CHAMPCAR/CART: Firestone Cleveland race report

He may have been running lean on fuel late in the race, but Dario Franchitti pushed his Firestone tires to the limit and they responded in helping him end a 29-race victory drought today. It is the Scotsman's seventh career CART win (all with ...

He may have been running lean on fuel late in the race, but Dario Franchitti pushed his Firestone tires to the limit and they responded in helping him end a 29-race victory drought today. It is the Scotsman's seventh career CART win (all with Firestone) and first since Australia in October 1999.

After being forced onto the grass on a lap-one, turn-one melee, Team Green's Franchitti charged back into the top five before going into fuel conservation mode. When race leader Memo Gidley of Ganassi Racing was forced to stop for a splash of methanol with 10 laps remaining, Franchitti inherited the lead and went on to win by 0.305 seconds over Gidley.

"Everyone at Firestone Racing couldn't be happier to see Dario back in victory lane," said Joe Barbieri, Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Project Supervisor. "He ran a fuel conservation race much of the day. When you do that you have to push the car harder in the corners - which leans on the tires more - to help compensate for the lack of horsepower the engine is generating. But as Dario said afterward, the Firestone Firehawks held up fantastically for him all day long. On the other end of the spectrum, Memo was pushing his car to its fullest on every lap, running full rich, and said his tires were with him every step of the way. So once again it looks like the crafty Firestone engineers did an impeccable job of tire selection."

** Firestone Racing served as sponsor of the Bobby Rahal Award of Excellence that was presented to broadcaster Paul Page during Saturday evening's Cleveland Grand Prix Committee gala. The honor is presented annually to someone who has made significant contributions to motorsports.

Dario Franchitti, Team Green Honda/Reynard/Firestone: "The tires were great. We were putting a lot of pressure on the tire because we were saving fuel, but they were fine all day. The Firestones were perfect. When I was running hard, I could push 'em all day, passing people down on the dirt and things, and the tires were still great.

Memo Gidley, Ganassi Racing Toyota/Lola/Firestone: "It was qualifying lap for me every lap today, every corner. It was the best seat time and the most fun I've had in a Champ car since I started. The Firestone tires worked great. I pushed hard the entire lap, the entire race, and I don't think you could have punished them more. I even went a stop and a half on the last set of tires and I was still running some of the fastest laps I'd done. They were great!"

Race temperature ranges today: 67-71 degrees ambient (F) 77-81 degrees track (F).

-Firestone

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Memo Gidley , Bobby Rahal , Dario Franchitti
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing