Growing interest in automobile racing, heightened by the recent ``Weekend of Speed'' at the Indianapolis 500 and the U.S. 500, provides dealers with a splendid opportunity for selling high-performance products and reminding customers of the importance of their tires. Consumers often view tires merely as a commodity-round, black and all the same. But drivers and race car owners know better.
No other component of the automobile-or any other motor vehicle for that matter-is more critical to its safety and handling than tires.
And nowhere is this demonstrated more forcefully than on the race track, where having the ``right'' tires is a competitive advantage and a tire-related mishap can lead to catastrophe.
Ron Hemelgarn, owner of the winning car at the Indianapolis 500, credited the Firestone tires mounted on his vehicle with making ``all the difference'' in his team's Memorial Day victory.
And, although they didn't reach the winner's circle, Goodyear-shod vehicles took five of the top six spots at the Indy 500 and seven of the top 10 at the U.S. 500, indicating those tires also performed well.
The 200-mph-plus speeds of the Indy racing circuit are a far cry from the average motorist's daily trips to and from work, school or the shopping mall.
Yet racing offers dramatic evidence that tires are crucial to operating a safe vehicle and selecting the right tire and servicing it are skills worthy of the consumer's respect and hard-earned purchasing dollars.
As a tire service professional, you can take advantage of the attention paid to tires by racing professionals and the media. Using racing as an example, you can point out to employees the importance of tires to Indy drivers, who rely on small contact patches of rubber to take them safely around the track at breathtaking speeds. This will help raise employees' appreciation of the product they sell.
In talking with customers, your employees can then pass along this important knowledge with enthusiasm and believability.