CHAMPCAR/CART: Houston Firestone race notes

Gil de Ferran started from the pole position and led all 100 laps today to capture the victory. It's the second win in as many races for the Team Penske driver and the first time he has won from the pole in his Champ car career. It is his fourth...

Gil de Ferran started from the pole position and led all 100 laps today to capture the victory. It's the second win in as many races for the Team Penske driver and the first time he has won from the pole in his Champ car career. It is his fourth victory since joining the Firestone Racing team in 2000 and is also Firestone's 99th triumph since it entered CART in 1995.

De Ferran maintained the lead even after pitting for a splash of fuel with 20 laps to go. His crew opted not to change tires on the stop and the reigning series champion drove the final 61 laps (93.147 miles) on a single set of Firestone Firehawks, yet de Ferran was able to sustain his lead over his challengers on fresher rubber.

"Although the course in Houston is noted to be tough on tires and machines, Team Penske had no doubts that the tires would arise to the occasion for Gil today," said Joe Barbieri, Bridgestone/Firestone Motorsports Project Supervisor. "Proof of this was the decision to forego changing tires on the last stop while knowing that Gil needed to hold off a charging Dario Franchitti, whose crew elected to change tires on his final stop. This enabled Gil to come out of the pits ahead of everyone and he actually pulled away from the field when the course went green again. Even though Gil's tires had plenty of laps on them at the end, they maintained the consistency and durability Firestone tires are known for, giving him the confidence to keep pushing to the checkered flag. Now it's on to Laguna Seca, where we look forward to celebrating Firestone's 100th CART victory next weekend, a truly proud moment in our long racing history."

Gil de Ferran
"The car was fantastic from when we arrived here on Friday and we just kept making little improvements. It's one of those perfect weekends, I guess. The car was very consistent today. There were no big concerns with the tires. We just kept going (at the end). The car was very well set up and we were able to maintain the tires very consistent."

Memo Gidley
"Those Firestone tires were good. We ran a long stint today and they really didn't go off at all. I was trying to be a little conservative on the rears but the tires were good throughout."

Race session temperatures ranged from 97 to 102 degrees track and 70 to 73 degrees ambient (F).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Memo Gidley
Teams Team Penske