The atmosphere inside the Sporting Park, the new $200 million home of Sporting KC during the recent MLS All-Star soccer game was electrifying. The sellout crowd of 20,000 fans was so loud the reverberations were strong enough to shake the stadium-it was one rung short of pandemonium.
Just days prior european car was extended a special invite to the 2013 MLS All-Star game in Kansas City preceded by a once-in-a-lifetime (more on that later) ride-along experience in a Daytona Prototype racecar around the all new Kansas Speedway road course. And all of the awesomeness came courtesy of Continental Tires.
Although Continental Tires is known for its worldwide production of, well automotive tires, it wasn't until landing in KC that we realized the scope of Conti's production. Its range of rubber extended far beyond automotive and all-terrain tires to motorcycle hoops, industrial applications and even shoes, yes, rubber on your feet. The crew at Conti even let it slip they might break into soccer cleat technology in the near future.
And so as the crowd at the All-Star game rocked KC to the max, I couldn't help but realize Conti's technology was far more widespread than I'd ever imagined. Why just within the automotive scope a race tire shares little with a road going tire, just as a touring tire has little in common with a UHP max grip street tire. Now add motorcycle, all-terrain, industrial and everything else Conti caters to and you begin to understand the magnitude of the company.
Speaking of magnitude, holding the MLS All-Star game at the new Sporting Park was made better by the fact that just a few short years ago the KC team, then known as the Wizards played in the Arrowhead Stadium for a few thousand fans at best, and now there were 20,000 strong. Like the ever growing MLS association, KC's team has been on the rise in recent history, winning two of the past Eastern Conference titles.
Sadly, winning wasn't in the cards for the MLS all stars, as their opponents, AS Roma, the Italian professional team took the match 3-1. AS Roma was the first non-British team to play in the MLS All-Star game and proved that the Italians are as good at soccer as they are at building sports cars.
Ride of your life
The day before the match we (european car) were lucky enough to ride shotgun in the 2012 Continental Tires Daytona Prototype racecar around the all new Kansas Speedway road course. In addition to our own excitement-filled track experience, pro drivers like Jordan Taylor took a select few of MLS players out for the ride of their lives. Needless to say, all of the players had a newfound respect for the drivers and each walked away with big smiles and trembling hands.
Look for the full story on the high-G road course experience in the near future. For more information on Continental Tires visit www.continentaltire.com and www.mlssoccer.com for more info on one of the fastest growing sports in the US.