IRL: Firestone works with Unser Children's Discovery Center

Firestone Racing Helps Launch Unser Children's Discovery Center Project PHOENIX, Ariz. (March 14, 2002) - The combination of Al Unser Sr. and Firestone tires was often unbeatable on racetracks across America. That partnership enters a new era...

Firestone Racing Helps Launch Unser Children's Discovery Center Project

PHOENIX, Ariz. (March 14, 2002) - The combination of Al Unser Sr. and Firestone tires was often unbeatable on racetracks across America. That partnership enters a new era as the Firestone Racing program is now working to support the Unser Children's Discovery Center, a planned interactive educational facility in Albuquerque, N.M.

When completed, the center will serve multiple roles as a museum and learning laboratory, featuring racing memorabilia, racecars, educational learning stations, an IMAX theater, racecar simulators and automotive industry exhibits. The non-profit facility will also have special programs, displays and seminars to help young people pursue careers in automotive-related businesses, and will feature visiting historical collections made possible through the American Association of Museum's reciprocal artifacts program.

"I've been putting this together for nearly three years, with the hopes of creating a truly special learning center that is fun for the whole family," Unser said. "When I was growing up, I never imagined the incredible opportunities that would come my way through the automotive and motorsports industries. Hopefully the Unser Children's Discovery Center will provide a spark of motivation or a path to a prosperous career for many young people. That wouldn't be possible without the help of many individuals and businesses, particularly the Firestone Racing program. It's great to have so many good people working to make this dream a reality."

The Unser Children's Discovery Center will be located on historic Route 66 and Unser Boulevard in Albuquerque. According to Firestone Racing Executive Director Al Speyer, that location "is one of the most important automotive intersections in America."

"Route 66 was developed when America's top business leaders, including our founder Harvey Firestone, pushed the national 'Good Roads' and 'Ship By Truck' movements," Speyer said. "It became the Main Street for our country, linking communities and allowing people and goods to move quickly by trucks and automobiles. Unser Boulevard was created to celebrate the lifetime achievements of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Sr., who recorded many of his wins on Firestone tires. We think this intersection is the best location possible for the Unser Children's Discovery Center; it has tremendous historical significance for our company and we're proud to be involved from day one as the center grows and flourishes there."

Construction on the 50,000 square-foot facility is set to begin this summer, with doors opening to the public in the fall of 2003. A centerpiece of the center is a children's play station that will allow youngsters to crawl through a replica of a giant internal combustion engine.

"No other museum or learning center in America has anything comparable," Unser said. "When I was a new parent, I discovered very quickly that children will learn more if they're having fun in the process. That's what the Unser Children's Discovery Center is all about - having fun while learning. I'm confident it will be a great addition to our national collection of museums and learning centers, providing many benefits for years to come."

For information on contributing to the Unser Children's Discovery Center capital fund, set up as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, send an e-mail to unser@rt66.com or call toll-free (866) 258-6737. Inquiries may also be mailed to: The Unser Children's Discovery Center, 7625 Central Ave., Albuquerque, N.M. 87121.

Nashville-based Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC is a subsidiary of Bridgestone/Firestone Americas Holding, Inc., whose parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world's largest tire and rubber company. BFNT develops, manufactures and markets Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton and associate and private brand tires. The company is focused on wholesale and original equipment markets, supplying passenger, light truck, commercial vehicle, off-road, agriculture and other tires to its customers in North America.

The company has a long history of involvement with motorsports, beginning in 1909 when company founder Firestone recognized the research and marketing value of automotive competition. Since that time, Firestone tires have enjoyed tremendous success in all the major forms of racing, on tracks around the globe. Firestone tires were on the winning car in the first Indianapolis 500, and have earned a total of 52 victories at Indy - more wins than all other tire companies competing at Indy combined. Firestone is now the exclusive tire supplier for the Indianapolis 500 and the Indy Racing League.

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Series AUTOMOTIVE , CHARITY , INDYCAR