Hinchcliffe choice to run Firestone primary tires in St.Pete

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Firestone Firehawk race report.

Firestone Tire Performance Recap: Firestone Racing, at the request of the series and drivers, increased the performance gap between the Firehawk primary (black-sidewall) and alternate (red-sidewall) tires and it played a decisive role in today’s race.

Firestone engineers designed the alternate tire to be softer than in the past, which made it faster but with the potential to wear out more quickly.

Victory circle: race winner James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport Chevrolet celebrates with girlfriend Kirsten Dee, Michael Andretti and Andretti Autosport team members
Victory circle: race winner James Hinchcliffe, Andretti Autosport Chevrolet celebrates with girlfriend Kirsten Dee, Michael Andretti and Andretti Autosport team members

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Race winner James Hinchcliffe and his team engineer Craig Hampson chose to use a set of the more durable Firestone primary tires for the 36-lap run to the finish – while all others around Hinchcliffe opted for the alternate tires – and it paid off for the Canadian, who drove to his first career IZOD IndyCar Series victory. (A chart of drivers’ tire use in the race is attached.)

From race winner James Hinchcliffe, #27 GoDaddy Andretti Autosport Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone: “It’s tough to put into words what this means.

It was such a hard race, with all the cautions, all the restarts and at the end there being the only one (up front) on Firestone blacks (primary tires), but those tires held up so well.

When you’ve got Helio, a three-time winner of this race behind you, you know the pressure’s on so we just had to keep our head down and go to get the first win.

With how long that last stint was going to be, we didn’t think the alternates could do it, so we had to go with the blacks. Watching everybody else go with the reds, we thought we might have been in trouble.

We were hoping the longevity (with the primaries) was going to play into our hands and you could see in the last three or four laps that we were able to open up a little bit of a gap on Helio. It was the right decision. Those Firestone blacks held up awesome!”

From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: “What a tremendous way to start the 2013 season, with a first-time race winner. Kudos to James Hinchcliffe and Craig Hampson for making the critical choice to run Firestone primary tires for that final, deciding race stint.

Hinch made a great pass on Helio for the lead and the durability of the black-sidewall Firehawks carried him to victory. This is a bittersweet weekend for me as two longtime friends and associates, Joe Barbieri and Page Mader, worked their last race as corporate employees today.

We all wish them the best of luck and a happy retirement. We do still have a great team in place and new additions to replace the retirees. I am very confident that the ‘new blood’ will be extremely capable of carrying on the great Firestone tradition with IndyCar.”

Firestone

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About this article
Series INDYCAR
Article type Race report
Tags firestone, hinchcliffe, indycar, st.pete