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Firestone extends backing of IndyCar race at Texas

Mar 4, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT

IZOD IndyCar Series Firestone 500 Getty Images

Texas Motor Speedway president/general manager Eddie Gossage has confirmed that Firestone, the official tire supplier of the IZOD IndyCar Series, will remain the sponsor of the series’ summer event at TMS.

“Another great partner @FirestoneRacing announces a 3-year extension of our June @IndyCar race, the #Firestone550 ! Very proud 2 work w/ them,” Gossage tweeted earlier today.

In a statement, Firestone Racing executive director Al Speyer said that his company was thrilled to continue working with TMS through the 2015 season.

“In my opinion, the IZOD IndyCar Series at Texas Motor Speedway features some of the best racing on the planet and the Firestone brand is proud to be associated with it,” he said.

Since the 1997 season, Texas Motor Speedway has put on 24 IndyCar races, which have perennially been amongst the best-attended in the series outside of the Indianapolis 500. But the track’s presence on the open-wheel circuit was put into danger following the death of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon in the 2011 season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway — which features similar characteristics to TMS’ 1.5-mile, high-banked oval.

A palpable sense of anxiety amongst the drivers surrounded last June’s race at TMS, which was the first on a high-banked oval for IndyCar since the Wheldon tragedy. But a new aerodynamic package that put more control in the drivers’ hands helped break up the previous form of pack racing and the ensuing race was a bonafide barn-burner that saw Justin Wilson take the checkered flag in dramatic fashion:

That outing may have saved TMS’ open-wheel legacy, as toward the end of last summer, it was announced that the IndyCars would return to Fort Worth in 2013.

Now, with Firestone’s extension, it appears the IndyCar faithful will get to enjoy “America’s Original Nighttime IndyCar Race” for a few more seasons.

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