IRL: Homestead: Firestone race report

Hornish Kicks Off Penske Era with Win Two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. picked up his first win as a member of the Marlboro Team Penske organization today at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Despite leading only six laps of the...

Hornish Kicks Off Penske Era with Win

Two-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. picked up his first win as a member of the Marlboro Team Penske organization today at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Despite leading only six laps of the race, Hornish, driving the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, nudged new teammate Helio Castroneves to take the victory in the IndyCar Series season opener.

Since the IRL competed at Homestead-Miami Speedway last season, the track has undergone a major transformation, requiring a new tire designed to withstand the significant burdens created by the new configuration and increased banking. The newest Firehawk in the Firestone inventory performed extremely well in today's race, and drivers clearly had confidence in their tires as evidenced by the breathtaking display that Hornish and Castroneves put on in the final laps.

"The tires were great all day," said Hornish. "Even with all the changes we had no issues at all. We ran scuffs and we ran slicks -- no matter what we ran I could put the car wherever I wanted to. I was tucked up behind guys and driving alongside guys, and the tires were great all the way through the race."

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "What an awesome race! Sam Hornish may have changed teams but he certainly has the same driving ability and gave all of us an amazing finish to a superb race. Our congratulations to Sam, Helio and the entire Marlboro Team Penske organization. They've shown us the mark to beat for the 2004 season. As far as tire performance, the newly reconfigured Homestead-Miami track presented us with a big challenge and some of the highest loading we've seen on our tires at any racetrack. We're especially pleased that the hard work and talents of our engineers, working closely with the league and the teams, once again demonstrated the exceptional performance capabilities of our Firestone Firehawks."

Firestone Performance Award: Helio Castroneves earned a $10,000 bonus from Firestone Racing for leading lap 88 of today's race. The award commemorates Firestone competing in every Indy Racing League IndyCar event since the series' beginning in 1996.

Race temperatures ranged from 90 to 113 degrees track and from 73 to 79 degrees ambient (F).

Race temperatures ranged from 32 to 45 degrees track and from 23 to 26 degrees ambient (C).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Sam Hornish Jr. , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske