IRL: Nashville: Firestone preview

Firestone Celebrates Fourth Annual "Home" Race LEBANON, Tenn. (July 14, 2005) -- The Firestone Racing program and the teammates of Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT), are spending this week commemorating the fourth...

Firestone Celebrates Fourth Annual "Home" Race

LEBANON, Tenn. (July 14, 2005) -- The Firestone Racing program and the teammates of Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT), are spending this week commemorating the fourth annual running of the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway, which will take place on Saturday, July 16. Since 2002, Firestone has been the title sponsor of the Indy Racing League's annual stop in Nashville, which is home to the company's North American headquarters.

Always a highlight weekend for Bridgestone Firestone teammates, this year festivities have taken on even more significance as race-week activities for the company have been tied to its annual United Way campaign, this year titled "Racing to Help." Planned activities for employees include a running silent auction, raffles, an executive car wash and many others, all in an effort to raise money and awareness for the United Way of Metro Nashville.

"Two of our company's strengths are our legendary motorsports program and our commitment to supporting the communities where we live and work," said Al Speyer, executive director of motorsports for BFNT. "This week is a perfect example of how our business and our commitment to community service can work together to benefit a very worth cause."

On Thursday BFNT will host its annual race-week employee day featuring an IRL driver autograph session which will include nearly the entire field for Saturday's IndyCar Series race, as well as drivers from the Menards Infiniti Pro Series race, who will also race on Saturday.

Festivities will peak on Saturday when drivers from the IRL IndyCar Series take to the track for round nine of this season's 17 events. Andrew Firestone, great-grandson of Firestone Tire & Rubber Company founder Harvey Firestone, will serve as grand marshal for the race. Serving as honorary starter for the race will be Arthur Wilmes of Indianapolis, Ind., who won the chance to wave the green flag to start Saturday's race in an eBay auction which concluded on July 5. Proceeds from Wilmes' $3,550 winning bid will be donated to United Way of Metro Nashville.

"We're excited to have Andrew and Art participate in our pre-race festivities this week," said Speyer. "Andrew is very enthusiastic about our racing activities, all of which are a direct result of his great-grandfather's own enthusiasm for racing and how it could help build the Firestone brand, beginning way back in 1909. And we're thrilled that Art, a great racing fan himself, will represent us in the starter's stand -- he's very eager to get up there and wave the green flag."

When that green flag drops, every IndyCar Series competitor will be equipped with Firestone Firehawk racing radials, taking on a track known to cause tire wear issues.

"The abrasive concrete surface at Nashville Superspeedway makes it, without a doubt, one of our toughest challenges," said Speyer. "This year we've brought the same left-side specification we used here last season and a harder, more durable right-side spec which is similar to the one used earlier this season at Homestead, Texas and Kansas. In addition, our race tire development team is recommending that teams use higher inflation pressures in order to deal with the high speeds caused by the steep banking here. We're confident that we've found the right combination for another thrilling race at Nashville, which will cap off another exciting week for the entire Firestone family."

FIRESTONE FIREHAWK FAST FACTS

Race Distance: 266 miles (200 laps around the 1.33-mile oval).

Firehawk Race Tires Supplied: Firestone delivered 864 Firehawk racing radials for use this weekend. Each car receives up to eight sets of tires (32 total) for use as its team sees fit throughout practice, qualifying and the race. Tire specifications for this weekend include the same left-side spec used at Nashville last season, and a harder, more durable right-side spec similar to the one used earlier this season at Homestead, Texas and Kansas.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Andrew Firestone