INDIANAPOLIS (April 9, 2008) — The Indy Racing League (IRL) has made Affinia Group Inc.'s Raybestos brake brand the “preferred competition brake friction” product for road and street courses for its IndyCar and Firestone Indy Lights series for 2008 and 2009.
Competitors are free to continue to use any brand of brake components they choose, but Raybestos will award the winner of each road or street IndyCar race $5,000, and $25,000 to the racer with the best average finishing position in the series' road and street courses, provided the driver was using Raybestos pads. The prize awards will be $2,500 and $10,000 in the Indy Lights series.
The designation does not apply to the series' oval races, an IRL spokesman said. This year's 16-race schedule includes five road courses.
“The IndyCar Series is always looking to associate itself with respected brands that have earned the trust of the American consumer,” said Terry Angstadt, president of the IRL's commercial division. “Raybestos is one of those brands.”
The deal marks a return to top-level competition for the Raybestos brand, according to Josh Russell, vice president of marketing for Affinia's Under Vehicle Group. Raybestos was active in Indy-style racing throughout the 1950s, '60s and '70s, Mr. Russell said.
Raybestos will benefit from the partnership by being able to use some of the IRL's top drivers in its brand advertising, consumer promotions and point-of-sale marketing materials, according to the IRL.
Raybestos-brand brakes are also the official brakes of NASCAR, including sponsorship of the annual Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award for Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck racing series.