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Dec 15, 2000

Graves Race Tire Services Quits Michelin

Graves Race Tire Services, which handles Michelin race tire distribution at racetracks in the Western United States, has quit the tire business. The company, owned by brothers Chuck, Tom and Mike Graves, increased Michelin racing tire sales from 800 units to 5000 units per year and increased percentage of grid fitment from 2% to 50% in classes requiring DOT-labeled tires in the 3-1/2 years since taking over Michelin distribution in the West.

Issues leading to the split included problems with sales incentives, for-sale product availability and being undercut on pricing by big distribution companies like Parts Unlimited, according to sources familiar with the deal.

Asked to comment, Chuck Graves said "We felt that our ability to be competitive and profitable was terminally limited by the current needs of Michelin North America. We want to be competitive in all aspects of our business and they don't want to be or are unable to be at this time. It's better for us to spend our resources in other areas." Graves and his brothers also own and operate Graves Motorsports, a high-performance parts and accessories manufacturer, and Graves Racing, an AMA Formula Xtreme team.

Asked if his team would be switching to Dunlop tires for the 2001 season, Chuck Graves said "Yes. Those guys are committed to doing whatever it takes to win races."