IRL: Nazareth: Firestone preview

Firestone Firehawk Fast Facts Indy Racing League Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway Race Distance: 200 laps on the one-mile oval. Firehawks Supplied: * The Firestone Racing program brought 1,200 tires to Nazareth for the Firestone Indy ...

Firestone Firehawk Fast Facts
Indy Racing League
Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway
Race Distance: 200 laps on the one-mile oval.

Firehawks Supplied:

* The Firestone Racing program brought 1,200 tires to Nazareth for the Firestone Indy 225.

* Indy Racing League officials determine allocation for every event; for this weekend, every car may receive up to seven sets.

* The tires were produced at the Bridgestone/Firestone Technical Center in Akron, Ohio. The construction/compound combination is new for 2002 competition. The compound for this Firehawk is an improvement over Firestone's short oval tires used in 2001 competition, providing enhanced grip. It was used at the Nazareth Open Test earlier this month. It was also used at the March 17 race in Phoenix.

This Weekend's Event: While the Firestone Indy 225 is the last competition before this year's Indianapolis 500 race, it is far from a warm-up event. Because the Nazareth track is slightly less than a mile long, drivers will spend much of their time in traffic, with tire grip being extremely important to competitive maneuvering.

Quote from Firestone Motorsports Executive Director Al Speyer: "With its proximity to major markets in the northeast, Nazareth Speedway is a great place to showcase tire performance. The Firestone Racing program plans to do just that, supplying Firehawk race tires that will allow IRL teams and drivers to take on the demands of Sunday's Firestone Indy 225. And make no doubt about it; this will be a demanding race. Everyone is looking for momentum going into Indy, yet everyone has to stay focused on the challenges of Nazareth: high speeds on a short oval with plenty of extremely close racing action. There's little margin for error here, particularly in how you set up a car for qualifying and racing. The Firestone engineers will work with all teams on car set-ups to achieve optimum performance from their Firehawks, which should lead to another great IRL event."

Firestone History at Nazareth: Firestone Racing has been coming to tracks in the Lehigh Valley area and winning major open-wheel events for more than four decades. Firestone Indy 225 Grand Marshal Al Unser Sr. secured his first Indy car victory at Nazareth on July 13, 1968 - on Firestone tires. The following year, hometown hero Mario Andretti, also on Firestones, took a win here. It was here in 2000 that Roger Penske earned his 100th Indy car win - courtesy of Gil de Ferran on Firestone tires.

This weekend also marks the first time Firestone has served as primary sponsor of an Indy Racing League event.

See the Win Ad: Check out today's issue of USA Today for a full-page ad from Firestone, congratulating Sam Hornish Jr. on his IRL win at Fontana!

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Mario Andretti , Al Unser Sr. , Roger Penske , Sam Hornish Jr.