IPS: IRL: Homestead: Firestone preview

Indy Racing League properly attired for 2003 season opener; All IndyCar and Infiniti Pro Racecars ride on Firestone Firehawks. HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 28, 2003) - New teams. New drivers. New engine manufacturers. New chassis suppliers. With the...

Indy Racing League properly attired for 2003 season opener; All IndyCar and Infiniti Pro Racecars ride on Firestone Firehawks.

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 28, 2003) - New teams. New drivers. New engine manufacturers. New chassis suppliers. With the greatest mixture of new variables since the inaugural Indy Racing League event in 1996, this weekend's Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway is going to be - for many - a discovery experience. The one known factor, however, is the proven reliable performance of the Firestone Firehawk racing radials fitted to every IndyCar.

"While we take great pride in our continuing efforts to introduce new technologies in our IndyCar race tires, we felt it would be best to start the season with a proven product," said Al Speyer, Executive Director of Firestone Racing. "Our engineers have chosen to use the same tire specification at Homestead as was successfully utilized a year ago. This gives returning teams a solid benchmark, helping them quickly adjust and fine-tune the other variables. For teams and drivers new to the IndyCar competition, our engineering team has provided advice and technical support to get them up to speed - literally and figuratively - as quickly as possible."

Firestone is very familiar with the Homestead-Miami 1.5-mile oval, having competed in both previous IRL events here in 2001 and 2002. In each year, Firestone was the sole tire supplier, helping achieve the following:
    2001 pole winner: Jeff Ward, 201.551 mph
    2001 race winner: Sam Hornish Jr. 148.508 mph
    2002 pole winner: Sam Hornish Jr. 202.884 mph
    2002 race winner: Sam Hornish Jr. 140.325 mph

In addition to the Toyota Indy 300 IndyCar event, the Firestone Racing program will provide race tires (approximately 500) and technical support for the IRL Infiniti Pro Series season opener. The Firestone Firehawks used in that competition are outwardly very similar to the Firehawks used in the IndyCar Series (mounted on 15-inch rims, 10-inch-wide front tires and 14-inch-wide rear tires), but feature different compounds and constructions to meet the unique needs of the Infiniti Pro Series.

To meet the needs of both competitions, approximately 25 Firestone Racing program staff members will be on site this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The program is bringing three tractor-trailer rigs onto the property to serve as office space and tire service facilities. Additional rigs are used for delivery and retrieval of tires. More than 300 Firestone retail dealers, associates, store personnel and other special guests will also be on-site, taking in the race activities.

"Our involvement with the Indy Racing League has been very exciting for our sales network," Speyer said. "What we've accomplished on the track has generated enthusiasm throughout our company. We're looking forward to building on this success with another great event this weekend - an event where tire performance will allow some close, competitive action."

This weekend's competition marks the 72nd IndyCar Series race and Firestone is the only major racecar component supplier to have competed in each and every event.

FIRESTONE FIREHAWK FAST FACTS

Tire Quantity - The Firestone Racing program brought 1,292 Firehawk racing radials to Homestead-Miami Speedway for this weekend's event. IRL officials determine the number of sets each car may use at every IndyCar event; for this weekend's action it's eight sets (32 tires) of Firehawks.

Tire Type - The Firehawks used by the IndyCars this weekend are classified as intermediate oval track tires, featuring the same proven construction and compound used last year at Homestead-Miami Speedway. They were produced at the Akron (Ohio) Technical Center.

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Jeff Ward , Sam Hornish Jr.