Indy 500: Firestone Carb Day practice report

Firestone Firehawks Faring Fast and Fine for the Indy 500 SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 22, 2009) - With around 34,000 IndyCar Series miles already logged this month, the Firestone Firehawk race tires have proven they are more than ready for...

Firestone Firehawks Faring Fast and Fine for the Indy 500

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 22, 2009) - With around 34,000 IndyCar Series miles already logged this month, the Firestone Firehawk race tires have proven they are more than ready for Sunday's "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

Through today's Carburetion Day practice, more than 13,500 laps have been completed during practice and qualifying at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That equates to at least 33,750 car miles around the 2.5-mile oval, but since there are four tires on each car, Firestone has really accumulated in the neighborhood of 135,000 miles of invaluable tire data. The results thus far have been impressive.

"Overall we are very pleased with the tire performance this May," said Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing. "As is always the case, some teams are really dialed in and others are still looking for the optimum set-up. We try to help all of them as much as we can. The wear rate on the Firestone Firehawk tires has been very good and, if anything, the Firestone tire engineers tell me that the track is less abrasive this year than last. We're looking forward to a fantastic race with plenty of close competition, which the fans are sure to enjoy."

Many IndyCar Series drivers are in agreement with the Firehawks' performance and how it bodes for an exciting race to celebrate the speedway's centennial.

"We wanted to make sure we know what to do during the race so we tried some different set-ups," said pole sitter Helio Castroneves from Team Penske, who was fastest today with a lap of 223.920 mph. "Certainly we showed that we have a very, very strong car, a very, very strong team. ... Obviously today was a little hotter, but as the track is getting more grip, the tires seemed to help and held together. It's going to definitely be a tough one for everyone, but especially on new tires, Firestone was awesome. They're holding up on the long run, but that depends on the set-up of the car. Right now we feel really, really good, so I am confident. Not overconfident but confident."

"The tires are great," added Mario Moraes, third fastest today (222.951) in the #5 Azul Tequila/Votorantim/KV Racing Dallara/Honda. "They run really strong for around 29 laps. That is nice for the race because we probably won't run more than 30 laps on a stint. We're going to have a good race, and the tires are going to work well. Great work!"

Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal, eighth quick today (221.771) in the #02 McDonald's car, was pleased, too. "The car felt super-nice and pretty comfortable. We definitely have the pace right now to run with the big boys. Everything with the Firestone tires seems to be all right. You get a little bit of degradation, but I think our tires are hanging on better than most, and we're pretty happy with that."

There's already been one winner this month on Firestone tires. Wade Cunningham won today's Firestone Freedom 100 in the Firestone Indy Lights series, and he too raved about the performance of his Firestone tires.

""We had a little bit of concern going into the event," Cunningham said. "Indianapolis is a very abrasive track, but the tires were there for me at the end. I was worried about the fronts, but I was able to drive through JR (Hildebrand)'s wake in the second-to-last lap and hold on, and they gave me the confidence to go into turns one and two flat. That's what we did, and that contributed to the win."

-credit: firestone

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Graham Rahal , Wade Cunningham , Mario Moraes
Teams Team Penske