IRL: Homestead: Firestone Racing preview

Firestone Legacy Continues into 2004 HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 26, 2004) -- When Indy Racing League competitors take to the track for the first event of the 2004 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend, it will mark the start of the fifth ...

Firestone Legacy Continues into 2004

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Feb. 26, 2004) -- When Indy Racing League competitors take to the track for the first event of the 2004 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway this weekend, it will mark the start of the fifth consecutive year that every driver will compete in a car equipped with Firestone tires.

Firestone, with a history in auto racing dating back to 1909, returns this season as the Official Tire of the Indy Racing League and the sole supplier for both the IndyCar Series and the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. Firestone also serves as the Official Tire of the Indianapolis 500 -- a race that has been won 54 times in its 87-year history by a driver equipped with Firestone tires, including the first Indy 500 in 1911. Recently, Firestone also signed an agreement to serve as the Official Tire of The Milwaukee Mile, the IRL's newest venue.

When the 2004 season begins, 2003 IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon will be back to defend his title -- the seventh IRL championship won on Firestone tires since the league's inaugural season in 1996. Firestone will again be title sponsor for two IRL races -- the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway (July 15-17) and the Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway (August 27-29). The Nazareth race will mark the 100th IRL race -- a milestone event for the league and for Firestone, the only tire manufacturer to have appeared in every IRL race.

"Looking back, it's sometimes hard to believe this is our eighth season as a supplier to the IRL," says Al Speyer, Executive Director of Firestone Racing. "We've worked very hard over those years to provide the best possible product and support to every team and driver, as well as the league. The result, I believe, is that we've helped build a series that is top-notch in every way -- and been a part of providing race fans with some of the most exciting racing imaginable.

Last year's finish at Chicagoland, for example, was just unbelievable. We're excited to get this season underway and looking forward to more of the same."

FIRESTONE FIREHAWK FAST FACTS

Indy Racing League IndyCar Series
Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Fla.
February 27-29, 2004 -- Round 1 of 16

Race Distance: 300 miles or 482.8 kilometers (200 laps around the 1.5-mile oval).

Firehawk Race Tires Supplied: Firestone delivered 764 Firehawk racing radials for use this weekend. All were produced at the Firestone Technical Center in Akron, Ohio. Per IndyCar Series regulations, each entered car receives up to eight sets of tires (32 total) to be used at the team's discretion throughout the practice, qualifying and race sessions. The left-side tire specification for this weekend is the same as that used at last year's Indianapolis 500. The right-side tire specification is new this season and features a similar construction to the tire used at last year's season finale at Texas Motor Speedway.

Tire Terminology: Toe -- refers to the direction front tires are pointing. If tires are pointing inward, the condition is called toe-in. If the tires are pointing outward, the condition is called toe-out. Toe-in or toe-out is used as a tuning aid for car and tire performance on turns and straights, and incorrect toe settings can cause tread to be scrubbed off.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Dixon