestone Corp. and Groupe Michelin to get involved with NASCAR.

Goodyear's desire to continue with NASCAR is clearly spelled out by Rich in the company's newly released "2005 Racing Media Kit." Here are some excerpts.

"NASCAR is a terrific brand, not unlike Goodyear. It's the fastest growing sport in America, with huge audiences at the tracks and watching television with worldwide reach. Also, its drivers understand the importance of their fans… and those fans are our customers. What's more, through the years they buy significantly more Goodyear branded tires than other customers. Finally, racing pushes our technology advancements in the most demanding conditions. That makes our consumer tires even better.

"The bottom line is we race because we like to win. Racing is part of our heritage, and we intend to be in racing for as long as we can see. Our dealers love NASCAR. We've been the exclusive tire of its top three series, Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck, since 1997, and we intend to be in NASCAR racing for decades to come.

"Meantime, Goodyear looks to do more racing activation with its dealers through in-store sales promotions, including race-day and race-week activities at locations within a certain radius of the tracks. There's on going advertising and driver appearances and much more to come with product launches and other key initiatives."

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