IRL: Fontana: Firestone race report

Hornish wins fastest race in closed course history The heat was on in more ways than one for defending IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. this afternoon at the California Speedway. With just one more race to go after today's Toyota Indy...

Hornish wins fastest race in closed course history

The heat was on in more ways than one for defending IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. this afternoon at the California Speedway. With just one more race to go after today's Toyota Indy 400, he could have been mathematically eliminated from the title hunt. Instead, Hornish kept his title hopes alive in true championship fashion by winning the fastest race on a closed course in auto racing history with an average speed of 207.151 miles per hour.

For the second race in a row, Hornish started the race in the middle of the pack but quickly worked his way into contention. It was a battle from start to finish, but in the end - for the third time in the last four races - it was Hornish across the line first. Scott Dixon came across the line in second place and is now tied for first in the points race with Helio Castroneves. Tony Kanaan finished in third place.

Brutal heat made track conditions a concern for many, but not for the Firestone engineers who knew they had a tire that could withstand the extreme conditions the Firehawks would be subjected to today. The tires performed just as expected and held up beautifully under some of the hottest temperatures that drivers have seen all season.

"The heat was terrible today, and it made the cars really loose," said Hornish. "But the tires held up great, and we didn't lose any grip at all. They were great - they did everything they were supposed to do for me today."

Quote from Joe Barbieri, Project Supervisor, Firestone Racing: "Congratulations to Sam and the entire Pennzoil Panther team! To be able to run virtually any line he wanted all day long gives great testament to the driver, team and the Firestone Firehawks. Conditions today were some of the hottest temperatures we have seen, and the tires were still able to perform superbly. We expect the same great racing and tire performance as we head to Texas to crown the new IndyCar champion."

Firestone Performance Award: Tomas Scheckter

Tomas Scheckter, driving the Target Chip Ganassi Racing G-Force/Toyota/Firestone, led lap 86 today, earning a $10,000 bonus from Firestone Racing. The award commemorates Firestone competing in every Indy Racing League IndyCar event since the series debut in 1996.

Race temperatures ranged from 134 to 144 degrees track and from 96 to 104 degrees ambient (F).
Race temperatures ranged from 57 to 62 degrees track and from 36 to 40 degrees ambient (C).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Helio Castroneves , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing