IRL: Nashville: Firestone race report

Gil de Ferran was singing the praises of the Firestone tires as well as "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" after driving to victory in tonight's Firestone Indy 200 - the home race for the Firestone Racing group with its corporate headquarters located...

Gil de Ferran was singing the praises of the Firestone tires as well as "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" after driving to victory in tonight's Firestone Indy 200 - the home race for the Firestone Racing group with its corporate headquarters located nearby. Sensational pit strategy and just as sensational tire performance keyed the second win of the season for de Ferran following his triumph in May's Indianapolis 500.

Driving the Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota on Firestone tires, de Ferran raced the final 86 laps over the coarse concrete of Nashville Superspeedway with the same set of Firehawk racing radials. That's an amazing 114.38 miles on tires designed to go about 100 miles on smoother asphalt surfaces. And de Ferran was not alone. Three other drivers put in 86-lap stints on one set of Firehawks to finish the race and five more completed the final 69 laps (91.77 miles) on a single set.

Pre-race speculation that the Firestone tires might not be up to this tremendous challenge certainly proved unfounded.

"We had some concerns before the race but the Firestone tires were great throughout the race," the ecstatic de Ferran said in victory lane after serenading the sellout crowd. "They were fantastic! I was racing wide open those final 20 laps (to fend off second-place Scott Dixon), just like at Indy, and there were no problems with the tires."

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "Awesome! Simply awesome! It was a fantastic race seen by an extremely enthusiastic crowd, including some 2,600 Bridgestone/Firestone employees and many of our best friends from middle Tennessee. Nashville Superspeedway has a concrete surface which tends to be very abrasive, but once again we saw the Firestone Firehawks outperform our own expectations. Gil de Ferran won the Indy 500 this year and now wins in our own backyard, and he drove one heck of a race. We can't wait to be back next year!"

Kanaan claims Firestone Performance Award: Tony Kanaan of Andretti Green Racing led lap 80 tonight, earning him a $10,000 bonus from Firestone Racing. The award commemorates Firestone competing in every Indy Racing League IndyCar event since the series' beginning in 1996. Tonight's race was the 80th in league history, so Kanaan earned the prize by leading that lap.

Race temperatures ranged from 102 to 92 degrees track and from 86 to 85 degrees ambient (F).
Race temperatures ranged from 39 to 33 degrees track and from 30 to 29 degrees ambient (C).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan
Teams Team Penske