TALLADEGA, Ala.—Goodyear has become the exclusive tire supplier for NASCAR's top three racing divisions—effectively blocking racing rival Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. from entering the popular world of stock car racing. Goodyear and NASCAR jointly announced the deal April 25, just prior to the Talladega Superspeedway race weekend.
``The agreement between Goodyear and NASCAR allows Goodyear to benefit from more than the direct technology transfer in its track-to-street connection with NASCAR,'' said Bryan Kinnamon, marketing director for Goodyear's consumer tire business group. ``Now, we can increase the effectiveness of our marketing and promotional programs by directly tying with the most popular and fastest growing spectator sport in North America.''
Goodyear now is the exclusive tire supplier for NASCAR's Winston Cup Series, Busch Series, Grand National Division and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
The deal excludes BFS from participating in NASCAR events at least for the next three years.
``While we had no immediate plans to enter NASCAR racing, we've always considered it one of the top forms of motor racing in the United States. We could not have ignored the possibility of participating in it in the future,'' BFS Director of Motorsports Al Speyer said in a written statement.
``We have always viewed the top forms of motorsports to be open competition where the best companies can showcase their products and gain substantial exposure for their brand names by competing with each other....
``(The Goodyear-NASCAR agreement) appears to be a significant change of directon for Goodyear, which previously welcomed open competition in the top forms of racing,'' Mr. Speyer said. ``However, Bridgestone/Firestone has always demonstrated patience in its racing endeavors, and we realize that policy could change. We will continue to monitor this situation and react accordingly.''
BFS' Firestone brand re-entered Indycar racing in 1995 after a 21-year absence. This season, the U.S. company's Japanese parent, Bridgestone Corp., also began supplying tires for Formula One racing.