Torn From The Headlines: Aug. 14, 1974

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Editor’s Note: The following was the lead story on page 2 of the August 2, 1995 issue of National Speed Sport News.

Firestone May Spell Finis To Racing

August 14 1974.TIFAKRON — Three score and four years of tradition and an estimated $8 million a year in hard cash remains hanging in the balance for auto racing as the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company on Monday again postponed an official announcement on abolition or curtailment of its racing program.

Scotty Brubaker, vice president in charge of public relations for the company had been scheduled to make an official announcement.

“We had hoped to have something to say today, but we are not going to be able to make any statement,” Brubaker said. “There won’t be anything before midweek.”

In this case no news is good news for the racing fraternity because it gave encouragement that the company with the red jackets might have under consideration some softening of its stance.

Despite the lack of official word, it is known that the top Firestone teams competing in U. S. Auto Club national championship racing all had been told by Firestone officials not to expect any more support for their efforts after the 1974 season ends — either in dollars or in tires. The word they got was that Firestone was getting out of racing, lock stock and barrel.

The news was reportedly made on the highest level as a policy matter by the Firestone Board of Directors and was largely a “dollars decision” based on the spiraling cost of auto racing —particularly the USAC championship variety.

While any figure on what the company spends on auto racing must be a somewhat arbitrary accounting matter of what you charge against racing and what you don’t. Those close to the scene said that the $8 million annual figure is “a good ballpark guess.”

Other Headlines

– Johncock Outruns A.J. At Milwaukee

Gordon Johncock held off A.J. Foyt to win the Tony Bettenhausen Classic 200 USAC championship car race at Wisconsin State Fair Speedway.

– Stretch Bump For Pearson, Gains Petty Talladega Race

Richard Petty ended his frustrations at Alabama Int’l Motor Speedway by capturing the Talladega 500 after a classic dual with David Pearson.

– Swindell Swings Sprint Feature

Young Sammy Swindell captured the 50-lap sprint car feature at Indiana’s Tri-State Speedway.