IRL: Kentucky: Firestone race report

Fernandez Gets First IRL Win on Tough Kentucky Track Adrian Fernandez held off polesitter Buddy Rice and a host of other contenders to win his first IndyCar Series race in his 10th IRL start. Fernandez started an IRL career-best fourth on the...

Fernandez Gets First IRL Win on Tough Kentucky Track

Adrian Fernandez held off polesitter Buddy Rice and a host of other contenders to win his first IndyCar Series race in his 10th IRL start. Fernandez started an IRL career-best fourth on the grid and stayed in contention throughout the race, passing Rice on lap 152 to take the lead for good.

The Firestone Firehawks that equip every IndyCar Series machine held up extremely well in difficult conditions at Kentucky Speedway. The track had recently undergone grinding that left it abrasive and tire wear was a concern early in the weekend. As the event progressed and more rubber was laid down on the track surface, wear improved with each session. There were no wear issues in today's race, and teams and drivers were pleased with tire performance.

"This track was grinded to get the bumps out, so it was like sandpaper on the tires," said Fernandez. "I take my hat off to the tires because to be able to last like that was difficult, but as more and more rubber was put down it was getting better and better. The first laps of the weekend were very difficult because it was really taking everything from the tires. But at the end of the day they ran well and I managed to put a lot of laps on the tires and still keep the lap times, which was important."

Quote from Joe Barbieri, Manager, Firestone Racing: "This weekend once again proved to be a real challenge for our race tire development team to bring a tire that could cope with this abrasive track. They did a fantastic job - we knew we'd see wear at the beginning of the weekend, but we also expected that it would get better as the weekend went on, and that's exactly what happened. We were extremely pleased with the performance that the Firestone Firehawks displayed and we're very proud of the fact that we were able to be part of this weekend's exciting show. We've been teamed up with Adrian for many years and it's great to see him and his team back in the winner's circle with Firestone."

Firestone Performance Award winner: Tony Kanaan of Andretti Green Racing earned the $10,000 Firestone Performance Award for leading lap 98 of today's race. The award commemorates the fact that Firestone has competed in every IRL IndyCar Series event since the league's inception in 1996. Today's race was the 98th in league history. Kanaan will be presented with his check during pre-race festivities at next weekend's Honda Indy 225 at Pikes Peak International Raceway.

Race temperatures ranged from 110 to 114 degrees track and 82 to 83 degrees ambient (F).

Race temperatures ranged from 43.3 to 45.5 degrees track and 27.8 to 28.3 degrees ambient (C).

-firestone-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Tony Kanaan , Buddy Rice