IRL: Fontana: Firestone race report

Fernandez Wins Again; Kanaan Clinches Championship Adrian Fernandez held off a hard-charging Tony Kanaan in a one-lap shoot-out to take home his third victory of the season. The second-place finish by Kanaan was enough to clinch the 2004 IndyCar...

Fernandez Wins Again; Kanaan Clinches Championship

Adrian Fernandez held off a hard-charging Tony Kanaan in a one-lap shoot-out to take home his third victory of the season. The second-place finish by Kanaan was enough to clinch the 2004 IndyCar Series Championship, the first for the Andretti Green Racing organization.

Fernandez and Kanaan were among a handful of frontrunners that battled for the lead throughout the day. Kanaan, starting from the back of the field, quickly worked his way into contention, eventually finding his way into the lead. After a caution caused by an incident between Tomas Scheckter and Tomas Enge, Kanaan led on the restart, but Fernandez nosed ahead to beat him across the finish line by 0.0183 of a second.

A hard-fought battle up front meant that the Firestone Firehawk radials that equip every IndyCar Series machine were pushed to the limit throughout the race. But the tires held up well against the high speeds and steep banking that are always a challenge at California Speedway, providing consistent performance across the board.

"The Firestone tires were fantastic," said Fernandez. "We were on the back at one stage, and we were pushing the tires very hard through the whole run and conditions were hot, but the tires would always hold on. Sometimes I thought that they would give up, but they always stayed there. At the end there was so much rubber on the track, but we managed to clean them and they were ready to win -- I'm very happy."

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "Today's race was very fast -- great, clean racing at the front and another thrilling finish. The Firestone Firehawks once again ran flawlessly with no problems whatsoever and excellent wear throughout the race. We've been doing this for a while, so maybe that's not a surprise, but at a superspeedway like Fontana, with significant banking and speeds over 200 mph, it's still a challenge to make sure the tires are right for everyone. Obviously we'd like to congratulate Adrian Fernandez and his team for their win here today. We're also thrilled to see Tony Kanaan and the Andretti Green organization wrap up their first IRL championship. Overall it's an extremely rewarding relationship that Firestone Racing enjoys with the entire IRL community. Between the technology benefits we gain and the promotional activities we share, it's a great partnership that we value very much."

Race temperatures ranged from 115 to 118 degrees track and from 87 to 89 degrees ambient (F).

Race temperatures ranged from 46.1 to 47.8 degrees track and from 30.5 to 31.7 degrees ambient (C).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Enge , Adrian Fernandez , Tony Kanaan