Firestone leaves and then returns to IndyCar Series

A week ago, Firestone announced that it wouldn't be returning to the Izod IndyCar Series in 2012, the same year that the series moves to its version of the Car of Tomorrow.

Now, after the owners of the IndyCar Series voted to keep Firestone as the sole supplier of the series in an attempt to get the company to reconsider, it looks like Firestone has, for two years, anyway. Firestone announced Friday that it will remain with the IndyCar Series through 2013.

Firestone has won 61 Indianapolis 500s and has been the sole U.S. open-wheel tire supplier after Goodyear left open-wheel racing in 2000. (Goodyear, of course, is NASCAR's sole tire supplier.) And Firestone also says that it has never had an accident related to a tire failure. (Punctures don't count as tire failures.)

But, as durable as the tires were, it’s the safety of Firestone/Bridgestone in IRL/CART/Champ Car/INDYCAR that’s unmatched and almost unbelievable considering the speeds and G loads on an oval track.

“We’ve never had an accident based on tire failure,” said Speyer, a 37-year-man with Firestone. “We’ve had some punctures, but no failures, and you can’t do better than zero.

“It’s a credit to our worldwide technology, a combined effort between Akron (Ohio) and Japan.”

Finding a new tire supplier for 2012 would have been yet another interesting journey for the Series, as Firestone has been the IndyCar Series' most prominent partner. The two-year deal is good for both parties, as it gives the IndyCar Series one less worry as it transitions to a new era and allows Firestone to see what open-wheel racing's future looks like without having to commit long-term.

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