IRL: Firestone Becomes Promotional Partner

FIRESTONE LAUNCHES 'FIRST AT '99' AWARD New award launches promotional partnership with Pep Boys Indy Racing League PHOENIX, March 26, 1999 - Firestone started its Promotional Partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation...

FIRESTONE LAUNCHES 'FIRST AT '99' AWARD New award launches promotional partnership with Pep Boys Indy Racing League

PHOENIX, March 26, 1999 - Firestone started its Promotional Partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation by introducing the Firestone First at '99 Award, a $10,000 check presented to the first Firestone-equipped driver in the running order after lap 99 at every Pep Boys Indy Racing League event. Raul Boesel became the first league driver to win the Firestone First at '99 Award. He was the leading Firestone driver after lap 99 of the season-opening TransWorld Diversified Services Indy 200 at Walt Disney World Speedway in January. "There is considerable significance to the Firestone First at '99 Award," said Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Director Al Speyer. "Next year we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., and we decided to start that celebration a year early.

"The Firestone First at '99 Award recognizes 99 years of accomplishments by Firestone tires in a variety of applications around the world. It also emphasizes our commitment to have a Firestone driver first across the finish line in every competition we enter."

The award is one element of several Promotional Partnership efforts between Firestone Racing and IMSC. Besides the Firestone First at '99 Award, the partnership will see Firestone Racing have an increased presence at 1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League events and in promotional materials. That includes Internet, radio, television and event program information geared to audiences in the United States and abroad.

In conjunction with the partnership, Bridgestone/Firestone is using two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk in a current television campaign for its consumer tires. Luyendyk gave Firestone its 50th win at Indianapolis in 1997.

A soon-to-be-announced major fan event at the Indianapolis 500 is another key element of the partnership.

"We are very pleased Firestone Racing is partnering with us to bring additional excitement and enthusiasm to the Indy Racing League," Indy Racing League Founder Tony George said. "Firestone tires won the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911, and since that race have continued to contribute much to motorsports participants and fans. This partnership will only increase the company's recognized dedication to teams, drivers and fans." In addition to Firestone Racing, other Promotional Partners with the Indy Racing League for 1999 are Coors, Delphi Automotive, MCI WorldCom, Oldsmobile, Pennzoil, Pep Boys, TransWorld Diversified Services and Sprint PCS.

"We're excited about being the first tire manufacturer in the promotional partnership," Speyer said. "To join these other prominent businesses in enhancing the series and working more closely with the IMSC is a great opportunity for us. We're confident our work together throughout the '99 season will add some very positive elements to the fan's enjoyment of every race."

The Firestone Racing program was initiated shortly after the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. was founded in 1900. Since that time, Firestone tires have appeared in many top forms of motorsports, including Formula One, NASCAR, the Pep Boys Indy Racing League, CART, sports car racing and many others. The Indianapolis 500 has been a particularly important showcase for the company, with the race being won 50 times by drivers on Firestone tires.

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Series Automotive , IndyCar
Drivers Arie Luyendyk , Raul Boesel , Tony George