Indy Racing Northern Light Series
Infiniti Grand Prix of Miami, Presented by 123.Com Americatel
At Homestead-Miami Speedway

Firehawks Prove Their Durability

Before the first car took to Homestead-Miami Speedway for today's qualifying session, the Firestone Firehawks had already put in a good two day's of work.

In practice sessions Friday and this morning, the drivers accumulated a total of 2,386 laps on the demanding 1.5-mile oval, all with the Firehawks performing flawlessly. As drivers battled windy conditions, the Firehawks earned high marks for their grip.

Quote from Firestone Racing Project Supervisor Joe Barbieri: "We talked to quite a few drivers immediately after their qualifying efforts, and there seemed to be a common thread among them all. The wind was tough, but their tires had the grip to keep them where they wanted to be on the track. More than that, the tires have been lasting very well in the previous practice sessions, so they had strong confidence in what they could do. We commend Jeff Ward and the Heritage Motorsports program for the pole. Jeff went around the track like he was on rails, breaking that magical 200 mph barrier."

Driver Quotes

Greg Ray, Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone: "The tires have been great all weekend. This is a very, very abrasive racetrack but we've haven't had a problem with that all. We've been working on our race set-up; we've put a lot of laps on the tires and they've been perfect. Their consistency is very good."

Buddy Lazier, Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone : "When I went to qualify I had a perfect balance; I was flat out as I've ever been, just wide open, and the tires were perfect. This is a tough racetrack. I think the surface has a tendency to eat tires, so hats off to Firestone for bringing a tire that has a lot of grip and that also is going to live for the whole length of the runs. You can't tell the difference from set to set on these tires. Certainly there's wear, 'cause this race track wears tires, but every set is identical."

Helping a Local Hospital Help Others

In tomorrow's pre-race activities, CARA Charities and the Bridgestone/Firestone Trust Fund will present a $2,500 check to the Homestead Hospital Pediatric Unit. The money will be used to purchase infant car seats for needy families in southern Florida. The Bridgestone/Firestone Trust Fund this year is contributing $82,500 to CARA (Championship Auto Racing Auxiliary) to support the Buckle Up Baby campaign.

Qualifying session temperatures ranged from 91 to 108 degrees track and from 81 to 85 degrees ambient (Fahrenheit).

-Firestone-