IRL: Chicagoland: Firestone race report

Wheldon wins Chicagoland race; Hornish claims championship Dan Wheldon and his Target Chip Ganassi Racing team did absolutely everything they could today, but they fell just short of taking the 2006 IndyCar Series Championship from Sam Hornish...

Wheldon wins Chicagoland race; Hornish claims championship

Dan Wheldon and his Target Chip Ganassi Racing team did absolutely everything they could today, but they fell just short of taking the 2006 IndyCar Series Championship from Sam Hornish Jr. and Marlboro Team Penske. Wheldon led the most laps and won the race, tying him in points with Hornish. However, Hornish's four race wins this season compared to Wheldon's two were the tiebreaker. The Ganassi cars seemed to have the most speed all day long, and Wheldon's teammate Scott Dixon finished the race in second place. However, third was good enough for Hornish, and he claimed the IndyCar title and its $1 million bonus - the third of his career title and the first for owner Roger Penske.

From Dan Wheldon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "I wasn't going to let this one get away today! I'd like to thank Firestone for everything they do. Obviously we are pushing the envelope all the time, running as little downforce as possible. What's great about the tires is even when you push that envelope, the tires are very consistent. That is very good considering the type of pressure you are putting the tires under."

Firestone Tire Performance Summary: Firestone brought an updated version of its speedway tire specification to Chicagoland, and it performed well. The leaders ran a full stint and a half on one set at the beginning of the race. Firestone engineers made a last-minute change to the specification based on team testing prior to the Chicagoland event. They brought the same tire as the other 1.5-mile ovals on the IndyCar schedule, but with an increased gauge on the right side.

From Sam Hornish Jr., Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "Everything's been good with the tires all year long. I haven't had any problems, and to run as many miles as we do and to not have any problems, it makes you really feel good about the tires. When you look at a race like Infineon when we ran almost half the race on one set of tires, we are really comfortable when we put them on."

From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "What an incredible race! Other than pit stops, three of the red and white cars were never separated by more than a car length in an entire 300-mile race. It's amazing. It was a little cool today, so it was like a day at the park for the Firestone Firehawks. Even with the abrasive surface here, teams had the confidence to run more than one stint on a set of tires. I want to congratulate both Sam Hornish Jr. and Roger Penske on the incredible year they've had. Congratulations also go out to Dan Wheldon and the Ganassi team - to have the entire season go down to the last race and end in a tie in the points is quite an achievement. As for Firestone Racing, we have learned a lot this year, made some changes, and we are looking forward to 2007. If this year is any indication, it's going to be another great one."

Firestone Performance Award: Dan Wheldon earned the $10,000 Firestone Performance Award for leading lap 134. Today marked the 134th IndyCar race, and the award commemorates Firestone's participation in every IRL IndyCar Series race since the league's inaugural event in 1996.

Race temperatures ranged from 71 to 74 degrees track and 68 to 70 degrees ambient (F).

Race temperatures ranged from 21.5 to 23.5 degrees track and 20 to 21 degrees ambient (C).

-credit: firestone

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon , Dan Wheldon , Chip Ganassi , Roger Penske , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing