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Oct 4, 2001

AMA Solicited Spec-tire Proposals For Dirt Track; Road Racing Could Be Next

AMA Pro Racing Director of Competition Merrill Vanderslice solicited spec-tire proposals from the three tire manufacturers involved in AMA Grand National Championship dirt track racing, Goodyear, Continental and Maxxis.<BR><BR>Continental has submitted a proposal, as detailed in a September 29 post on roadracingworld.com, and Goodyear either has or plans on submitting a proposal. Maxxis is apparently not planning on submitting a proposal.<BR><BR>The fact that AMA Pro Racing solicited spec tire proposals for dirt track could indicate that the organization may consider a similar spec tire program for one or more road racing classes.<BR><BR>Spec tire programs require all competitors to buy and use a single brand of tires, and eliminate traditional tire manufacturer support of riders and teams, which may include free tires and performance incentives.<BR><BR>Tire manufacturers currently involved in AMA Pro road racing competition with rider and team support programs include Dunlop, Michelin, Metzeler/Pirelli and Bridgestone.<BR><BR>Creating a spec tire in any given class will grant one brand a monopoly, with guaranteed sales and with all riders and teams paying for their tires. The elimination of tire support would greatly increase costs for teams.<BR><BR>Asked what impact a spec-tire program could have on his team, using as an example a deal that saw Dunlop declared the spec tire for 750cc Supersport, Arclight Suzuki's Chuck Warren said, "The immediate impact is that we wouldn't be able to participate. Secondarily, maybe I don't understand the situation well enough, it always seems to me that a spec tire deal is a way for the sanctioning body to generate funds for themselves. It seems to me they get an up-front fee for the tire company to use their tire, and then they get a percentage of each tire sold. It seems to me that they're taking the money directly out of the racers' pockets and putting it into their pockets and the pockets of the tire manufacturer.<BR><BR>"This team has built up a relationship with Metzeler/Pirelli over the last eight years and we don't want to see that relationship artificially ended."