Firestone thrilled “500th Indy car win” decided by tire strategy

Firestone's Cara Adams says it was “really neat” for Josef Newgarden’s Phoenix win to be clinched by grabbing a new set of tires for the final shootout – and that the company met its tire drop-off targets.

Firestone thrilled “500th Indy car win” decided by tire strategy
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet, pit stop
Will Power, Team Penske Chevrolet Firestone tire
Second place Robert Wickens, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, winner Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet, third place Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport Honda, podium
Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet, Robert Wickens, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport Honda
Cara Adams, Bridgestone Senior Project Engineer, Race Tire Development

Under caution, Penske elected to pit Newgarden from the lead to put him on new tires, leaving the Schmidt Peterson-Honda duo of Wickens and James Hinchcliffe running 1-2 with Andretti Autosport-Honda’s Alexander Rossi in third, also on old tires.

At the green flag, Newgarden passed Rossi and Hinchcliffe and on lap 247 of the 250-lap race got around Wickens at Turn 1.

It was Firestone’s 500th victory since it returned to the sport in 1995 after a 20-year hiatus.

Adams, Firestone's chief engineer and manager of race tire development told Motorsport.com: “We worked with IndyCar to get targets for the amount of tire drop-off over a stint, and it was really neat to see the victory being decided by the driver who chose brand new Firestones at the end.

 “I would say the tire drop-off was 10-12 mph if you took the average of the speed the cars started to how they ended a stint, and that was good because it allowed more strategic options. There were a few stints that were up to 71 laps, but there were also people coming in early.

“Periods where drivers are running tires with very different amounts of laps on them also helps create passing and I think we saw a noticeable improvement in this race compared with the previous two.”

 

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