IPS: IRL: Firestone St. Pete sponsor announcement

Firestone Named Official Tire and Associate Sponsor of St. Pete Grand Prix St. Petersburg, Fla. (November 30, 2004) -- Officials from the 2005 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT)...

Firestone Named Official Tire and Associate Sponsor of St. Pete Grand Prix

St. Petersburg, Fla. (November 30, 2004) -- Officials from the 2005 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT) announced today that Firestone will be the official tire and a major associate sponsor for the inaugural event, to be held April 1-3, 2005.

The Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the first street-circuit race in the history of the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series, will be run on a 1.806-mile, 14-turn course through the streets of St. Petersburg on Sunday, April 3, 2005. Practice and qualifying sessions for the event will be held on Friday, April 1 and Saturday, April 2.

"Firestone is one of the strongest brands in all of motorsports and we are proud to have them play such an important role in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg," said Barry Green, managing director of the event. "With strong sponsors like Honda and Firestone, this event will be one of the premier stops on the motorsports calendar."

The Firestone brand has appeared in world-class motorsports events across the globe since its debut as a race tire in the 1909 Indianapolis 300.

In 2005, Firestone will enter its tenth season of IRL competition as the only tire manufacturer to have participated in every IRL event since the league's inaugural race in 1996. Since 2002, Firestone has served as the official tire of the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, which has been won by a Firestone-equipped driver 55 times in its 88-year history.

"Obviously we're excited about the IRL's first street course event and the opportunity to showcase our street course tires for the first time in this league.," said Al Speyer, executive director, Firestone Racing. "Besides the competitive aspect, this is a great market for us. We have a great marketing partner in our Tires Plus locations and we're planning some exciting in-market promotions with them that will give us a chance to promote the event and our products at the same time. We're also very pleased that Barry Green and Andretti Green Promotions are spearheading this event and are confident they'll produce a great race we can all be proud of and continue to build on in the years ahead."

Nashville-based Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC, is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc., whose parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world's largest tire and rubber company.

JBFNT 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, agricultural and other tires to its customers in North America.

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Series INDYCAR , INDYLIGHTS