IndyCar avoids blowout with tire deal, but questions remain

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.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: IBJ is now using a new comment system. Your Disqus account will no longer work on the IBJ site. Instead, you can leave a comment on stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Past comments are not currently showing up on stories, but they will be added in the coming weeks. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.