The IndyCar community was upset when the news came through that Bridgestone Firestone were not going to renew their contract once the contract ended in 2011. IndyCar has been supplied with tires from Firestone since 1996. Negotiations to reach an agreement that both parties were satisfied with took place over a period of a week and a new contract has been finalized that will see Firestone continue to be the tire supplier for IndyCar until 2013.
The thought of bringing in a new tire supplier while trying to launch new cars into the IndyCar racing circuit was a daunting task that was too much to bear for most team owners. They therefore got together as a unit and ask IndyCar to renegotiate with Bridgestone Firestone to see if an agreement could not be reached. Fortunately Firestone was open to discussion and a contract to suit both parties was drawn up.
The new contract will still see Firestone withdraw as a financial sponsor from the IndyCar circuit when the contract expires, and there will be an increase in the price of tires. Al Speyer, the Executive Director of Racing for Bridgestone Firestone, commented: “This was not a negotiation tactic; last Friday, we were done, and I was devastated. But when Randy Bernard called back this week to say the team owners wanted to work something out, we went back to a proposal that had been pre-approved in a way. That made it easier. All we had to do was fine-tune it.”
CEO if IndyCar, Randy Bernard said: “At the end of last week, we had reached the deadline where both organizations had to make a decision regarding the future to prepare our individual operations for the long term. This is one of those decisions that it is imperative that you have the team owners 100 percent behind you. Early this week we called a meeting to walk the team owners through the process and hear their input. I’m happy to say we walk as one with Firestone.”
Firestone agreeing to remain the tire supplier until 2013 will give IndyCar the needed time to look for a suitable replacement and to ensure that the transition will take place smoothly. Even though Firestone is withdrawing from IndyCar, Al Speyer is an avid IndyCar supporter and will remain a fan of the sport.
The motor sport of ice racing has been around for many years and actually has a large following of fans. It is also a sport that can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors and in various categories. Ice racing is not limited to only automobiles and motorcycles, but there are quad races, All-Terrain vehicle racing and snowmobile racing. It is still racing, but is much cheaper than the normal form of auto racing and motorcycle racing that we are accustomed to. It is just as much fun and exciting.
Ice racing takes place on different types of tracks. Dirt tracks, which are used for racing, have the snow plowed off to create an ice track and if there has been no snowfall, water is sprayed on the track and left for the below freezing temperatures to freeze the water. Frozen lakes are sometimes used and if there are no areas available for a natural track, artificial tracks are created. Indoor tracks are generally used for motorcycle racing, as they do not need as much space as motor vehicles.
Races are usually divided into non-studded races and studded races. Non-studded races are also referred to as Full-Rubber racing or Rubber-to-Ice Racing. These terms reflect on the tires that are being used. Studded tires cannot be bought, which means that an approved stud must be attached to the tires by hand. Studded tires provide much more traction than full rubber on the ice track and prevent excessive sliding. Motorcycles that make use of studded tires are not permitted to broadside around corners as the damage made by the studs it too great. Riders, therefore, have to lean their motorcycles into the corners, with the handlebars almost touching the ice. Protective mudguards that extend to a few centimeters above the surface of the track are also required when racing with studded tires.
Motor vehicles and motorcycles are raced according to engine size and can reach very high speeds. Protective barriers are placed around the tracks to prevent serious injury if an accident does occur. It is still a dangerous sport and motorcycles that race in the studded races can reach speeds of between 100 to 130 kilometers an hour. Rules regarding Quad racing have changed over the years, as only quads with a 250cc engine displacement (in both the two stroke and four stroke engines), were permitted to race. Today, two strokes have remained at 250cc, but the four strokes have been amended to 360cc engine displacement. An â€˜Open’ category within Quad racing has led to much excitement and spectacular racing. In the ‘Open’ races, spectators can look forward to seeing 1100cc Harley Davidson V-Twins, 650cc four cylinders and many other different engine powered quads go head to head.
The sport of ice racing has grown into an entertaining and adrenalin pumping sport that is enjoyed by both the drivers and racing enthusiasts. It has all the action and heart stopping moments that are seen in conventional racing, it is just a little colder.