IRL: Kentucky: Firestone race report

Hornish Reclaims IndyCar Points Lead in Kentucky Another epic battle between Marlboro Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing was waged today at Kentucky Speedway, and Sam Hornish Jr. emerged on top when the checkered flag flew. However, he...

Hornish Reclaims IndyCar Points Lead in Kentucky

Another epic battle between Marlboro Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi Racing was waged today at Kentucky Speedway, and Sam Hornish Jr. emerged on top when the checkered flag flew.

However, he certainly had to overcome some adversity along the way. On their first stop, he and teammate Helio Castroneves were caught in the pits when a yellow flag came out, dropping them back to ninth and 10th. They fought fiercely to get through the field, and as the laps wound down, those four familiar red and white cars were back up front once again.

It looked as though it would be Wheldon's day until a miscue in the pits dropped him back to seventh place. Yet the Ganassi team still had the lead after the final round of stops, as Scott Dixon led the way to the green flag. But Hornish was able to get around him and pull away with four laps to go, and he quickly established an insurmountable lead. Dixon held on for second, and Castroneves came home third. After the pit incident, Wheldon drove like a man possessed and managed a fourth place finish, salvaging as many valuable championship points as possible with only two more races on the 2006 schedule.

From Sam Hornish Jr., Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"The Firestone tires were good as usual. We went out there and actually ran past the fuel stint on them, so we ran the last 15 laps or so on tires that people would normally take off. So I was just really happy with how the tires performed today. We were able to move all over the track and never had a problem with grip."

*Firestone Tire Performance Summary: Firestone engineers came to Kentucky Speedway with a proven tire spec - the very same Firehawk that had raced at Homestead, Texas and Kansas earlier this season. After the first round of stops, the tires were only 70 percent worn, and some teams chose to go beyond one fuel stint on them with no issues. The tires provided plenty of grip, as the field ran two-and three-wide throughout much of the race.

*From Joe Barbieri, Manager, Firestone Racing:

"We are proud that the Firehawk tires proved that they can take quite a bit of abuse today. Tire wear was not an issue, and it is great to see the different strategies play out since the teams could make decisions without worrying about the tires. As usual, the IndyCars put on a great show for the fans here, with cars racing side by side all day long. It is great to know that Firestone plays a role in making that excitement possible." Firestone Performance Award: Bryan Herta of Andretti Green Racing earned the $10,000 Firestone Performance Award for leading lap 132 of today's race, the 132nd race in IRL IndyCar Series history. The award commemorates Firestone's participation in every event since the league's inaugural race in 1996.

Race temperatures ranged from 115 to 125 degrees track and 89 to 93 degrees ambient (F).

Race temperatures ranged from 46 to 51 degrees track and 31 to 34 degrees ambient (C).

-credit: firestone

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Bryan Herta , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske