AKRON—When it comes to racing, Bridgestone Americas Inc. has one focus only: to develop and make tires for the Verizon IndyCar Series.
And being able to concentrate solely on the open-wheel series is beneficial to the Race Tire Development unit of the firm's Firestone Racing program, according to one company official.
“We feel that partnering closely with that series is actually a strength from a tire development standpoint, and we work very closely with the series, the teams and the drivers,” said Dale Harrigle, currently the chief engineer and manager of race tire development.
Harrigle joined Bridgestone in 1992 and was in on the ground floor when the firm made its return to open-wheel racing in 1994. After 22 years in the program, though, he will be moving onto a management role in developing tires for Bridgestone's consumer tire replacement business when the 2016 IndyCar season ends after the race in Somona, Calif., on Sept. 18.
Because of the relationship between the tire maker and the series, he said, Firestone Racing uses feedback to determine what the teams and racers want in terms of performance and promoting the best racing for the fans.
“At the end of the day, we recognize that the tires say Firestone on the sidewall, so they are our responsibility,” Harrigle said. “But we do use feedback from (the) IndyCar series and the teams to help guide us in our general development decisions.”