Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations Announces Retirement of Executive Director of Motorsports
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (Bridgestone Americas) announced today that Al Speyer, executive director of motorsports, intends to retire in 2013 after 38 years with the company.
Speyer has been a well-known face at tracks across the globe during his 30 years in motorsports. He began his career with Firestone Tire & Rubber Company after graduating from Syracuse University in 1974 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Throughout his career he has worked on a wide variety of racing classes including stock cars, sports cars (SCCA – amateur and Trans-Am; IMSA – GTP/GTO/GTU and the Firestone Firehawk Endurance Series), drag racing, F1 and IndyCar.
“My career with Bridgestone Americas is filled with positive experiences, and my time in motorsports has been a dream come true. I will be forever grateful to the company for the opportunities I’ve enjoyed and thankful to all of the individuals that have counseled and supported me in so many ways,“ said Speyer. ”I have thought about retirement for some time, and that time has come. I still very much enjoy what I do; likewise, I will enjoy spending more time with my wife Jane, our son Erik and friends. I look forward to helping with the transition to my successor, who will undoubtedly bring new and innovative ideas to the program. I will deeply cherish the memories and will remain a fan for life"
In 1992, shortly after the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company was acquired by Bridgestone Corporation and the U.S. operations were consolidated as Bridgestone/ Firestone, Inc., Speyer was named manager of motorsports for the company. The following year, the company announced it would end a 20-year hiatus from the top forms of open-wheel racing.
In 1996, Speyer was tapped to manage the return to open-wheel racing and under his management, the Firestone racing program quickly dominated in American open-wheel racing. Speyer was promoted to director of motorsports and in 2001 was named executive director of motorsports. In addition to directing the company’s open-wheel programs, he also directed its motorcycle and karting activities, managing all aspects of the company’s motorsports activities, including marketing and promotional activities.
“Al Speyer was instrumental in managing our motorsports programs for the past 30 years. When we began supporting the Indy Racing League again in 1996, Al helped lead Firestone back to a premier position in IndyCar Racing,” said Phillip Dobbs, Chief Marketing Officer, Consumer Tire Sales division, Bridgestone Americas. “We will miss Al tremendously, but we look forward to building upon the great legacy he leaves behind.”
Bridgestone Americas plans to continue supporting its current efforts in motorsports and IndyCar and will be conducting a search to name Speyer’s successor.
About Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations:
Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) is a business unit of Bridgestone Americas, Inc., whose parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world’s largest tire and rubber company. Reporting into the BATO business unit are the company’s Latin American tire operations; the U.S. and Canadian consumer tire businesses; the U.S. and Canadian commercial tire businesses; and Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC, which operates the largest network of company-owned automotive service providers in the world. BATO develops, manufactures and markets Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires. The business unit is focused on retail, wholesale and original equipment markets, supplying passenger, light truck, commercial vehicle, off road, motorcycle, agricultural and other tires to its customers in the Americas. In addition, through its Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions unit, retreading customers have access to industry-leading research and development, manufacturing, marketing and sales expertise, providing them with a total tire solution.
About Firestone Racing:
The Firestone brand has appeared in world-class motorsports events across the globe since its first documented victory in the inaugural Indianapolis 500-Mile Race® in 1911. Since 2002, Firestone has served as the official tire of the IZOD IndyCar® Series, Firestone Indy Lights and the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race®, which has been won by a Firestone-equipped driver 63 times in its 96-year history.
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