IRL: Chicagoland: Firestone race report

Wheldon Rides Firestones To Record Win Dan Wheldon overcame a pit-speed infraction to come from the back of the pack at Chicagoland Speedway today and claim his sixth victory of the season, an IndyCar Series record. Wheldon's win came in ...

Wheldon Rides Firestones To Record Win

Dan Wheldon overcame a pit-speed infraction to come from the back of the pack at Chicagoland Speedway today and claim his sixth victory of the season, an IndyCar Series record. Wheldon's win came in dramatic fashion as he beat Helio Castroneves across the finish line by just 0.0133 of a second, the eighth-closest finish in series history.

Wheldon's win came on a brand-new tire specification designed specifically for this weekend's event. Based on the construction used previously on 1.5-mile ovals, the spec features new left- and right-side compounds and was designed, in part, to increase heat resistance, which was tested today as track temperatures reached 117 degrees (F). The tires were pushed to the limits throughout the race, with the entire field running hard from start to finish, but held up exceptionally well with many teams running their sets more than one stint at a time.

"I was certainly working the right-rear pretty hard all race," said Wheldon. "For the Firestone Firehawks to last with that amount of load on them is pretty exceptional. But we're getting used to the performance of Firestone. There's no doubt as tire manufacturers go they're the best in the world."

Quote from Joe Barbieri, Manager, Firestone Racing: "This was another incredible race, which we've come to expect from Chicagoland Speedway, and we're proud to be able to contribute to that kind of close competition. Drivers really have to trust their tires to race the way these guys did all day today, and we're glad they have that confidence in our tires. We brought a new spec this weekend, and we couldn't be happier with the way it performed. The tires ran perfectly all weekend long and Danica Patrick even ran 102 laps on her last set -- incredible performance in this kind of heat. On another note, we're glad to hear that Alex, Kosuke and Ryan escaped serious injury and we hope to see them all back on track very soon."

Firestone Performance Award winner: Tony Kanaan of Andretti Green Racing led lap 118 today to claim the Firestone Performance Award, which commemorates the fact Firestone has competed in every IRL IndyCar Series event since the league's 1996 inception. Today's race was the 118th in league history. Kanaan will be presented a $10,000 check during pre-race festivities for the Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage on September 25.

Race temperatures ranged from 108 to 117 degrees track and 87 to 89 degrees ambient (F).

Race temperatures ranged from 42 to 47 degrees track and 31 to 32 degrees ambient (C).

-firestone-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Tony Kanaan , Dan Wheldon , Danica Patrick