CHAMPCAR/CART: Firestone Mid-Ohio pre-race report

Firestone Firehawk Fast Facts CART FedEx Championship Series Miller Lite 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio August 10-12, 2001 Race distance: 83 laps (on the 2.258-miles permanent road course), total of 187.414 miles Firestone ...

Firestone Firehawk Fast Facts
CART FedEx Championship Series
Miller Lite 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio
August 10-12, 2001

Race distance: 83 laps (on the 2.258-miles permanent road course), total of 187.414 miles Firestone tires supplied this weekend: approx. 750 dry (based on 7 sets per for 26 cars); approx. 450 rain (based on 4 sets per for 26 cars) Past Firestone winners at Mid-Ohio: Alex Zanardi (1996 and '97), Adrian Fernandez ('98), Juan Montoya ('99), Helio Castroneves (2000).

Joe Barbieri, Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Project Supervisor, on the tires for Mid-Ohio:

"The Mid-Ohio event kicks off the mid-season road and street course challenge in CART. While this race and the next two coming up at Road America and Vancouver have their similarities, our visit to Lexington is unique because the track is so different from the upcoming ones on the schedule. For a start, it's almost half as long as Road America, yet it has the same number of corners. Consequently, the tires are spending a great amount of the race subjected to increased heat generated in the curves. Second, a road is a road is a road isn't true in CART. There are subtle differences in the asphalt at all three circuits, which affects wear rates and grip. The Firehawk racing radial we'll provide here won't be used at Road America and Vancouver. The tire for this event is, however, not unknown to teams. It was used at the Monterrey, Mexico, race earlier this year. Because teams are familiar with it, that should be a plus in working on car set-ups. We are confident it will render excellent performance throughout the practice, qualifying and race sessions."

Roger Penske, Team Penske owner, on the return to Mid-Ohio:

"Last year Mid-Ohio was a great weekend for Marlboro Team Penske. We qualified one-two, led every lap and then finished one-two. It would be great to win again this year and duplicate our back-to-wins in 1994 and 1995. It's especially satisfying to win here because it's a tough track that demands much from the drivers, the team and the cars. Gil (de Ferran) and Helio (Castroneves) have proven they're up to the task, and the Honda/Reynard/Firestone package worked superbly here last year. We're confident we have all the right ingredients, and what we need to do now is execute properly and hopefully we'll leave here with another win and more championship points."

Helio Castroneves, Team Penske driver and defending Mid-Ohio race winner:

"Mid-Ohio demands your best physical and mental efforts. When you race here, you're not just competing with 25 other drivers, you're competing with a track that demands you keep extremely busy in the cockpit. You're constantly shifting gears, steering and working the machine to squeeze out an advantage. Last year, I was sick during the race weekend and spent a good deal of time in the medical unit taking fluids, so the race was especially challenging. However, once you're in the racecar you become 100 percent focused and you seem to forget any pain you may be having. Of course the fact that my car was so good also helped me. As a driver, I love the challenge of racing here. If you have the right engine and the right tires - which I do with Honda and Firestone - combined with the right set-up you automatically have more confidence in what you can do. That's important when you face a course as demanding as Mid-Ohio."

-Firestone

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Adrian Fernandez , Alex Zanardi , Roger Penske
Teams Team Penske