FIRESTONE FIREHAWK QUALIFYING REPORT
IZOD IndyCar Series - 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 - Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Speedway, Ind.
Firestone Qualifying Highlight: The field is set for the centennial anniversary of the Indy 500 following two drama-filled days of qualifying. The Firestone tire specification for Indy is the same spec that drew wide praise from teams and drivers a year ago for its grip and consistency. With more than 7,500 laps (nearly 19,000 miles) recorded thus far in 2011, the Firehawk spec is proving just as solid and acclaimed this time around. Full-stint runs have been limited due to the wet weather the past week, but those that have been completed have been without issue.
From pole sitter Alex Tagliani, #77 Bowers & Wilkins/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "The Firestone tires last year worked really well. Our set-up was a perfect fit for the tires and the car, so we brought it back here similar (this year), and the car was faster from the get-go. When we looked at that and felt that we picked up speed, we felt we had a car that had a chance to fight for the pole. ... What we worked on from the second day of practice to qualifying was just trying to make sure the car was fast but was going to maintain the pace over four laps that would be good enough to clinch (pole position). We haven't done any long runs yet, but for us last year, the tires were great (in race stints). I don't see any big changes in that perspective. Not a wee bit of problem with the tires then, and we don't expect any again this year."
From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "Once again we have seen what qualifying at Indianapolis is all about. Without fail, we annually see nail-biting excitement, the unexpected, tremendous joy and great heartbreak. We saw it all again on both days this weekend. Our congratulations go to Alex Tagliani and Sam Schmidt for putting themselves up front in their first qualifying run and then backing it up in the fast nine. There were a number of surprises who didn't make the top 24 Saturday, which built the emotional drama for bump day today. Those late runs by Danica Patrick, Alex Lloyd and Marco Andretti to make the show were thrilling. And as usual, the drivers who all put it on the line this weekend did so without giving a second thought to their Firestone tires. You must have incredible confidence in the grip and tenacity of your tires to make bold runs like that, and we're glad these very talented drivers have so much faith in their Firehawks. It's a faith we greatly appreciate and always work hard to make sure we keep it."
-source: firestone racing