IRL: Leaders Circle program established

Indy Racing League announces Leaders Circle program to provide major support, equipment, Firestone tires to full-time teams INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Jan. 18, 2002 -- Indy Racing League officials announced Jan. 18 details of its new Leaders Circle...

Indy Racing League announces Leaders Circle program to provide major support, equipment, Firestone tires to full-time teams

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Jan. 18, 2002 -- Indy Racing League officials announced Jan. 18 details of its new Leaders Circle program, which will significantly increase the package of equipment, supplies and services available to its full-time teams for the 2002 season, including an allotment of Firestone tires.

Details of the Indy Racing League Leaders Circle were outlined in a meeting of all Indy Racing League team owners Jan. 18 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"Since Tony George began the Indy Racing League, the league has worked hard to control costs and to provide opportunity for teams to be competitive, regardless of the size of their budgets," said Brian Barnhart, Indy Racing League vice president of operations.

"We have negotiated unprecedented contracts with engine, chassis and transmission suppliers, providing controlled costs and development for our competitors over the first six seasons. Now we are pleased to add tires and other services to this list.

"Because of our new, multiyear, exclusive agreement with Firestone, we have the opportunity to make Firestone support available to 24 cars for all Indy Racing League events, including the Indianapolis 500."

"We have chosen to use the Firestone package as the foundation for the Indy Racing League Leaders Circle, whose membership will consist of up to 24 cars that compete for the entire 15-race season."

Firestone has agreed to provide significant support through their tires, advertising, and other promotional opportunities.

"The Indy Racing League has a history of providing resources and assistance to its teams on an unprecedented scale," said Al Speyer, Bridgestone/Firestone motorsports director. "We are proud to be a part in helping to continue the growth of the Indy Racing League and to have Firestone partner with the league and the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race. Growth and stability are vital in racing, and the Indy Racing League exemplifies both."

Said Tony George, Indy Racing League president and CEO: "Firestone's commitment to the growth and stability of the Indy Racing League is truly exceptional. They are providing tires of excellent quality for the most competitive racing series in the world and are backing their commitment with technical support and a marketing commitment never before seen in auto racing."

In addition to Firestone support, members of the Leaders Circle will qualify for the following benefits:

* Use of the league-required electronics package, valued at $30,000, at no charge. The package includes a rev limiter, onboard yellow-light system, wire harness, accident data recorder, camera mount and shroud, and timing and scoring transmitter and shroud.

*U se of welding equipment and supplies from Lincoln Electric, the Official Welder of the league, at no cost. The value is $15,000 per team.

* A 25-percent discount on fuel costs.

* Discounted entry fee package for the 2002 season.

Cars not eligible for the Leaders Circle program will be billed for all race entry fees and will be required to pay full price for fuel, tires and the electronics package.

Barnhart also announced Jan. 18 that entry fees for Indy Racing League events in 2002 will be $7,000, while the Indianapolis 500 entry fee will be $15,000. Previous fees were $5,500 for all races except Indianapolis, which was $8,500.

Participants in the Leaders Circle program for the 2002 season will be announced in early February. Guidelines for participation in the 2003 program will be issued in the near future.

Costs and availability of engines, chassis and transmissions are not affected by this new benefits package. Other elements may be added to the 2002 Leaders Circle program and will be announced when finalized.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony George