IndyCar avoids blowout with tire deal, but questions remain

March 11, 2011
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IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard dodged a pothole when he signed a deal late this week to retain Firestone as the open-wheel series’ tire provider through 2013.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, so all the big questions remain.

Will Firestone continue offer free tires to IndyCar teams (at a cost of about $750,000 per team)?

Will Firestone continue to pump $7 million to $8 million annually into marketing the series.

Another key question is; Who will pay to develop a new tire for the new chassis and engine formula (to debut in 2012) at a cost of at least $6 million, and maybe as much as $10 million?

Is this 11th hour tire deal a stop-gap measure, or is Firestone in the series for the long-haul?

Who will be the title sponsor for the IndyCar Series' primary feeder series, the Indy Lights? Firestone officials on Friday said they would not continue as title sponsor of that series.

Firestone cash as well as tires has kept the series rolling, and without that money (and financial assistance for the team), the series could still find itself with a deflating effort.

Bernard deserves solid marks for retaining Firestone during an era of change for the IndyCar Series. Now he needs to make sure his tire provider keeps the pedal to the metal through 2013 and beyond.

  • By The numbers
    an 80% increase in tire costs and a lowered level of promotional involvement. thanks roger, once again C^RT has to step in to save the speedway from itself
  • Tires Never Free
    Anthony....wrong facts on this one. The teams have always paid for tires. The figure for a year was about $300,000 and the new price will be at least $550,000. So they will be more, but they have always paid something and not as much as you claim.
  • R&D and Advertising
    Yeh, but look at the bright's only gonna cost IRLer's 100% more for tire PLUS they get the added benefit of not having Firestone sponsor that stillborn Indy Lights series. Oh, and drop all sponsorship stuff.

    Yup, IRL WINS is stamped all over this.

    SO, who's gonna pay for R&D costs for the new chassis tires? IS there going to be a new car in 2012? 2013?
  • Reality
    They dont need any R or D because the so called new car is going to be a warmed over crapwagon with a roll hoop and some pasties
  • Goodyears @ IMS
    I have a feeling Firestone will continue to do at least some R&D so they don't end up in a bad PR situation like Goodyear did with their NASCAR tires at IMS. But will the tires be bulletproof like they have in the past? Doubt it. Presume they're hoping to continue using the same formulas they have been using unless the new cars are truly radically different to the tires.
  • Be Careful For What You Wish
    Anthony...perhaps some actual investigation is in order here. I would like to find out how much the tires will cost, and what, specifically, was thee reason for their original non-renewal.

    I see nothing has changed with the ownership contingent. Pay almost twice as much so you don't have to change what you like. Even when one of the primary goals is lowering the cost of participation. This is an amazing bunch.
  • Celebrating
    Wondering if the Indycar reporters are too busy out celebrating the fact that they know they'll have a job in 2012 instead of doing investigatin'.
  • Happened in F1 FIRST
    The initial move to not renew is more of a corporate strategy than a reflection on INDYCAR. Bridgestone/Firestone left F1 two years ago. As reported by R.Miller these are decisions coming from Japan not from Tenn.(US headquarters) Al Speyer said as much a week ago, but that would be too many facts for this story.
    This is from SPEEDTV---
    When the contract expired on Feb. 28, INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard had been talking to Goodyear, Hoosier and Cooper following trips to Nashville to meet with Firestone.

    And, even though the price is likely to double from $278,000 to $550,000 in 2012, the owners were unanimous in their support of staying with Firestone.

    Like I said Anthony, your numbers are wrong...PLEASE FIX THEM FOR THE SAKE OF JOURNALISM.
  • As is typical, the haters are trying to find something to be happy about since once again their joy at the IRLs failure was premature.

    The IRL screwed up, as Anthony stated, in allowing Firestone a 1 year out which is not enough time to get a new manufacturer in place. This agreement allows them time to find that manufacturer.

  • Living in the past
    The IRL didn't screw up, Indycar did. The term IRL had a negative connotation and was sent out to pasture, just like Tony George. Mari must have stepped up and opened up the check book but this is just a stop gap measure unless someone steps up quick. Not to mention Firestone dropping support of Indy Lights and raising the cost of tires when costs are supposed to be going down. Too bad as Bernard has been doing a good job, there is just too much scorched earth left by Tony George.
  • Celebration...come on!
    Wow, Disciple. You can feel it can't you? I think you may be wondering at what cost is this tire saving move. Also, maybe you are wondering a bit about the power structure driving this decision. Power always moves into a vacuum.

    Also, I would ask indyman (and others whooping it up) if he realizes blind loyalty may only be the flipside of Chief's alleged hate?

    In reality aren't both just as passionate? Maybe at times both just about as totally useless???

    Realistically I think Disciple knows this whole tire saving routine may have come at a sizeable cost. The backslappers that want to show up Anthony may be missing the point. You may have tires, but that just may be it. And they cost more when everything was going to cost less.

