IRL: CHAMPCAR/CART: Goodyear Will Not Return as Tire Supplier in 2000

AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 26 - The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced today it will not return as a race-tire supplier to the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) and Indy Racing League (IRL) series next year, choosing instead to concentrate its ...

AKRON, Ohio, Oct. 26 - The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced today it will not return as a race-tire supplier to the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) and Indy Racing League (IRL) series next year, choosing instead to concentrate its efforts on the other forms of racing the company is involved with. "The company has enjoyed a long and successful history in motorsports competition around the world," said Stu Grant, Goodyear's general manager for global race tires. "Our longstanding commitment to racing has made this an agonizing decision. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify the significant capital and resources the company devotes to CART and IRL. "Our decision is based, in part, on open-wheel racing's present state of affairs in North America and the ongoing split between CART and IRL," Grant added. "Like many suppliers, we are certainly disappointed that no reconciliation between the two groups is in sight and therefore believe it is in the best interests of our shareholders, customers and the racing division to take a sabbatical from the CART and IRL series." As a result of the withdrawal, 18 engineering associates will transfer to other positions within Goodyear's Akron Technical Center while approximately 60 manufacturing positions will be eliminated. "We are firmly committed to our successful supplier and marketing partnership with NASCAR, as well as our commitment to many other racing series to which Goodyear is a tire supplier," Grant said. "The continued growth in fan base, track attendance and television ratings in NASCAR's Winston Cup, Busch Grand National and Craftsman Truck series represents a win-win situation for both parties. Racing will continue to play a major role in the company's track-to-street tire technology transfer and our marketing and advertising strategies." In addition to NASCAR, Goodyear also supplies tires to the World of Outlaws, NHRA, IROC, IHRA, SCCA, USRRC, ALMS and many other forms of auto racing. "We are committed to fully supporting our excellent group of Goodyear Racing Tire Distributors by providing quality products to help them continue to grow their business," Grant added. "Periodically we will reevaluate our decision to exit open-wheel racing in North America, just as we routinely revisit our 1998 decision to exit Formula One," Grant explained. "We cannot rule out Goodyear's future participation in North American open-wheel racing, particularly if CART and IRL reconcile, nor will we rule out a return to F-1 competition." Goodyear is presently involved in the largest expansion period in the company's 101-year history and is focusing its efforts and resources on growing the company's business activities on numerous fronts. As part of those expansion plans, Goodyear recently became the world's largest tire manufacturer following a strategic alliance with Japan's Sumitomo Rubber Industries and the company's Dunlop tire brand. As a result of the integration, Goodyear's annual sales are expected to increase by $2.5 billion in 2000.

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Series IndyCar