Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Is Black, Round and Full of Hot Air?

Let's talk tires.


No, really.

I spent yesterday and today with Bridgestone in Las Vegas checking out a couple of new tires they are releasing this spring.

I was with about 20 journalists. There were a bunch of tire dealers on the same event, but Bridgestone took great care to keep us separated as much as possible.

I've never seen so many people so excited about tires. Some of them were positively giddy. Think of being in a limo stuffed full of 11-year-old girls on their way to a Justin Bieber concert.

I sat across the dinner table last night from the editor of a tire trade magazine whose husband is getting his Masters Degree in rubber. Rubber! I'm not making this up.

These people are nuts about tires!

Bridgestone took us to the Las Vegas Speedway to do some performance driving on their new tires back to back against some competitors' rubber. Bridgestone kicked their butts.

During the session, I spent a little time chatting up Mario Andretti. You may think we were talking about racing or, perhaps, tires. That is why we were there, after all. You would be wrong on both counts. Wine was on my mind, specifically his wine.

He has a Napa Valley winery that produces some very good wines. I've had the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.  He's a pleasant, cordial guy who didn't seem too terribly annoyed by our silly questions.

But back to the tires…

The new tires in question are the Bridgestone Turanza Serenity Plus and the Firestone Destination LE2. Basically the Turanza is engineered for luxury-sport cars and the Destination is for SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks.

Both have enhanced performance in water and snow, have lower rolling resistance than the previous generation of those tires and now have longer warranties.

We also drove the Potenza RE970AS. In all, we drove three closed courses evaluating the tires.

The highlight of the day was going over to the Exotics Racing course where we got to drive five hot laps in a gazillion-dollar sports car.

I clocked my five laps in a Lamborghini Superleggera. I've never been behind the wheel of a Lamborghini before. For my first time to be on a race course; what a rush!

So that's how I spent my Wednesday. Not bad work if you can get it.

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