    Less is more! Sadly everyone seems to accept that these days. It just may be the cause of the whole down cycle of openwheel.

    But it sure is fun watching ALL of the fans.

    What's left of them.
  • Dipcicle of iNdyCAR
    Originally Posted by Chief
    Please then the Defender moniker, like the IRL moniker, please needs to be extinguished please. Do it for the kids....please.
  • the Misundeerstanding
    The only glee emerging is due to the constant unsightly bumbling this series has unfolded since it's inception.

    Call it hate or ridicule, it does not matter. The IRL (or indycar) is THE most backwards run series has squandered away 100 years of history, legacy and popularity in exchange for control of the sport. Sucks to be them.

    So, before we label anyone anything lets remember they asked for it, and now they're getting it. And frankly, in my humble opinion, they can use all the publicity they can muster, good or bad. and even that isn't working...
  • If being a League Partner were a financially lucrative venture
    why would Firestone leave in the first place ony to return as a supplier, like the company that supplies the toilet paper for the speedway
  • Deep Philosophical Question for the INDYCAR Haters
    As a lifelong Indy Car fan,I have another great season to which to eagerly look forward, and it begins in two weeks from the date of this post. What do the vociferous handful of you have to look forward to?
  • Q. Are we not men?
    I look forward to continuing the effort to advocate for the betterment of the AOW sport.

    I look forward to motorcycling with sun shining and breeze in my hair and enjoying new hobbies financed with my savings from NOT spending one red cent on the IRL, the Indycar Series, Indy or their sponsors. Before the IRL, I'd have given my right arm for the sport and Indy. Now, it's only good for the laughs it and it foolish fans provide on a daily basis.

    A. We are DEVO!
  • Not a place fan
    I'm off to AMA Supercross tonight at Lucas Oil Stadium. They'll get 60k fans tonight which is more than most Indycar races. It's sad how far it fell with Tony George at the helm of the rudderless ship. Then it's March Madness, Baseball and the pinnacle of motorsports, F-1. And none of them on the former Outdoor Life Network, Versus so check your local listings.
  • Far from blind alliegance, I criticize them when I feel they deserve it, and praise them as well.

    Unlike the haters who do nothing other than attack and tear down a series they hate. It has always been interesting that they spend so much time fixated on something they hate.

    I guess if I wanted to waste my time, I could spend hours following and attacking something I did not like. But I have much better things to do with my time. So I would much rather enjoy the IRL.

    As far as Firestone, the IRL screwed up (see I do criticize them) by allowing Firestone a short out. Not enough time to bring on another supplier. So they are having to pay, publicly and financially, for the mistake. It seems they thought of Firestone as an American company even though they get their marching orders from Japan. They should have seen the writing on the wall when Firestone pulled out of F1. As long as lesson is learned and they get a new partner on board, alls well that ends well.

    Still hoping for Hoosier. Great company, great racing roots, great Hoosier roots. Hated the way that they were treated by NASCAR and Goodyear.
  • More detail is needed
    Why did Firestone leave?

    Under this 'rock' of information exists the truth about Indy, the IRL and the health of AOW, under Hulman-George rule in 2011.

    I suspect the true health has been a coverup propagated by clever speedway propaganda and promotion. The gag order in effect with drivers and owners plus the "give 'em a chance" mentality of the media is going to wear off quickly.

    I suspect anyone can be bought, even Firestone for the right price.
  • We dont attack or tear down
    we just tell the truth; you should try it some time; but that is difficult when you are trying to defend the indefensible
  • You mean the truth that the series will end in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and we have a 2013 or two already.

    You mean the truth that no matter what is announced, it signals the imminent demise of the IRL/IMS?

    The truth that tha sale of IMS is imminent and that a developer is going to turn it into "mixed use" development? I did love how chief jumped on that one. Too bad it was all made up.

    Chief, so is Firestone/Bridgestones departure from F1 telling us something about the health of F1? Or is this all corporate restructuring?
  • Maybe so
    Don't attribute someone elses comments to me. It was not I who professed the 'mixed use' philosophy.

    I do not care about F1's tire manufacturers. All I know is that Firestone ended their contract with the IRL. PERIOD, end of story.

    The fact that apparently $$$ brought Firestone back speaks VOLUMES, yet the impact of losing the Lights Sponsor PLUS whatever marketing/advertisements they did including the speedway is being missed in your deflection of the facts.

    Blame Firestone for causing this storm of criticism, NOT ME. In fact, blame the IRL/IndyCars for letting it blow up in their faces. That's what happened....and it's been happening with regular in the IRL FOREVER. Somethings askew yet you folks who have skin in the game (running IRL forums and pro IRL blogs) have an agenda. You can't hide from the facts.

