IRL: Nashville: Firestone preview

Firestone Races Home to Middle Tennessee NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 12, 2006) - Firestone Racing and teammates of Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT) are once again celebrating the IRL IndyCar Series' return to Nashville ...

Firestone Races Home to Middle Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 12, 2006) - Firestone Racing and teammates of Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT) are once again celebrating the IRL IndyCar Series' return to Nashville Superspeedway for the fifth running of the Firestone Indy 200 on Saturday, July 15. Firestone has been the title sponsor of the event since 2002 - a natural fit because Nashville is home to the company's Americas Support Center (ASC).

The Firestone Indy 200 will cap off a week-long series of activities designed not only to showcase Firestone's racing program to its teammates, their families and friends, but also to raise funds and awareness for a worthy cause, the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville. For the second consecutive year, the corporate United Way campaign is titled "Racing to Help," and it is centered around the popular event. Plans for teammates include a silent auction, raffles, and an executive car wash, among many others.

"Beyond building tires, beyond building our racing legacy, our corporate philosophy extends to building better communities," commented Al Speyer, Executive Director of Motorsports for BFNT. "Middle Tennessee is home for so many of our teammates. Perhaps most well-known, we have our ASC in Nashville and the LaVergne and Warren County manufacturing facilities. Additionally, Lebanon is home to one of our Distribution Centers, and Chassis Supply Partners, located in Columbia, is a Bridgestone Firestone company that works closely with Saturn and Corvette. Metalpha in Clarksville produces steel cord and bead wire, and our Diversified Products facility in Dyersburg manufactures air springs. Needless to say, with such deep roots here, we are happy to once again have the opportunity to tie in our racing and community service endeavors right in our own backyard. We are hosting around 2,300 customers, teammates, and special guests this weekend, and we are delighted to be able to show our appreciation to those whose support means so much to us."

Always a highlight of the week, the IndyCar and Indy Pro Series drivers will be visiting ASC during the annual employee day on Thursday, July 13. Teammates and their families will have the chance to chat with the drivers and get autographs amid the other food and fun planned for the day.

The week's activities will culminate with Saturday night's Firestone Indy 200 under the lights at Nashville Superspeedway. Once again, Andrew Firestone, great-grandson of Firestone founder Harvey Firestone and former star of the ABC hit series "The Bachelor," will serve as grand marshal for the event. One lucky race fan, Mark Scranton of Decatur, Ill., will wave the green flag as honorary starter. Scranton made the highest bid on eBay ($2,225) for the opportunity - all of which will go to the United Way of Metro Nashville.

At the drop of the flag, the IndyCars will take to a most unique track surface. Nashville is the only concrete track on the IRL schedule, and one of only three in the country (Dover Downs and Bristol Motorspeedway are the others). Concrete presents a test for Firestone, as it is very abrasive to the tires. Additionally, Nashville Superspeedway is the only 1.33-mile track hosting an IndyCar Series event.

"This track always presents a big challenge to our engineers," Speyer said. "It is very difficult to strike a balance with a tire that is hard enough to stand up to the concrete, yet soft enough to provide the drivers with the grip that they need. We definitely have to watch tire wear more closely here than at any other track on the schedule. But that is a key reason why we go racing - to meet difficult challenges head-on and seek new and better solutions. Having said that, Nashville always produces exciting racing for the fans. Word of that must have gotten out, as we understand that ticket sales are going extremely well. Good seats still remain, so we recommend that fans get their tickets soon so they don't miss any of the action. Firestone Racing is proud to once again be a part of this marquee event at our 'hometown' track, and we know that the crowd will enjoy the show."

Firestone Performance Award: During the 2006 season, Firestone Racing continues presenting this award in conjunction with each IndyCar Series event. The $10,000 bonus commemorates Firestone's status as the only tire manufacturer to have participated in every IRL race, and is traditionally given to the driver who, at each IndyCar Series event, leads the lap number corresponding to the cumulative number of races run in series history. The Firestone Indy 200 is the 129th IndyCar Series race, so the award will go to the driver who leads lap 129.


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Series IndyCar