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Made In Michiana: Hoosier Tire

PLYMOUTH, Ind. - ABC 57 is taking you behind the scenes of one of the largest tire manufacturers in motor sports. Hoosier Tire sends race tires to countries all over the world.

It started with one Michiana man's dream to make a better racing tire, and 36 years later, Hoosier Tire is still rolling out some of the best tires in the industry.
 
“In 1979 it was a very humble beginning. Today, it's by far the largest race tire manufacturer in the world,” said John DeSalle, Hoosier Tire Vice President of Engineering and Manufacturing.
 
It started as a search for a better tire for racing enthusiast Bob Newton and his wife, Joyce.
 
“He lost a lot of races due to the quality and performance of the tires he was using,” DeSalle said.
 
The Newtons began retreading street tires for racing, and sold them out of an old South Bend barn. A little over 20 years later, their small business went big time.
 
“When it came time to make that really critical, significant investment to build a tire plant, it was the local community of Plymouth that said locate here,” DeSalle said.
 
Once the Newtons opened the doors of the Hoosier Tire plant in Plymouth, designing and manufacturing tires full time, their business only grew.
 
“Over 1400 different types of race products are produced in this race factory every year,” DeSalle said.
 
Today, Hoosier Tire is racing's largest manufacturer.
 
“Last year we shipped racing tires to over 80 countries in the world,” DeSalle said.

They are devoted 100-percent to motor sports.

“Every person here, every engineer, every compounder, every employee that we met today, their sole purpose is to make, and design, and build a better race tire,” DeSalle said.
 
DeSalle is an example of that. He's been with Hoosier Tire for 27 years now. He says every step of the process reflects how the Newtons would want it done.
 
“We take a lot of steps to ensure that every tire we produce is built to the very best quality,” DeSalle said.
 
It starts with rubber made from some of the best materials in the world.
 
“From here to here that's a batch of rubber, that's about 400 pounds of rubber,” DeSalle said.
 
Each batch is dropped into a mixer that runs 24 hours a day, five to six days a week, at a temperature of 225 degrees.
 
“450 pounds of rubber will come down on this mill and you can watch them manipulate it,” DeSalle said.
 
That rubber is weaved into a fabric-like material and expertly cut.
 
“This is a very skilled position, it takes a builder about one year to get proficient to do what you're going to see happen here now,” DeSalle said.
 
After that, the rubber is shaped with a metal drum.
 
“It still doesn't look like a tire it's just a big tube, we're getting closer,” DeSalle said.
 
Then it is loaded into a hot curling press.
 
“In 20 minutes they're going to look like that,” DeSalle said.
 
To get a nearly finished racing slick, topped off with a stamp of approval.
 
“Can't call it Hoosier if it's not located in Indiana,” DeSalle said.
 
The tire is 100 percent made in Michiana.
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