    Whether or not the IRL/IZXodcarz die has never been the point. Whether they can resurrect the AOW to levels that existed before the IRL scam was hatched is the point. And, when a dedicated sponsor pulls out amid great supoposed bet'cha, I and everybody who cares about this sport will take note. And comment on if necessary. Deal with it.

  • Amazing Rag
    It is amazing 3 days after it was brought to this papers attention and it still has incorrect facts in the main story..WOW, what incompetance by "supposed" news outlet.
  • indyman cant let C^RT die
    because he knows that all he would left for memories is PJ Chesson and Racin Gardner
  • Chief,

    we need to work on your reading comprehension. I did not attribute those comments to you, I said you bought into them hook line and sinker. You are too quick to jump on any news about the IRL and spin it negative.

    So since F1 and Firestones issues hurt your argument, you are just going to throw them out as not important? Decisions do not exist in a vacumn. In the category of jumping to conclusions, has it been reported what the new deal with Firestone consists of? All I have seen is the drop of the Lights sponsorship. Of course if I remember correctly, isn't the Indy Lights now sponsored as part of the Mazda Road to Indy Series? I would expect an announcement in the near future of a new title sponsorship.

    Back to Firestone, while it sucks to lose any sponsorship, whatever sponsorship they pull will be made up by others coming in.

    I did blame the IRL for the Firestone mistake. Here it is in case you missed my previous post above. "As far as Firestone, the IRL screwed up (see I do criticize them) by allowing Firestone a short out."

    So what blog or forum do I run? I post on this one, but thats about it. Curious about what you are trying to get at. You get upset when you feel you are falsely accused of something, but then you appear to go off and do the same thing? I would introduce you to kettle, but it seems you already have met.

    You are more than welcome to comment on anything you want, just not sure why you spend so much time talking about....ok, attacking a series you hate.


    The truth is cart died long ago. Killed itself. It is unfortunate that it was not allowed to die a natural death earlier in its demise as opposed to the unnatural efforts expended on reviving it several times.

    I would be happy for it to go away. But some on here seem to still think it was the best thing since Offy engines and they fail to remember the real reasons it is no longer with us.
  • IRL caused the failures of the sport
    That's the truth.
  • Testing at Barber Today!
    I have a full season of great Indy Car racing to look forward to. What do the haters have other than their quaint INDYCAR obsession? LOL.
  • Their problem is
    D is the only one who feels that way, and he never spends any money so it doesnt do the league any good and he drives potential fans away
  • Tire expenses
    I have more than one source who have sat in on last week's discussions between IndyCar officials, including Randy Bernard, and tire manufacturers. I also have sources within teams familiar with the tire deal. I have good reason to believe the numbers I stated regarding tire expenses are accurate. I'll double check with my sources, and let you know if I find out anything different. If I hear anything directly from IndyCar or Firestone officials, I'll most certainly alert you to that as well.
  • Who knew
    Thanks Anthony. They just don't want the truth to be known.

    iMan...please, you are deflecting again. Maybe Firestone figured out the IRL was nothing but a gimmick. Just like "Willy T. Ribbs" that you declared a thread back.

    Defender/Dipsicle....remember, you need not defend your series any longer, just enjoy it. YOU declared INDY will be a SELLOUT, we just agree with you.
  • Word on the street
    I was reading at the official forum of Indycar...apparently the Speedway has ceased delivering streamed internet content of practices, qualifications and races from the IndyCar series.

    Fans are in an uproar. Wow, maybe Firestone knew something was up? Apparently, it's rumored NBC Universal said it wasn't in it's financial interests to continue this practice.

    YIKES...hope they don't review the Versus IRL contracts...with all that ROI it nets.
  • So are you saying
    Firestone gave the league the tires and the league charged the teams ~$300,00 per car
  • Truth is that more of your truth? I know that the largest crowd for a race will be in Indy looking forward to it. A crowd that surpasses anything else out there. Seems like that is more than just Disciple and they are paying customers. Your truth is really just your fantasy, right?


    When did I ever say this year will be a sellout? Funny how you accuse people of putting words in your mouth while you do just that. Of course I can prove everything I say.

    So if cart killed itself, how is the IRL the cause of the failure of the sport? You spout the same bogus truth as the truth.

  • Are you answering Dipsicle's comments for him?
    iMan...relax friend. Go back and read again slowly. Not every message is about you. And you question my comprehension.

    I did read where the Dispsicle of Indycarz sez this NBC Universal slap down of IRL online streaming content will set the sport back 20 years! Oh, please let it be so!
  • CART owns you iMan
    How is it that you can't neglect mentioning cart's name? It's because it's dead, you're happy about it, and you have to constantly look up to the great CART gods in the heavens for direction. Just admit the IRL nor current day IRLcarz will ever be as successful as cart is dead. That's what you hate....
  • I do question your comprehension, and for good reason. Now I must question mine. That is what I get for doing a quick read and response.

    I mention their name because you guys continue to try to compare the two. See also most of the posts above. Even when you do not mention their name, you are comparing. But that is what we have come to expect.

  • The relevance of benchmarking
    iMan....the successful CART series racing that occurred previously is relevant and is THE benchmark that the IRL/IzODcarz series have and will always look up to.

    That is FACT. Just because you refuse to acknowledge it shows growth is needed on your part.

    The CART business part failed due to greedy carpetbaggers who own the racing and money in the IRL/IZodCArz now, the former CART and CCWS racers and owners. The fans of the sport, fed up with the whole situation of the split, sit on the sidelines with their money. Why?
  • Welcome to 1995
    I believe that type of person is so few in number to be inconsequential. Actual racing fans do spend money by going to races (1.28 million of them in 2010) and watching on television (target demos up 40% in 2010), even though the landscape of sports and entertainment have changed dramatically.

    The 'split' lives on only in the deluded minds of cart-centric enthusiasts still lodged in 1995.
  • Lost in all of this... the fact the sport is just not popular. Very few people follow it. Maybe 300,000 in the entire nation and that number is questionable. I would venture to say it more like about 100,000 hardcores who follow it closely. That is decidely minor in terms of following. Let's be realistic about it. That being said, I am glad Firestone is back. They make an unbelievable racing tire and are so closely associated with the series and have helped it so much, going away altogether at this critical time would have been disasterous. Glad they are sticking it out.
  • Deluded Dipsicle
    Everyone except the paid IRL spokespeople here know the truth. The IRL stinks. NBC Universal is figuring it out. Once the savior, now the goat. Firestone from sponsor to supplier. No Lights sponsor.

    Yep, everythings coming up roses. Burl is right, not even close to being popular. I will support racing, but never the IRLizoscarz.
  • iman is glad cart existed
    so that he can think about something other than the talented Milka Duno - in the only league where she would be welcomed
  • It is funny that the men you looked at as gods are now your goats. You are part right about their greed helped to kill the other series. But it was the direction of the series as well. Unlimited budgets, unlimited expenses, world wide races, getting away from the roots of the sport all ran the series into the ground. Like NASCAR turning its back on its roots, the other series wanted to be the new F1. And it ran itself into bankruptcy. That is what I mean by its business plan was not self sustaining.

    If I am a paid spokesperson, my check must be lost. I need to work on that.
  • Versus must be tired of its server farm being swamped
    Along with no web streaming, one of\'s bloggers, Roy Hobbson, twittered yesterday that the website will soon eliminate all of its internal coverage of INDYCAR. I guess they will just regurgitate INDYCAR PR once the change takes place.
  • Makes sense
    Taser Martin writes it all, for IXOD, IRL and VeRSus anyway. Might as well have one paid spokesperson doing it than triple-dipping. no one believes any of it anyway.
  • Gods to Goats
    That's the funny thing iMan...they all underestimated the impact their actions would have on the sport.

    So, it's no wonder you IMS lovers want the past buried and not used as the benchmark.

    Bottom line is this: put something decent on track and the fans will come back. The 2011 rehashed IRL series won't cut it. It's spoiled meat. So let's not sugar coat something it's not, that's why this wolf in sheeps clothing will not sell.
  • So let me see
    Tony and indyman traded Rick Mears for Milka Duno. Must be some reason in there that I just cant comprehend.

    The Truth
    Remaining positive about the continued demise of open wheel racing under the auspices of the speedway
  • More evident everyday
    That the people who run the Izod/IRL series ain't got a clue.

    Yes, I did go to an inner city high school AND I figured that out in 1996. No need to stay at a Holiday Inn Express here.
  • Versus must be tired of its server farm being swamped
    I guess IzoD will have to find another way to reach its target audiences in Asia, Europe and Latin America
  • Victory for the split
    Victim of the split: Jack Arute is apparently one of the recent of the last Indy bootlickers to be shown the door. Good riddance on the VersuS broadcasts.

    Congrats to Robin Miller for getting his own show on Versus. Having the ear of Ropin Randy must be paying dividends. Now, if Robin would whisper in Randy's ear that BOB JENKINS' voice is like fingernails on a chalkboard, another nail can be placed in the coffin of the IRL, and it's memory.

    Onward and upward, CART3 is BACK baby!
  • FREE Internet STREAMING!
    Yup, NCAA is doing it right....reaping major $$$ from live streaming! FREE! WooT!

    IRL...they sold their rights away to secure a bad 10 year TV contract with VerSUs, and no NBC Universal sez we is droppin the IRL internet streaming and website coverage.

    What's up? 350% IZOD ROI and Firestone moving from sponsor to supplier AND the Most Invisible Race in History....braodcast partner dropping coverage. 2011 Deathblow continues!!!!

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