IRL: Nashville title sponsor announced

Firestone to sponsor IndyCar Series event at Nashville Firestone Indy 200 on July 19 starts three-year agreement with track NASHVILLE, Tenn., Wednesday, July 9, 2003 -- Firestone will sponsor the IRL IndyCar Series event on Saturday, July 19 at...

Firestone to sponsor IndyCar Series event at Nashville
Firestone Indy 200 on July 19 starts three-year agreement with track

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Wednesday, July 9, 2003 -- Firestone will sponsor the IRL IndyCar Series event on Saturday, July 19 at Nashville Superspeedway, the start of a three-year sponsorship agreement between Bridgestone/Firestone and the track, Bridgestone/Firestone and track officials announced July 9.

The Firestone Indy 200 starts at 8 p.m. (EDT) and will be broadcast live by ESPN2 and the IMS Radio Network.

Bridgestone/Firestone, based in Nashville, Tenn., is the Official Tire of the Indy Racing League. Firestone is the only tire to compete in all 79 IRL IndyCar Series races since the series' debut in 1996. The company has recorded 698 victories in various open-wheel series.

"It's a great honor for us to serve as title sponsor for Indy Racing League events in our corporate front yard," said Al Speyer, executive director of the Firestone Racing program. "Nashville is home to Bridgestone Americas Holding, Inc. and Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC. We have opened a new a distribution center just a few miles from Nashville Superspeedway, and we have several other facilities in this area, including tire manufacturing plants in La Vergne and Warren County.

"Many of our associates will be at the July 19 race this year and other IRL races in the future, taking great pride in our company's involvement with the fastest automobile racing in Tennessee."

The sponsorship of the Nashville event further increases the company's involvement with the Indy Racing League. Firestone and Michigan International Speedway officials announced July 8 that Firestone will sponsor the IndyCar Series event on July 27 at MIS, the Firestone Indy 400. Firestone also sponsors the IndyCar Series race Aug. 24 at Nazareth Speedway, the Firestone Indy 225.

This is the third consecutive year that the IndyCar Series has visited the unique, 1.33-mile concrete oval.

"Our long-term relationship with Firestone is important to the future success of the IRL IndyCar Series in Nashville," said Cliff Hawks, executive vice president and general manager of Nashville Superspeedway. "This long-term partnership with Firestone provides us with a strong community tie-in and gives us the opportunity to promote the event on a national level."

The Firestone Indy 200 is one of only three night races on the 2003 IndyCar Series schedule. The 1.33-mile oval at Nashville Superspeedway is the only concrete track on the schedule, which presents unique challenges to the Firestone race tire development engineers.

"This will be the third occasion the Indy Racing League has competed in Nashville -- each time with all cars on Firestone Firehawks -- and we've seen some amazing racing at every event," Speyer said. "The pole speed was 199.922 mph in 2001, then it moved up to 203.774 mph in 2002. We know the teams and drivers will be trying to go faster this year, and we're pleased our tires give them the confidence for such incredibly quick oval-track racing.

"At these speeds, the cars go the distance of a football field in less than one second, so they're putting a lot of trust in our tires."

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.

Tickets for the Firestone Indy 200 and the IRL Infiniti Pro Series event July 18 at the track -- are available now by calling toll-free at (866) RACE-TIX. For more information, log on to www.nashvillesuperspeedway.com.

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Series IndyCar