As Weather Heats Up at Indy, so Does Firestone Tire Action
IndyCar Series teams get in final traditional Carburetion Day practice
He's been the driver to beat all month, and pole sitter Sam Hornish Jr. continued setting the pace in today's final practice session prior to Sunday's 90th running of the Indianapolis 500. In windy but warm conditions, Hornish set the fast lap of 220.698 mph in the Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda on Firestone tires. Every car in the 33-car field is equipped with Firestone Firehawks, and they have completed 12,155 laps (30,387.5 miles) thus far in preparation for the big day.
"The car has been good all month long, it was real good in traffic today, and that's what you need on race day," Hornish said. "We've really worked all month on making the Firestone tires last the entire stint and trying to get them to do so in different conditions. We're very confident the tires will last through the stint and maybe even more if we need to do a late splash-and-go or something. The Firestones have been very consistent no matter the conditions this month, and that's the most important thing."
"Today was an important practice session for all the teams, and for Firestone as the exclusive tire supplier to the IndyCar Series," said Al Speyer, executive director of Firestone Racing. "It's among the few times all month the cars and drivers have had the opportunity to run in weather close to resembling what we expect on Sunday. Even though the track temperature only reached 92 degrees today -- probably not as hot as we'll see during the race -- it was still warm enough to help the teams zero in on the proper set-ups for those conditions. The new Firestone race tire for Indy this year has shown good durability thus far, and it looks as if that will just improve as the weather gets warmer. We're anticipating another great Indy 500 and can't wait to see who the 57th Firestone winner at Indianapolis will be."
Cunningham Wins Thrilling Freedom 100 Indy Pro Series Race from Pole
Wade Cunningham of Brian Stewart Racing officially led from wire-to-wire but had a tremendous battle with Jay Howard over the final three laps before winning today's Freedom 100 Indy Pro Series race. In his first event since undergoing an emergency appendectomy prior to the IPS doubleheader at St. Petersburg in April, Cunningham won from the pole despite battling gearbox problems the final half of the 40-lap race.
"Everything held together," Cunningham, the 21-year-old New Zealander, said. "The car started going off in the rear when I started having gearbox problems, but I made adjustments to the bars and weights and it came right back. The Firestone tires held up great for all 40 laps, especially when I needed them when I was battling Jay at the end. They were great!"
"Wade Cunningham continues to show he's a budding star in this sport, and today was more evidence of that," said Speyer. "Since Firestone also supplies the entire Indy Pro Series with tires, it provides us with an invaluable amount of additional data to help develop the next generation Firehawk race tires. We're proud of this relationship. It's also noteworthy that the Indy Pro Series is the only racing series in the world to compete on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval and road course. We can't wait until we're back at IMS in just more than a month to equip the IPS cars with the Firehawk road course tires on U.S. Grand Prix weekend."