St. Pete: Firestone race report

FIRESTONE FIREHAWK RACE REPORT IndyCar Series - Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Albert Whitted Airport and Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. Sunday, April 5, 2009 - Round 1 of 17 Top-5 Finishers: 1. Ryan Briscoe; 2. Ryan Hunter-Reay; 3. Justin...

FIRESTONE FIREHAWK RACE REPORT
IndyCar Series - Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Albert Whitted Airport and Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.
Sunday, April 5, 2009 - Round 1 of 17

Top-5 Finishers: 1. Ryan Briscoe; 2. Ryan Hunter-Reay; 3. Justin Wilson; 4. Dario Franchitti; 5. Tony Kanaan.

Race Temperatures: Track ranged from 110o.-126o. F (43o.-52o. C) and ambient from 81-82o.F (27o.-28o. C) ambient.

Firestone Tire Performance Recap: The debut of the Firestone alternate tire program to the IndyCar Series caused a variety of strategy options involving tire use. Drivers ran stints as long as 35 laps (63 miles) on the primary (black-sidewall) specification and 37 laps (66.6 miles) on the alternate (red-sidewall) spec. Justin Wilson displayed the potential durability of the Firehawk alternates by leading the first 35 laps on a set of "reds." A chart detailing each driver's tire use for the race is on the following page.

From race winner Ryan Briscoe, #6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "It was pretty exciting. We had the different tire compounds, which was a bit surprising because the 'reds' seemed a bit more consistent at the end of the stint for me. I saw an opportunity to pass Justin on that late restart, and then it was just a matter of bringing it home. We were one of the quickest cars out there today and Roger (Penske) called a great strategy. I've always led laps here and managed to stick it in the wall or something, so this is pretty satisfying."

From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "The whole weekend was picture perfect for us - picture-perfect weather, picture-perfect introduction of the Firestone primary and alternate tires, and an incredible amount of strategy that played out in the race due to the tire choices. Once again, we saw exemplary performance from both the primaries and alternates. Both specs displayed tremendous competitiveness and durability. Most notable to me was Justin Wilson's first stint on the alternates when they held up really well and kept him in the lead under tremendous pressure. True congratulations are in order for the entire podium. Ryan Briscoe and Team Penske did a sensational job to get the win; Ryan Hunter-Reay drove a great race and put in the longest stint of anyone on the alternates (37 laps) to give Vision Racing its best-ever finish; and Justin Wilson finished off a very impressive weekend in third place for Dale Coyne."

Firestone "Tire-ific" Move of the Race: This $10,000 prize will be awarded after each IndyCar Series race to the driver who best utilizes his or her Firestone tires to make a bold, dramatic move during the event. This week's nominees are: Justin Wilson, for taking the heat for the first 35 laps on alternate tires and not surrendering the lead; Ryan Hunter-Reay, whose charge from 14th starting spot to finish second included a 37-lap stint on alternates; and Ryan Briscoe, who leaned on his Firestone primary tires on the lap 86 restart to make the decisive pass for lead. Fans can vote through Wednesday at www.indycar.com to determine the recipient. This race's winner will be named at the next race.

-credit: firestone motorsports

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Ryan Briscoe , Dale Coyne
Teams Team Penske