CLAKEVILLE, Ind.—Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. co-founder Joyce Newton died Jan. 16 at age 85.
She and her late husband, Bob Newton, started Hoosier Racing Tire in South Bend, Ind., in 1957.
An aspiring racer in the 1950s, Bob Newton was frustrated by the quality of race tires available at the time, so the Newtons started retreading tires for racing, then got into the new race tire business in 1961 in partnership with Mohawk Rubber Co. of Akron, which up to that point had provided Hoosier Tire with tread rubber.
That partnership lasted until 1978, when Mohawk closed its Akron plant.
In 1979 the Newtons built a plant in Plymouth, Ind., considered the first and only manufacturing plant designed to make tires exclusively for motorsports applications. The Newtons opened a second plant in 1992 for radial tires.
The company makes race tires for a wide range of motorsports series, ranging from dirt-track go-karts to high-speed endurance road racing to top-level drag racing.
Hoosier began producing race tires for Continental Tire the Americas L.L.C. in 2009, when the companies signed a strategic alliance to work together in the fields of motorsports and high-performance street tires.
After her husband's death in 2012, Joyce Newton continued to lead the company until 2016 when the family sold Hoosier Tire to Continental.
"The company owes its success to the vision and lean practices that Bob and Joyce established right from the start," the company said in a statement.
The couple donated 35 acres of land a few miles south of the company's headquarters for a park and sports complex—since renamed Newton Park—and bought the old Lakeville High School, which was slated for demolition, and turned it into a community center known as the Newton Center.