IRL: Michigan: Firestone race report

Ten Years and Running, Firestone Wins Again at MIS Much has changed on the open-wheel landscape since Firestone entered competition in 1995, but one thing remains constant: Firestone has won every race in which it was participated at Michigan ...

Ten Years and Running, Firestone Wins Again at MIS

Much has changed on the open-wheel landscape since Firestone entered competition in 1995, but one thing remains constant: Firestone has won every race in which it was participated at Michigan International Speedway since that return. Bryan Herta logged the 12th consecutive Firestone victory at MIS on the 10th anniversary weekend of the tire maker's initial triumph upon its return. The first six of those MIS wins came against direct tire competition before another supplier withdrew from the sport.

Herta was dominant in winning for the first time this season and the fourth in his open-wheel career -- all the wins coming on Firestone tires. The Andretti Green Racing driver led 159 of the 200 laps, including the pivotal 114th lap of the race to collect the $10,000 Firestone Performance Award, and held off the pack on a late restart to beat teammate Dan Wheldon across the finish line by 0.0374 of a second.

"We were the only ones on the team that hadn't won a race this year, and we wanted to make that right," Herta said. "I had an awesome car. I've never had a car this good on a superspeedway, and the Firestone tires were unbelievable. No matter where I went on the track, I had tons of grip. The Firestones kept me on the bottom line at the end and got me to the finish line first."

Team co-owner Michael Andretti added, "One of our goals was to have all four guys in victory lane this year and we did it. What can you say about the Firestone tires? They were there the whole day for all our guys, and that's what Firestone is all about."

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "What an amazing race! The first half of the race, we were on pace to set another record speed and it was thrilling to see the drivers racing side by side with total confidence in their Firestone Firehawk tires. Michigan is always tough on equipment and it was true again today, but tires were not an issue at all. The side-by-side racing at the end reminded us of Scott Pruett's victory for Firestone here in 1995, 10 years ago this weekend, beating a fierce competitor. Today we were just as proud to see all the cars on Firestone tires. Big congratulations to Bryan Herta and Andretti Green Racing. We enjoy a great relationship with all the drivers, and it was nice to see Bryan finally pull into victory lane."

Firestone Performance Award winner: Herta led lap 114 today to claim the Firestone Performance Award, which commemorates the fact Firestone has competed in every IRL IndyCar Series event since the league's 1996 inception. Today's race was the 114th in league history. Herta will be presented a $10,000 check prior to the Amber Alert Portal 300 at Kentucky Speedway on Aug. 14.

Race temperatures ranged from 121 to 134 degrees track and 81 to 83 degrees ambient (F).
Race temperatures ranged from 49 to 57 degrees track and 27 to 28 degrees ambient (C).

-firestone

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Michael Andretti , Bryan Herta , Scott Pruett , Dan Wheldon