FIRESTONE FIREHAWK FAST FACTS Championship Auto Racing Teams FedEx Championship Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.) Race distance: 82laps, 161.376 miles. Firestone tires supplied this weekend: approx.800 dry (based on 7 sets ...
FIRESTONE FIREHAWK FAST FACTS
Championship Auto Racing Teams FedEx Championship Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.)
Race distance: 82laps, 161.376 miles.
Firestone tires supplied this weekend: approx.800 dry (based on 7 sets per car, for 28 cars); approx. 450 rain (based on 4 sets per car, for 28 cars). Firestone winners at Long Beach (since '95 entry into CART): Jimmy Vasser (1996), AlexZanardi ('97 and '98), Juan Montoya ('99) and Paul Tracy (2000). End of a championship run: Long Beach had become known as the race of champions until last year. Firestone's first four winners at Long Beach -- Vasser, Zanardi (twice) and Montoya -- all went on the claim the CART driving championship in the same season as their wins here. However, Tracy was unable to follow up his 2000 Long Beach triumph with a season title.
Al Speyer, Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Director, on tire selection for Long Beach: "The proof is in the results as far as tires for Long Beach are concerned. The Firestone Firehawks performed so well last year -- even better than we anticipated -- that our engineering group has decided to return with the same specification. Paul Tracy successfully ran an extra stint on one set of tires in the race, and the improved track position gained from the quicker pit stop was a key to his incredible drive to victory. Many also recall that the teams universally raved about the tire performance a year ago, particularly the lack of tire debris that accumulated outside the racing line. This is, in fact, our 'softer' street course tire spec, which one anticipates would produce more marbles, but that was not the case in 2000. While changing track and climate conditions can affect tire performance, not to mention changing car set-ups, we are confident of a repeat performance for the Firehawk tires in 2001."
FIRESTONE PREDICTS: A year ago, Firestone correctly predicted that the winner of the Long Beach race would not go on to win the season championship, something that had happened with the previous four winners. Well, Paul Tracy won the race and was a season-long contender, but did not win the 2000 championship. OK, we'll go out on that limb again and prognosticate that this year's Long Beach victor will be the season champ in 2001.