Indy Racing Notebook
Firestone working hard on tire development; PDM makes plans for 2003
INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Jan. 2, 2003 -- Firestone may be the exclusive tire supplier to the Indy Racing League and Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series, but its engineers are working as hard as ever to develop even better tires for the 2003 season.
Al Speyer, Firestone Racing executive director, said the Firestone Racing program is well underway with its tire design, development and testing efforts for the upcoming season. Several IRL teams and drivers have already experimented with the Firehawk compounds and constructions to be used next year.
"After starting our racing program 93 years ago, we're not slowing down," Speyer said. "We're very pleased with the feedback we've received thus far. With nearly continuous changes to cars and tracks, there's a constant challenge to design and produce tires for new operating conditions.
"It's not an easy task, because the target keeps moving. But it's a task we relish because it allows us to demonstrate the technological strength of our company."
PDM planning for 2003 season: Longtime Indy Racing League team PDM Racing is making plans for the 2003 season as it anticipates the arrival of a new Dallara chassis Jan. 7, team co-owner Paul Diatlovich said.
The team, based in Indianapolis, plans to participate with driver Scott Mayer in the Test in the West from Feb. 3-8 at California Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.
Speedy Christmas present: Race fan Cindy House earned a trip to the 2003 Indianapolis 500 after buying California Speedway season tickets on the track's Web site, www.californiaspeedway.com .
House, from Oxnard, Calif., plans to attend the California Speedway races -- including the Toyota Indy 400 on Sept. 21 -- and the Indianapolis 500 on May 25 with her 16-year-old daughter, Nikki. California Speedway officials selected a random online season-ticket purchaser to win the prize.
"This is so exciting," Cindy House said. "I'm still in shock. We are fans of open-wheel racing. We like other racing, but open wheel is our favorite. To go to the Indy 500 is a dream of ours. Now here it is, a dream come true.
"Words can't describe this trip. My husband died of leukemia earlier this year, and it was a family dream to go to the Indianapolis 500."
Nikki House, a high school junior, is a "huge race car fan and an aspiring young driver," her mother said. Nikki House will race a mini-stock next season in the Ventura area.
While at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May and then California Speedway in September, the House family will root for Billy Boat and Sarah Fisher, Nikki's favorite drivers.
Hot laps: Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser will speak March 24 at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington as part of its Resident Associate Program. The presentation starts at 7 p.m. (EST). Ticket information is available online at residentassociates.org/rap/otomar/unser.asp -- Former USAC team owner and mechanic Willie Davis, who also worked on the Hemelgarn Racing team in the Indy Racing League, is recovering from recent ankle surgery and skin cancer surgery.