“Firestone Fast Six” Qualifying Results (mph): 1. Ryan Hunter-Reay (123.422); 2. Will Power (122.976); 3. Tristan Vautier (122.919); 4. Scott Dixon (122.914); 5. Charlie Kimball (122.669); 6. Helio Castroneves (122.647).
Firestone qualifying highlight: Running a used set of Firestone Firehawk alternate (red-sidewall) tires in the Firestone Fast Six, Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay ended Penske Racing’s stranglehold of Barber Motorsports Park pole positions. Firestone designed and brought new, “softer” tire compounds for both the primary and alternate specifications. Combined with the recent track surface modificiation, they delivered qualifying lap times that obliterated the previous track record by more than three seconds.
From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: “What an amazing day of qualifying, to see Scott Dixon lower the track record by more than three seconds in the first qualifying segment when he was on a new set of Firestone alternate tires at their peak. It’s also impressive to note that every driver today beat the old track record by more than a second. Ryan Hunter-Reay snuck in at the end to collect the pole award, but as the competition has shown this weekend, it’s anybody’s race tomorrow. Tire strategy will definitely play a role again. We know how much grip the Firehawk alternates have in the short term, but no one has yet put a long run on a set to see how they’ll fare at the end. As we saw two weeks ago in St. Petersburg, that team and driver decision on which tires to use for that final push to the end could mean the difference between winning or not. We expect nothing less than another great race.”