IRL: St. Pete: Firestone preview

FIRESTONE FIREHAWK FAST FACTS Race Distance: 181 miles or 291.3 kilometers (100 laps around the 1.81-mile temporary street circuit). Firehawk Race Tires Supplied: For the first street-circuit race in IRL history, Firestone delivered 806 ...

FIRESTONE FIREHAWK FAST FACTS

Race Distance: 181 miles or 291.3 kilometers (100 laps around the 1.81-mile temporary street circuit).

Firehawk Race Tires Supplied: For the first street-circuit race in IRL history, Firestone delivered 806 dry-condition and 368 wet-condition Firehawk race tires for use. All were produced at the Firestone Technical Center in Akron, Ohio.

Dry-condition tires ("slicks"): Each car receives eight sets of slicks (32 total tires) for the race weekend, to use as its team determines in the practice, qualifying and race sessions. Those cars that make the "Firestone Fast Six" for the final segment of qualifying receive an additional set for that session only. With previous open-wheel experience on this same street circuit, Firestone Racing engineers opted to bring their highest-grip ("softest") street-course compound/ construction tires. Also, for the first time in league history, the IRL is permitting teams to use tire-warming blankets during the qualifying sessions only.

Wet-condition tires ("rains"): Firestone supplies each car up to four sets of grooved-tread rain tires (16 total tires) per race weekend on road and street courses, as needed. Teams can provide two additional sets of the same-spec rain tire that may have been distributed at an earlier test. The softer street-course rain tire specification was selected for this weekend.

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "This is a very exciting weekend for the Indy Racing League and Firestone, as we come to the first non-oval event in series history. After all of those left-hand turns in nine-plus seasons together, it will be thrilling for us to see the IndyCar Series drivers make the first-ever right-hand turn in what is appropriately named 'Firestone Corner' on the St. Pete circuit. That will cap what's sure to be a tremendous event for Firestone here. Firestone took on Official Tire status for the Honda Grand Prix and we leveraged that position with a successful 'Buy 4, Take 2' Firehawk passenger tire sales and grand prix ticket promotion at area retailers in recent weeks. We'll entertain more than 500 tire dealers and associates Sunday, and are even bringing in one of the most famous Firestones in years, Andrew 'The Bachelor' Firestone, to enjoy and participate in the festivities. On the track, we're quite confident from past competition on the St. Pete track that the Firehawk race tires will provide the essential grip, consistency and durability necessary for an electrifying show for the fans. It should be one to remember."

Firestone Performance Award: Normally, to commemorate Firestone's status as the only tire supplier to participate in every IndyCar Series event in IRL history, this $10,000 bonus is awarded to the driver leading the lap corresponding to the cumulative number of races conducted to that point -- 106 this weekend. But since there are just 100 laps in Sunday's main event, Firestone will offer its Performance Award to the driver leading when the 106th mile is turned -- lap 59. In pre-race ceremonies Sunday, Helio Castroneves of Marlboro Team Penske will receive the $10,000 Firestone Performance Award for leading lap 105 of the XM Satellite Radio Indy 200 at Phoenix on March 19.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves
Teams Team Penske