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This weeks interview is with Matt Edmonds, Vice President of marketing at The Tire Rack online tire store. Matt is a third generation California car nut that came to Indiana for college. He met the love of his life there and never moved back (which happens to the best of us)!
Tire Rack started in the 70’s when Mike Joines was encouraged by his father in law Pete Veldman to do something with cars, so he started a retail tire store. Mike was also a national level SCCA racer and he was frustrated that sometimes it took weeks to get high performance tires delivered. He decided to do something about it and started the mail order side of the Tire Rack.
In the early 80’s they moved to South Bend Indiana simply for the 10,000 foot warehouse. Now they have six distribution locations around the country and tires can be delivered to 80% of the country in one day by UPS ground.
Tire Rack decided that quality tires and understanding the product was so important that they built their own test track in the front yard of the South Bend headquarters. Sales reps are also the test drivers on the test track and are the ultimate help in determining what tires will work well for the customer based on actual driving experience.
The test track gives sales reps an understanding of tires that helps the supplier and the customer by giving Tire Rack qualified feedback on the products they are selling. I’ll admit that this little tidbit was a bit of surprise to me as I assumed that Tire Rack was nothing more than a large mail order service that just happened to sell tires instead of other commodity items (diapers, cases of delicious Diet Coke, you name it).
Tire Rack delivers race tires used on SCCA cars. They enjoy a great working relationship with race clubs as well as opening up the test track to many club events and races. The Tire Rack headquarters is the starting and ending location of the Brock Yates One Lap of America. They hold nearly every popular modern muscle car tire out there and also serve the more common needs of the masses (think mini van tires, Toyota Camry’s, etc.)
The business was started with race tires in mind, once they made the decision (1984) to focus on direct sales to consumers, it was apparent that anyone could benefit from ship direct tires, from Corvette racers to mini van drivers. The suppliers also benefit from the 2.7 Billion miles of data from that Tire Rack gathers from it’s customers.
Many times the Tire Rack works very closely with tire manufacturers to develop performance tires and pays close attention to the resulting product. They are considered to be a very objective third party to the manufacturers as well as the end consumer and work hard to help improve tire products.
Matt says that the Tire Rack is also dedicated to driver safety. They founded the Street Survival driver school that trains teens above and beyond normal classes and is creating a safer class of drivers for the future. This class teaches young people about the handling of a car and how tires and traction change the way a car reacts. You can check out the class at StreetSurvival.org
You can check out the Tire Rack at www.TireRack.com or call them at 1-888-541-1777
Thanks for the great interview Matt!
This interview sponsored by our pals at National Parts Depot – your premier source for muscle car restoration parts!