IRL: Nazareth announces title sponsor, grand marshal

Firestone returns as Title Sponsor for August IRL race at Nazareth; Hometown hero Michael Andretti to serve as event Grand Marshal. NAZARETH, Pa. (April 16, 2003) - It's official. The Aug. 22-24 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series event at...

Firestone returns as Title Sponsor for August IRL race at Nazareth; Hometown hero Michael Andretti to serve as event Grand Marshal.

NAZARETH, Pa. (April 16, 2003) - It's official. The Aug. 22-24 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series event at Nazareth Speedway will be called the Firestone Indy 225, with Nazareth's own Michael Andretti serving as event Grand Marshal. The announcement was made today by executives of Firestone Racing, International Speedway Corporation and Nazareth Speedway.

"We're very proud to again be title sponsor of the Indy Racing League action at historic Nazareth Speedway," said Al Speyer, Firestone Racing executive director. "This unique one-mile oval is very challenging for drivers and equipment. But we've never shied away from a challenge, and the competition here in the heat of August will allow us to showcase Firestone technology.

"We sponsored the IRL event here in 2002, and were very pleased with the efforts of International Speedway Corporation and Nazareth Speedway to ensure racing fans have a great show. The northeast is a key business market for us, so we're pleased many of our associates, customers and fans will have the opportunity to enjoy the tire-to-tire action unique to the IRL at this legendary venue. Michael Andretti serving as event Grand Marshal will make the race even more special."

Andretti, who is retiring this year as a driver following the Indianapolis 500, continues to be involved with the Indy Racing League as a team owner. Continuing his success behind the wheel, Andretti Green Racing has already scored one win in 2003 IRL competition.

"After traveling around the world with various racing programs, it's always been good to come home to Nazareth," Andretti said. "To be here as Grand Marshal for the Firestone Indy 225 is a great honor because so many of my family and close friends are here. I know they'll be here in August, enjoying a great race and - hopefully - seeing one of the Andretti Green racers pull into victory circle."

Nazareth Speedway president Craig Rust said the Firestone Indy 225, the 13th of 16 events on the 2003 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series schedule, includes one of the most impressive fields to ever compete in the Lehigh Valley.

"Fans will see a collection of Indy 500 winners and IRL champions, mixed with newcomers from many series, racing at a point in the year when season championship points are critical," Rust said. "With only three races remaining on the IRL schedule after Nazareth, you can bet teams and drivers will be pulling out all stops to earn points. We think it's going to be a very exciting race, giving the fans a fantastic show."

Tickets for the Firestone Indy 225 weekend are now available. For tickets, reserved camping and additional information, contact the Nazareth Speedway ticket office toll-free at (888) 629-RACE.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti