Bridgestone Americas’ motorsport head retires
After 38 years with the company, the executive director of Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations’ motorsports activities will retire next year. At present no successor has been named.
Al Speyer has been a well-known face at racetracks around the world during his three decades in motorsports. He began his career with the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company after graduating from Syracuse University in 1974 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. 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,” said Speyer. “I will be forever grateful to the company for the opportunities I’ve enjoyed and thankful to all of the individuals that have counselled and supported me in so many ways. 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 programme. I will deeply cherish the memories and will remain a fan for life.”
In 1992, shortly after Firestone Tire & Rubber was acquired by Bridgestone Corporation and the US operations were consolidated as Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., Speyer was named the company’s manager of motorsports. The following year, Bridgestone/Firestone announced it would end a 20-year hiatus from the top forms of open-wheel racing. In 1996, Speyer was tapped to manage this return, and under his management the Firestone racing programme 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 programmes, 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 programmes for the past 30 years,” said Phillip Dobbs, chief marketing officer, Consumer Tire Sales division, Bridgestone Americas. “When we began supporting the Indy Racing League again in 1996, Al helped lead Firestone back to a premier position in IndyCar Racing. We will miss Al tremendously, but we look forward to building upon the great legacy he leaves behind.”