Just a week after Firestone Tires announced they would not return to the IZOD INDYCAR Series following 2011, the company and series have now agreed to an extension that will run to the end of the 2013 season.
The terms agreed upon are those the tire maker offered in January. The cost of tires will increase for teams, also the brand will no longer sponsor the “Lights Series” following 2011. The deal keeps the maker for the first two seasons of the new car which debuts in 2012.
After meeting with team owners on the matter; Randy Bernard was able to make an agreement with Firestone, since no other brands are ready to make tires for the IZOD INDYCAR Series in 2012. “We feel that this new supply agreement will benefit everyone. It provides a proven safe and reliable Firestone product for the transition to the all-new cars for 2012.” Randy Bernard said after the agreement was official.
As for the team owners view on the possibility of Firestone leaving Dennis Reinbold stated, “When we learned of this, we encouraged INDYCAR to check with Firestone to see if there might be any chance to continue. We feel that it is important to maintain continuity with their excellent tires as we transition to the new car for 2012. The team owners are collectively very relieved that Firestone had an open mind and that they were able to reach this agreement with INDYCAR. Firestone racing tires are not only important from a safety and reliability standpoint, but they contribute greatly to the wheel-to-wheel competition for which our sport is famous.”
This also benefits the series should Firestone not be interested in staying past 2013, giving INDYCAR until the end of 2013 to find another maker(s) to be equipped and ready for making tires in 2014. Had Firestone not stayed after 2011 it could have proved disastrous for the much anticipated 2012 season, and debut of the new car in the IZOD INDYCAR Series.
Restarts for 2011
Also INDYCAR will now use double file restarts for all IZOD INDYCAR Series races, not just ovals as originally proposed earlier. The season opener later this month in St. Petersburg, Florida will be the first event with the new procedure.
The series is still floating around the idea of the “free pass rule” used currently in NASCAR. (Known as the “Lucky Dog” in NASCAR thanks to Darrell Waltrip’s shameless promotion of brother Michael’s sponsor.) The series is using fan input on the matter currently. If the response of almost all blogs that cover the series and many fans tweets is any indication, don’t hold your breath.
In a teleconference earlier this week Graham Rahal addressed both subjects; “Double-wide restarts, I’m glad they’re starting at St. Pete and not the Indy 500 because that’s not what we needed.
There’s this rumor of this “Lucky Dog” thing. Mixed emotions about it, but I think it’s a great idea. Really, it gives you a great opportunity that if something goes wrong you can get your lap back fairly easily, get right back in the race and have a good shot at it. I think that’s pretty exciting.
Two-wide restarts, most of the places we run anyway, we end up being two-wide the minute we cross the start/finish line. I don’t think that’s going to make that big of a change. It’s only how they handle lap traffic. You don’t want a back marker up there taking out the leaders. That won’t go over very well.”
The series is waiting for the fans thoughts before making a decision on the “free pass rule”. So fans, if you’re for or against this let the IZOD INDYCAR Series hear it
Phone: (317) 492-6526
4565 West 16th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46222