IRL: Kansas: Firestone qualifying comments

Drivers fired up about Firehawks at Kansas. With track temperatures climbing up to 143 degrees (F), today's qualifying session for the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 at Kansas Speedway presented a significant challenge for the Firestone Firehawk...

Drivers fired up about Firehawks at Kansas.

With track temperatures climbing up to 143 degrees (F), today's qualifying session for the Ameristar Casino Indy 200 at Kansas Speedway presented a significant challenge for the Firestone Firehawk racing tires. Owners and drivers offered nothing but praise for the tires and their performance capabilities on this demanding 1.5-mile oval.

"Firestone made some changes in the tires they brought this year and, as usual, you just put them on, pressure them like everybody should, and you'd don't even think about them anymore," said Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti owner Eddie Cheever Jr. Cheever made those comments after his driver, Tomas Scheckter, earned the pole with a track-record speed of 218.547 mph.

Sam Hornish Jr., who qualified second with a lap of 217.743 mph, said "Chevrolet and Firestone have been working very well with us, giving us good motors and good tires, so we're very confident."

Firestone Racing Project Supervisor Joe Barbieri:

"What a busy day! First, it's always nice to be part of a record-setting effort, especially when that involves an especially tough environment like we had a Kansas today. The Firestone engineers and chemists did a tremendous job designing a tire for this event, able to hold up to the scorching temperatures. We congratulate Tomas Scheckter and the whole Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti program for their work in earning the pole and setting a new track speed record. Earlier we saw the first qualifying session for the new Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series on Firestone tires, and we were very pleased with the performance of the teams and drivers. The IPS has enormous potential to develop tomorrow's racing stars, and we're confident the Firehawks used in that series will give them a solid foundation to refine their racing skills. We also commend the Indy Racing League for the 2003 schedule it announced today. The date changes for some venues and the addition of a new race in Japan are evidence the IRL is committed to giving fans more incredible oval track racing. We're pleased we're going to be there next year and beyond, contributing to the quality of competition."

Firestone Performance Award: In tomorrow's pre-race ceremonies, the Firestone Racing program will present a $10,000 bonus check to Team Penske driver Gil de Ferran for leading at lap 64 in last weekend's competition at Richmond. The Firestone Performance Award celebrates Firestone tires being in all 64 IRL events conducted thus. The driver leading at lap 65 in this weekend's IRL competition at Kansas will pick up his or her $10,000 check during pre-race ceremonies at the Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway July 20.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Eddie Cheever , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske