IRL: Michigan: Firestone Race report

Rice Gets Cookin' at Finish and Wins 3rd Race of Season Buddy Rice bided his time until the final laps, then mashed the accelerator and drove on to win today's Michigan Indy 400, the third victory in a seven-race span for the Rahal Letterman ...

Rice Gets Cookin' at Finish and Wins 3rd Race of Season

Buddy Rice bided his time until the final laps, then mashed the accelerator and drove on to win today's Michigan Indy 400, the third victory in a seven-race span for the Rahal Letterman Racing phenom. Rice willed his Argent Mortgage/Pioneer G Force/Honda around Tony Kanaan on the 190th lap around the two-mile superspeedway and, though pressed by the Andretti Green Racing driver the final 10 laps, held on to win by 0.0796 of a second.

Rice and the other front-runners logged 42 laps (84 miles) on the set of Firestone tires that took them to the finish, yet none had a concern with wear issues. Rice had plenty left in his Firehawks to reel off some pretty impressive victory donuts for the fans at the start/finish line.

"We were just cruising around saving stuff," said Rice, who earlier this season won the Indianapolis 500 and the Argent Mortgage 300 at Kansas, "and when we needed to use the Firestone tires and when we needed to lean on them, they were there for us the last 10 laps. There were no issues from the tires; they worked beautifully today. You can't say enough for how hard Firestone and all the manufacturers work in this series. This is great."

As extraordinary as it was to have the top 11 finishers all complete the final 42 laps on one set of Firehawks each, there was an earlier stint that saw Kanaan and several other front-runners run 47 laps (94 miles) on a single set each midway through the race.

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "The Firestone tires are well-proven here at Michigan. This is where, in 1995, Firestone collected its first win following our return to open-wheel racing earlier that year, and Firestone has won every race we've competed in at MIS since. That says something about the level of tire that our race tire development group has been able to produce for this track and it was well in evidence today. Once again, drivers were able to take their cars high, low and everywhere in between on this wide oval, making for edge-of-your-seat racing for 200 laps. The drivers and teams also showed they could run long stints on a set of Firehawks and the tires would still deliver the consistent high-speed performance at the end of the run. Congratulations to Buddy Rice and Rahal Letterman Racing for another exciting victory."

Firestone Performance Award winner: Tony Kanaan of Andretti Green Racing earned the $10,000 Firestone Performance Award for leading lap 97 today. The award commemorates Firestone's participation in every IRL IndyCar Series event since the league's inception in 1996, a total of 97 races.

Race temperatures ranged from 117 to 125 degrees track and 87 to 88 degrees ambient (F).

Race temperatures ranged from 47 to 52 degrees track and 30 to 31 degrees ambient (C).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Kanaan , Buddy Rice