Today's Yamaha Indy 400 at California Speedway saw the Firestone Firehawks make significant contributions to another great Indy Racing League competition. Pennzoil Panther Racing driver Sam Hornish Jr. came in late in the race to take on fuel...
Today's Yamaha Indy 400 at California Speedway saw the Firestone Firehawks make significant contributions to another great Indy Racing League competition. Pennzoil Panther Racing driver Sam Hornish Jr. came in late in the race to take on fuel only, saving time and gaining track position, contributing to his fourth IRL victory and his second of the 2002 season. The newest tire from the Firestone Racing program handled the tremendous loading and speeds with no problems, allowing plenty of tire-to-tire action and a new IRL average race speed of 179.345 mph. The previous record was 175.276 mph (set at Texas Motor Speedway in 2000). Other drivers also came in for fuel only, knowing the Firehawks could easily handle many more miles of competition, without sacrificing performance. The race also saw 39 lead changes among eight drivers and the second-closest finish in IRL history.
Al Speyer, Firestone Motorsports Executive Director: "This race makes a very powerful statement about everyone involved, including mechanics, pit crew members and engineers. Clearly the drivers and teams have performed exceptionally well, and we're thrilled that they have total confidence and awesome control with their Firestone tires. To watch them race at speeds up to 220 mph for 400 miles and never be much more than a car length apart, and many times side by side separated by fractions of an inch, provides proof that our tires are up to the task."
Pennzoil Panther Racing driver Sam Hornish Jr. (Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "Firestone did an awesome job; they brought a really good tire, really consistent. We could have run two fuel tanks easily on one set of tires, they worked so well. They were good from start to finish."
Team Menard owner John Menard: "The Firestones worked terrific for us all weekend. To race wheel to wheel at the speeds we saw today at those heavy, heavy loads is a great testament to the work of the Firestone engineers. These are great tires and we're proud to run them."
Firestone Performance Award: The Firestone Racing program will present a $10,000 bonus check to Sam Hornish Jr. for leading at the end of lap 59 in today's event. The award celebrates Firestone being in all 59 IRL events conducted since the first competition in 1996 - the only tire manufacturer to have done so. Hornish also claimed the Firestone Performance Award for leading at the end of lap 58 in last weekend's competition at Phoenix International Raceway.
Race temperatures ranged from 73 to 81 degrees track and from 63 to 66 degrees ambient (F).