Firestone eyes NASCAR

UPDATE Goodyear has an exclusive deal with NASCAR to supply tires for its top three professional series through 2007, but there are reports Bridgestone/Firestone and B.F. Goodrich are interested in supplanting Goodyear. Stu Grant, general manager for Goodyear's worldwide racing program, isn't surprised by the interest. "Look at what's going on in racing," he said. "NASCAR is where everybody wants to be." NASCAR officials say that having a single tire supplier makes racing safer and they have no interest in starting another tire war such as the one that raged between Goodyear and Hoosier before the exclusive deal was signed in 1995. As for the possibility of changing tire suppliers, NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said only, "We have a great relationship with Goodyear. It's very satisfying and a continual benefit to the sport." 10/19/04 On Monday's Wind Tunnel on Speed Channel, Robin Miller reported that Firestone supposedly will test a Truck or Busch Series car in 2005 with a Toyota engine and Firestone tires. Goodyear has an exclusive contract with NASCAR through the 2007 season, but clearly Bridgestone/Firestone could throw a lot of money at the France family to make the switch to their brand in 2008. Goodyear is not doing too well financially so it's doubtful whether they can match the mighty Japanese offer. Expect speeds to jump immediately if Firestone comes in. When compared to the competition Goodyear makes junk tires and has clearly lost their way. Small company Hoosier Tire made them look silly when they competed against them in the 90's, Michelin mopped them up in F1, and when the Corvette team switched from Goodyear to Michelin at LeMans this year they gained 7 seconds per lap!

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