The temperatures at Burke Lakefront Airport may have been blistering, but there were no such issues with the Bridgestone tires in today's race. Just ask the top finishers. Paul Tracy overcame the heat and the competition to win the Grand Prix of...
The temperatures at Burke Lakefront Airport may have been blistering, but there were no such issues with the Bridgestone tires in today's race. Just ask the top finishers.
Paul Tracy overcame the heat and the competition to win the Grand Prix of Cleveland, a day after capturing the Bridgestone Pole Award. A.J. Allmendinger, shaken up in a hard qualifying crash Saturday, recovered to finish runner-up for the second time in three races. Oriol Servia worked his way up to place third. Afterward, all three drivers praised both types of Bridgestone tires employed this weekend -- the standard black-sidewall Potenzas and their softer alternate red-stripe brethren.
''That was a hard race, fast all the way through, no time to rest,'' said race winner Tracy, who took the lead for good with a blazing final pit stop that included a change to fresh Bridgestone tires. ''I was going hard the whole race. The Bridgestone tires were fantastic the whole way. The Bridgestones wore me out today. We decided to change tires on our last stop because the car has that much more grip right away, and it worked out.''
''It almost gets boring talking about how good the Bridgestone tires are,'' added Allmendinger. ''That was the problem (in qualifying); the tires were so good, I thought I'd push harder and I crashed. Today we were working hard to get the balance right and once we put the last set of standard Potenzas on, right before the last pit stop, the car was amazing and I was just driving away from people. To be honest, the red (alternate) tires had too much grip on my car. We didn't have the balance right because it had so much grip, it was hard to hang onto.''
''We had the option of going with alternate or the standard Bridgestones on my last stop,'' said Servia. ''I had a set of sticker primes (standard spec), and I thought they were a better choice. I'm glad I did and the tires were very good. I ended up setting the fastest lap of the race with them (on lap 90 of 91). The Bridgestone tires were excellent, even in the last lap of them.''
Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport:
''The fans in Cleveland, including a thousand or so from Bridgestone, witnessed another exciting race here -- thanks in part to the performance of the Potenza tires made in nearby Akron. Both the standard spec and alternate spec were exemplary today in these stifling conditions. Our thought in developing the alternate concept was to add strategy and passing to the races, and to give the teams tire options during the race depending on driver preference. We think we've done it again today and are proud of the Bridgestone tires themselves and of the fine group that produces them at our Akron Technical Center.''
Race temperatures ranged from 119 to 131 degrees track and from 85 to 90 degrees ambient (F); from 48 to 55 degrees track and from 29 to 32 degrees ambient (C).