Lesa France Kennedy to christen Goodyear Blimp

LESA FRANCE KENNEDY TO CHRISTEN GOODYEAR BLIMP ISC President to Christen New Airship AKRON, OH, June 15, 2006 - The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is proud to announce that Lesa France Kennedy, President of the International Speedway ...

LESA FRANCE KENNEDY TO CHRISTEN GOODYEAR BLIMP
ISC President to Christen New Airship

AKRON, OH, June 15, 2006 - The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is proud to announce that Lesa France Kennedy, President of the International Speedway Corporation and a member of NASCAR's Board of Directors, will serve as the official christener for its newest blimp.

France Kennedy, one of the most powerful and influential women in the automotive racing community and the sports business world, will join Lynn Keegan, wife of Goodyear Chairman and CEO Bob Keegan, to perform the traditional christening honors during a gala event held at Goodyear's Akron, Ohio airship operations base. The event will be held Wednesday morning, June 21.

"I'm thrilled to be a part of this prestigious event and the storied history of Goodyear's airship program," said France Kennedy. "Like a lot of people across the country, I can't wait to see what the name of the new blimp will be."

In front of what is expected to be a large audience, France Kennedy will officially christen Goodyear's newest airship by breaking a christening bottle on the craft's gondola. The christening ceremony is expected to attract more than 5,000 spectators, dignitaries, and Goodyear employees. Guest speakers and other entertainment will add to the festivities. After more than a year of construction and testing, as well as two months of operational flights bearing only its FAA designation N2A, the new blimp will finally receive its name and take to the air, joining its sister ship, Spirit of Goodyear, in a ceremonial two-airship formation flight.

"In the past, Goodyear often had the pioneering women of the day, such as Amelia Earhart or Sally Ride, perform the christening honors," said Chuck Sinclair, Goodyear's senior vice president of global communications. "Continuing that tradition, we are pleased to have Lesa France Kennedy join Lynn Keegan and take part in this historic event. She clearly embodies ground-breaking spirit and, like Goodyear, she is a strong proponent of the heritage and the future of auto racing at the highest levels."

The official launch of this airship marks the culmination of Goodyear's "Name the Blimp" contest, the first time in the 81-year history of Goodyear's world famous airship program that the public was given an opportunity to help select the name of one of the company's iconic blimps.

The Goodyear Airship Program

Goodyear's blimp program began in 1925, when the Company built its first helium-filled public relations airship, the Pilgrim. In 1928, then-Chairman P.W. Litchfield began the tradition of naming its North American-based blimps after winners of the America's Cup yacht race. The tradition continued over most of the program's 80-year history, with just a few exceptions. A list of winners from past America's Cup races whose names Goodyear selected for its airship fleet includes: Stars & Stripes, Columbia, Ranger, Rainbow, Enterprise, Resolute, Reliance, Defender, Vigilant, Volunteer, Mayflower, Puritan, and America. Within the past 40 years, Goodyear has selected other non-Cup winner names to grace the sides of its blimps. Those names included Europa, Spirit of Akron, Spirit of Goodyear and Eagle.

-goodyear

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