St. Pete: Firestone qualifying report

Firestone qualifying highlight: Alternate tires made their IndyCar Series debut this weekend and, as expected, were the talk of qualifying. Each car had two sets of "reds" at its disposal, so teams had to decide whether to save a new set for the...

Firestone qualifying highlight: Alternate tires made their IndyCar Series debut this weekend and, as expected, were the talk of qualifying. Each car had two sets of "reds" at its disposal, so teams had to decide whether to save a new set for the Firestone Fast Six session. Justin Wilson and Dario Franchitti were able to save a new set for the Fast Six, but Graham Rahal still snuck away with the pole while using the Firestone Firehawk primary (black-sidewall) tires. Rahal becomes the youngest pole winner in IndyCar Series history, at 20 years, 90 days.

Qualifying temperatures: Track ranged from 98.-114. F (37.-46. C) and ambient from 74.-75. F (23o.-24o. C) ambient.

From pole winner Graham Rahal, #02 McDonald's Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "It's great to get pole. We certainly didn't know what to expect because we had the Firestone primary tires to run at the end, and we saw a couple other guys had the alternates. Both the Firestone tires - the primes and the reds - they performed well today. To be honest, the reds were quicker, no doubt about it. I think they were probably a good four- to five-tenths (of a second per lap) quicker without a problem, and maybe a little more if you pushed 'em. At the end of the day (in the Firestone Fast Six), we did a pretty good run on our primaries to get the pole. I think if we'd had another set of reds then, we would have been even quicker. I think the reds worked extremely well, very consistent. I really don't think tire degradation, reds vs. blacks, is going to be a problem tomorrow."

From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "We're really happy with the performance of both the Firestone primary and alternate tires in qualifying today. The introduction of the alternates led to a variety of strategies and performance, which is exactly what we were looking for. We know the alternates will play a big role in tomorrow's race and can't wait to see how it will turn out."

-credit: firestone

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Graham Rahal