Tony Stewart boosts Brickyard 400

July 8, 2009
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tiresThe Indianapolis Motor Speedway today got a strong endorsement for this month’s Brickyard 400 NASCAR race from the person whose opinion might matter most.

Tony Stewart, who was at the Speedway this morning for a press conference, stopped short of making the guarantee that Jeff Gordon made last month, but said he expects the tire problems that caused a yellow flag every 10 laps at last year’s race to be eliminated at this year’s race.

Stewart even made a strong personal appeal as the press conference was winding down for "fans on the fence" to come out to this year's race. "I strongly urge you to come," he said. "I think it's going to be a good show."

Stewart has been a part of two of Goodyear’s eight tire tests at IMS and visited the Goodyear facility in Akron, Ohio to allay his fears about the tires that could not stand up to the Brickyard’s surface last year. Over the last two years, no one has been more critical of Goodyear than Stewart, who once called for NASCAR to start using either Firestone or Hoosier tires.

“I can promise you [Goodyear] put a full-court press [on solving the tire issue],” said Stewart, a two-time Brickyard 400 champion.

After watching Goodyear work to solve the problem over the last 11 months, Stewart said “I’ve gained a lot of respect for Goodyear.”

Stewart added that he was amazed how much hands-on work goes into making Goodyear race tires.

“Some of the key components are done by a Goodyear engineer,” Stewart said. “Not a machine.”

Going to Akron and getting a first-hand look at the tire-making process, Stewart said, “eased his mind.” The tests at IMS sealed the deal for the driver affectionately known as Smoke.

“We ran almost 30 laps and weren’t even down to the cord,” Stewart said. “And a tire test is usually harder on the tires than the race.”

With ticket sales for this year’s Brickyard 400 lagging, Stewart’s Goodyear endorsement comes at a good time for the Speedway, which last week announced a leadership change. Tony George was removed as IMS boss and replaced by chief financial officer Jeffrey Belskus.

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  • I have to say that I am MOST impressed with Tony's behavior this NASCAR season. It seems that he has really matured. Hope that his words of encouragement will motivate people to come to the race. Our family is really looking forward to it.

    And for all you racing-haters that will start spewing venom, it really IS in the best interest of the economy of our city if this race is and continues to be a success - regardless of who is running things at 16th and Georgetown.
  • Oh just wait, the TG haters will come on here about how Tony Stewart was bought out or some such stuff. This will be a great Brickyard, hope the weather holds.
  • Well, if you saw the press conference, I think it's pretty clear IMS officials asked Tony to put in a plug for the Brickyard 400. With that said, I don't think Smoke would say anything he didn't mean. And he realizes a rising tide lifts all boats.
  • The business looks a lot different from the owner's chair, as opposed to the driver's seat. And we all mellow (some) as we get close to 40. :)
  • Yep, I fully expect JoBu to show up and start ranting about something. and Fishers gal, you keep the hate up as well. Hate is good.
  • Ahem. :lol:

    Tony George has fixed things so well, that IMS has to have drivers spinning to sell tickets. Remember when IMS didn't have to ADVERTISE, PR, or SPIN anything? :eek:

    I do.

    Tony George: Is there ANYTHING he didn;t screw up?! :lol:
  • Remember when the Daytona races sold out? Last weeks had entire stands that were empty even with NASCAR slashing ticket prices to $40. The Daytona 500 was not sold out. Of course lack of sellouts can be said for many of NASCARs races the last couple of years.,0,6461734.story
  • DaHooey bringing on the love, I see. I don't think it's fair to attack Tony George. He didn't screw anything up. It's obvious, however, that he is no longer the best person for the job. IMS used to be much easier to run when races sold out and advertising came much easier. In this business climate, however, it takes some solid business sense. A change was needed, but TG did some great things during his time as the head of IMS. He is to be commended for leading the IMS through some great times and some lean times.
  • DaHooey, TG wasn't CEO of Goodyear or Michelin. I'm pretty sure those two tire companies royally screwed the Brickyard 400 and the USGP, respectively.
  • DaHooey, if you get your head out of the hate bucket for a minute, you'd realize that ALL the races this year are experiencing slow sales. Even Daytona (both races), Bristol, EVERYWHERE there are non-sellouts. And Tony George had NOTHING to do with those. Please go somewhere else or just stop posting if you're going to say the same lame crap all the time.
  • Oh, and SSD, I said nothing hateful about the topic, only about the people who have to come on here and denigrate everything.
  • DaHooey - You been told, son. I'd say Fishers gal was being rather nice by her reference to a hate bucket. So there........

    Notice how these three words rhyme: blame, same and lame. Might be a lesson for ya there, ol' buddy.

  • No doubt that tony was doing IMS a favor by plugging the 400..They will be lucky to get 125,000 paid to show up for this years race..Not really the speedways fault..I think that NASCAR fans as a whole are trying to show the preppy brian france that that they are not happy with the way he has taken the fans for granted..I have been to over 200 cup races but I will not go to another race till he turns over day to day operations to someone else..He just aint cut out for the job and mike helton is just a puppet that wants to keep his job.

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