Goodyear and Michelin to vie for NASCAR tires

UPDATE Goodyear and NASCAR officials already have met on extending their exclusive tire supply contract even though the agreement doesn’t expire until after the 2007 season, according to Goodyear’s top tire executive. It was NASCAR that first approached Goodyear about opening the discussions and the two sides met earlier this year, according to Jon Rich, president of Goodyear’s North American Tire unit.

"It was an excellent meeting and we’ll use that as a foundation to go forward," Rich said during an interview at Daytona International Speedway two days before the Daytona 500, the first race in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup 2005 season.

Rich said he expects the two sides to hammer out a new deal over the course of the next couple of months. "I have every confidence that between NASCAR and us, we’ll reach an agreement that will extend Goodyear for as far as we can imagine," he said.

Rich said he believes the days of the "tire wars" in racing are over, noting that Formula 1–where Groupe Michelin and Bridgestone Corp. both compete–also is considering going with just one tire brand. "Tire wars are very expensive for the teams," Rich said.

01/27/05 Goodyear has been a stalwart on the NASCAR tours for decades, but rumblings are getting stronger that NASCAR is considering a major change in its tire-supplier contract. Michelin is rumored to be in line for the exclusive deal in the next year or two. NASCAR people are still talking about Goodyear running out of tires for last year's 24 Hours of Daytona, a faux pas that was probably a key in the France family's switching to Hoosiers for this year's 24 Hours. Winston-Salem Journal

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