IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2005-07-27

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- July 27, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. Firestone tires keep IndyCar Series rolling 2. Wheldon joins with St. Vincent Hospitals 3. Fans can meet Meira at Menards 4. Red Bull Cheever Racing forms partnership...

INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- July 27, 2005

Today's IRL headlines
1. Firestone tires keep IndyCar Series rolling
2. Wheldon joins with St. Vincent Hospitals
3. Fans can meet Meira at Menards
4. Red Bull Cheever Racing forms partnership with IZOD

1. Firestone tires keep IndyCar Series rolling: The Firestone Firehawk tires used by every IRL IndyCar® Series teams cost much more than the ones available for passenger cars and last for only a hundred miles at the most.

But even with those limitations, each team knows that the tire they use will grip a corner at high speeds and have the durability under even the most extreme conditions.

"To have the best on-track racing product, you have to have the best tires available, and that's what the IRL has with the Firestone Firehawk," Indy Racing League President and COO Brian Barnhart said. "Giving our participants a reliable and safe product has always been at the forefront of Firestone's partnership with the League. They are constantly developing tires that drivers know are safe, and that enables them to produce the all-out competition that the IndyCar Series is known for."

The IRL's partnership with Firestone dates to the league's inception. Since 1996, there has been a Firestone Firehawk available to each IndyCar Series team -- a total of 113 races. Firestone became the exclusive tire supplier to the IRL following the 1999 season. In 2002, Firestone signed on as Official Tire for both the IRL and the Indianapolis 500, and assisted with development of future IndyCar Series drivers by creating the Firestone Firehawk Cup awarded annually to the champion of the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series^Ù.

"No one ever has a complaint about the tires," said Buddy Lazier, who used Firestone tires when he won the Indianapolis 500 in 1999 and the IndyCar Series championship in 2000.

"It's always a non-issue, which in a lot of years of professional motorsports, in a lot of series, the tires have been an issue. It just goes to show the commitment by Firestone that it took to win again and to come back into Indy-style racing 10 years ago. That commitment never relinquished."

Last year, Firestone and the IRL celebrated the 100th race in series history, and later this year, Firestone will collect its 100th IndyCar Series race win. This weekend, Firestone, the IRL exclusive tire supplier for the last six seasons, celebrates the 10th anniversary of its first major open-wheel victory after its 20-year hiatus at Michigan International Speedway.

"It's hard to believe we've come so far after just 10 years," said Al Speyer, the executive director of Firestone Racing who's guided the program all 10 years. "We swell with pride knowing so many drivers achieved great success with Firestone in the last decade. We've seen 54 different drivers win an IRL or CART race on Firehawk tires, and for 44 of those drivers, Firestone was the tire that put them in victory lane for the first time at this level. More than just the race winners, we're also proud that so many more drivers and teams trust our product implicitly. It's been a wonderful ride so far, and we're hopeful it continues for a long, long time."

By the numbers:

30 -- Drivers to win an IndyCar Series event on Firestone tires.

96 -- Race victories for Firestone in the IndyCar Series.

113 -- Races for Firestone in the IndyCar Series

126 -- Drivers to use Firestone Firehawk tires in the IndyCar Series.

207.151 -- Average speed of Sam Hornish Jr. in his victory at California Speedway in September 2003, the fastest race in IndyCar Series history. The race set a new closed-course speed record.

1,551 -- Times a front tire will spin over the course of one lap at Michigan International Speedway.

1,440 -- Times a rear tire will spin over the course of one lap at Michigan International Speedway.

538,244 -- Race miles throughout the tire maker's IndyCar Series history.

2. Wheldon joins with St. Vincent Hospitals: 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon has formed a marketing and sponsor relationship with St. Vincent Hospitals, one of the largest healthcare systems in Indiana.

Wheldon will be featured in a marketing campaign throughout television and radio commercials, print advertising, company brochures, collateral materials and company websites.

"Since I first moved to Indianapolis, St. Vincent Sports Performance Center has played an integral part in my fitness training, and I'm proud to get the opportunity to now work with St. Vincent Hospitals," Wheldon said. "I can honestly attribute a lot of my success on the racetrack to the strength training and conditioning I receive from everyone in the St. Vincent family. I certainly appreciate their work, their friendship and their support of my racing, and I look forward to continuing this relationship for years to come."

3. Fans can meet Meira at Menards: Maybe there's a future for Vitor Meira in retirement. The Rahal Letterman Racing driver had so much fun working in different departments of the Menards store in Franklin, Wis., last week that he'll be at the Menards in Jackson, Mich. (3588 Page Ave.) from 3:30-6 p.m. (EDT) July 28.

With experience gained last week, Meira will be helping shoppers and signing autographs. He might even be able to recommend the right Johns Manville insulation for that attic project.

4. Red Bull Cheever Racing forms partnership with IZOD: Red Bull Cheever Racing's new marketing partnership with Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, for the fashion sportswear label IZOD, is an innovative deal designed to bring together the fashion and motorsports industries. The partnership between Red Bull Cheever Racing and Phillips-Van Heusen kicked off at this year's Indianapolis 500.

"I want to welcome Phillips-Van Heusen and Izod to their first season in the action-packed world of IndyCar Series racing," team owner Eddie Cheever Jr. said. "Personally, IZOD is a label I have always loved to wear. Professionally, fashion and motorsports have always mixed well together, so I am looking forward to building a successful partnership with IZOD."

The partnership includes branding on the No. 51 and No. 83 Red Bull Cheever Racing Toyota IndyCar Series cars, and clothing will be provided, for various occasions, for drivers Alex Barron, Patrick Carpentier and owner Eddie Cheever Jr.

"We want to be associated with world-class sports platforms. When we met Eddie, and he introduced us to Red Bull Cheever Racing and the IndyCar Series, we saw this as a great fit," said Mark Weber, President and incoming CEO for Phillips-Van Heusen.

***

The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the Firestone Indy 400 on July 31 at Michigan International Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast will also be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). ESPN2's telecast of the Milwaukee 100 is scheduled for 3 p.m. (EDT) on July 28. The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Courier-Journal 100 on Aug. 13 at Kentucky Speedway. The race will be telecast on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 18. The next episode of "The Fast Life," ESPN2's behind-the-scenes series about the IndyCar Series, airs at noon (EDT) on Aug. 7.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Buddy Lazier , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Barron , Dan Wheldon , Brian Barnhart , Sam Hornish Jr. , Vitor Meira