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DATE News (chronologically)
12/03/08
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Chitwood expects Goodyear to make good on tire fiasco  Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood says that he hopes to talk with Goodyear and possibly NASCAR about doing something for fans after last year’s tire debacle.

With Goodyear’s rubber compound turning to dust and the tires failing after 12 or 13 laps, NASCAR threw the caution about ever 10-12 laps during the 2008 Sprint Cup race so the teams could change tires.

Michelin offered fans free tickets after all of the Formula One drivers who used its tires opted not to compete in the 2005 United States Grand Prix at the track, instead pulling off track after the prerace warm-up. An extensive ticket giveaway such as Michelin’s might not be the answer, but Chitwood wants to explore ways to make amends with the fans. NASCAR estimated that 240,000 people attended the race last year.

“I think there is an opportunity, from a Goodyear perspective, to help us with our customer,” Chitwood said Tuesday during the Street & Smith’s Motorsports Marketing Forum. “It’s a tough spot to be in [when you have] any opportunity to showcase your product and to not do it in a way that makes sense or has a negative feeling.”

Making amends a year after the event has happened is a difficult thing for a customer to handle, Chitwood said.

“It is very frustrating just from a standpoint that in other sports, we can make things up,” Chitwood said. “There’s 82 basketball games, there’s 162 baseball games [in a season], and if someone is unhappy, you can give them tickets to the next event.

“We’ve only got one NASCAR event on the schedule. It’s very difficult to say, ‘We’ll make it up to you next year.’ That answer doesn’t work for me.”

Chitwood said he has become an expert on tire issues and expects that even with NASCAR’s moratorium on testing that there will be enough testing for the issues to be resolved.

Tracks need to be aware that fans might have to choose to go to fewer events in this economic client, Chitwood said.

“Hopefully, we can also invite our NASCAR fans back for a better event.” Scenedaily.com
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