IRL: St. Pete: Firestone race report

Firestone Durability Helps Castroneves Return to Fence-Climbing Ways Denied victory a week ago by a couple feet, Helio Castroneves relied on the outstanding durability of his Firestone tires today to collect the race win. It marks the eighth ...

Firestone Durability Helps Castroneves Return to Fence-Climbing Ways

Denied victory a week ago by a couple feet, Helio Castroneves relied on the outstanding durability of his Firestone tires today to collect the race win. It marks the eighth IndyCar Series victory for the affable Brazilian and gives him a total of 14 major open-wheel series wins -- all of them on Firehawk tires. And for the 14th time, Castroneves did his fan-pleasing fence climb to celebrate the win, this time in the Firestone turn at the end of the front straight. Castroneves and fellow podium finishers Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan all completed the final 45 laps of today's race on the same set of Firehawks, pushing their cars to the maximum, and they said the tires were ready for more.

* From Helio Castroneves, Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "The Firehawks were holding up extremely well and the track was feeling perfect to me. I really enjoy having Firestone on my car. I went those last 45 laps on one set and it was just getting better and better. It was just incredible!"

* From Scott Dixon, Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz/Honda/Firestone: "On the second stint I think we broke the front wing and it was just flapping around the whole time after that. It made it really hard to turn right, but the Firestone tires were great and very consistent. Early on, the balance changed a little bit but after that the speed just kept picking up." ... (on running the last 45 laps on one set of Firehawks) "They would've been great if we'd had some front wing, but they were fine."

* Firestone Tire Performance Summary: Firestone brought the highest-grip ("softest") tire of its entire IndyCar Series inventory to St. Pete. It featured the softest compound and sidewall construction street-course design, necessary for the slower turns and quick acceleration seen on temporary street circuits. While the lack of traction control on the cars this year raised some concerns over the durability of the rear tires in particular, the fact that drivers ran 45 laps (81 miles) on a set with no drop-off in lap times helped dispel that notion.

* From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "The race proved to be another demonstration of the legendary durability of our Firestone Firehawk racing radials. It was a hot, sunny day but the top three finishers ran their last set of Firehawks 45 laps -- almost half the race -- and the speeds held up throughout. We are thrilled the St. Petersburg race has already been confirmed for 2007 and we are already making plans for Firestone to be a part of it again."

Race temperatures ranged from 125 to 111 degrees track and from 91 to 86 degrees ambient (F).

Race temperatures ranged from 49 to 44 degrees track and from 33 to 30 degrees ambient (C).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Chip Ganassi
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing