Al Speyer presents the Tony Renna Rising Star award to Charlie Kimball at the recent IndyCar awards banquet. (LAT photo)
Bridgestone Americas announced Friday 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. 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 IndyCar and other forms of motorsports and says it will conduct a search to name Speyer's successor.