IRL: Kentucky: Firestone race report

Hornish faces back to victory lane in record fashion Sam Hornish Jr., the two-time defending IRL IndyCar Series champion on Firestone tires, made a triumphant and record-setting return to victory lane today, winning the fastest race in series...

Hornish faces back to victory lane in record fashion

Sam Hornish Jr., the two-time defending IRL IndyCar Series champion on Firestone tires, made a triumphant and record-setting return to victory lane today, winning the fastest race in series history.

Hornish started from the pole in the Pennzoil/Panther Racing Chevrolet/Dallara and led the most laps on his way to victory, completing the race with an average speed of 197.897 mph. The speed came within 0.008 mph of bettering the closed-course race record average set in last season's Championship Auto Racing Teams event at California Speedway.

The victory also put Hornish alone atop the IndyCar Series career wins chart with nine - and every one of those triumphs has come with Firestone Firehawk racing radials under him. Following today's historic victory, Hornish praised the performance of the Firehawks on the challenging 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway oval.

"The Firestone tires were very good," the jubilant Hornish said in victory lane. "No problem all day long."

In addition, Hornish earned a $10,000 bonus today from Firestone Racing for leading at lap 83. The Firestone Performance Award commemorates the fact that Firestone has competed in every IRL IndyCar Series race since its 1996 inception. Today's event was the 83rd in IRL history, so Hornish claimed the bonus by leading the designated lap.

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "Today was another major milestone for the IRL and especially our Firestone Firehawks. Sam Hornish clearly had the car to beat today and, with only one caution period, he set another new race record speed of 197.897 mph. Even though we experienced high temperatures once again at Kentucky, with the track reaching 122 degrees, the Firestone Firehawks held up extremely well. We are really looking forward to next weekend in Nazareth, where Firestone is title sponsor of an IndyCar event for the third time this year. We can only wonder what the IRL teams and drivers will do to set another record there in the Firestone Indy 225."

Race temperatures ranged from 119 to 122 degrees track and from 88 to 92 degrees ambient (F).
Race temperatures ranged from 48 to 50 degrees track and from 31 to 33 degrees ambient (C).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sam Hornish Jr. , Sam Hornis
Teams Panther Racing