AKRON-Tire Wars II is coming. Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. is bringing the Firestone brand back to Indy Car racing beginning March 5 at the first Indy race in Miami.
That race will mark the first competition Goodyear has had in Indy racing since Firestone dropped out in 1974.
Goodyear also faced competition last year on the NASCAR circuit, which it won when Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. pulled out at the season's end.
But the Goodyear-Firestone matchup will be different. Goodyear's Leo Mehl, director of racing, called the battle a ``corporate tire competition'' rather than a race tire competition.
The focus will be on safety, not speed, which was what drove the Goodyear-Hoosier rivalry.
``Certainly for us, and I assume Goodyear, we are both running programs that can have a major impact on the sale of our everyday passenger, light truck and commercial tires,'' said Al Speyer, motorsports manager for BFS. ``We have a whole lot of image at stake here, with a big retail impact. It's in our best interest to run the program properly and professionally.''
As of December, Bridgestone/Firestone had two teams committed to using Firestone tires in 1995: Patrick Racing (Pat Patrick, owner; Scott Pruett, driver) and Tasman Motorsports (Steve Horne, owner; Andre Ribeiro, driver).