Tony Kanaan reeled off a sensational final lap and the Firestone tires performed flawlessly for all 28 drivers to highlight the first day of competition on the streets of Long Beach. Kanaan, in his Hollywood-sponsored Honda/Reynard from Mo Nunn ...
Tony Kanaan reeled off a sensational final lap and the Firestone tires performed flawlessly for all 28 drivers to highlight the first day of competition on the streets of Long Beach. Kanaan, in his Hollywood-sponsored Honda/Reynard from Mo Nunn Racing, clocked a last lap of 104.559 mph (1 minute, 7.759 seconds) to secure the fastest speed of the day.
He was the only driver to post a lap of more than 104 mph and less than 1:08. Kanaan's time was within three-tenths of a second of Gil de Ferran's pole-winning effort in 2000, the first year for this track configuration at Long Beach. The tight competition Friday was exemplified by the fact that the second through 21st positions were all within a second of each other.
"It's a privilege and a pleasure for Firestone to be back at Long Beach and equipping every Champ car this weekend," said Al Speyer, Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Director. "We returned to Long Beach with the same tire specification that ran so successfully here a year ago, so most of the teams were already quite familiar with the tires' performance characteristics. That certainly was a factor in so many teams being so quick on the first day. This tire is our 'softest' street course version, meaning it is also the softest tire we run in CART on any type circuit. Still, we have seen no abnormal wear issues and expect that to continue through the weekend, helping make this a most intense and competitive race on Sunday."
Firestone is serving its second season as sole tire supplier to the FedEx Championship Series, even though the series remains open to any competitor. Firestone has won 75 percent (83 of 110) of the CART races since it joined the series in 1995, including the last five straight at Long Beach.
Tony Kanaan, Mo Nunn Racing Honda/Reynard/Firestone: "We really had a good car and just had to wait for the right time to get a clean lap. Finally, I got it. I was pushing really hard. It's good to know that we have a competitive car and I'm not happy with the set-up yet. We can do a lot more. The track is a green so we have a tendency to wear the tires a little more the first day, but I'm happy with them. We'll be OK. By Sunday we'll have a lot of rubber on the track. I'm in a different car this year but it's definitely a big help to have the same tires. And the Firestones have always been very consistent, so I'm never worried about tires at all."
Morning practice temperatures ranged from 70 to 83 degrees track and from 65 to 70 degrees ambient.
Afternoon practice temperatures ranged from 92 to 95 degrees track and from 67 to 74 degrees ambient.