IRL: Nazareth: Firestone preview

Firestone and IRL Celebrate 100th Event Together This Weekend NAZARETH, Pa. (Aug. 26, 2004) - As the Indy Racing League reaches its milestone 100th race this weekend, Firestone is naturally along to help celebrate. It makes perfect sense.

Firestone and IRL Celebrate 100th Event Together This Weekend

NAZARETH, Pa. (Aug. 26, 2004) - As the Indy Racing League reaches its milestone 100th race this weekend, Firestone is naturally along to help celebrate. It makes perfect sense. After all, Firestone has been there every step of the way.

Firestone is the only tire supplier to participate in every IRL event since the series debuted in January 1996 at Walt Disney World Speedway near Orlando. Firestone Firehawk racing radials carried Buzz Calkins to victory that day and Firestone has equipped 81 additional IndyCar Series race winners and seven season champions since that afternoon.

This weekend, as the IRL appropriately commemorates this landmark occasion at Nazareth Speedway, it will do so with one of its greatest friends and supporters in Firestone standing alongside in many ways. The tire supplier has taken on title sponsorship of this weekend's event, the Firestone Indy 225, and Firestone officials requested that IRL founder, president and CEO Tony George serve as grand marshal of the event because it was his vision that led to the league's formation.

In addition, Firestone Racing is honoring the 100th IRL race by running the "IRL 100th Event" special logo decal on all the race tires being used by the IndyCar Series drivers at Nazareth this weekend.

"Firestone and the Indy Racing League have developed an incredible partnership over these nine seasons and it is evident in the heavy involvement we both have in this centennial event," said Al Speyer, executive motorsports director for Firestone Racing. "From title sponsorship of the race to bringing race tires with the 100th event logo, Firestone is putting all its efforts into the Firestone Indy 225 as a way to show our gratitude for this fine series. Firestone is proud to be a supplier and promotional partner with the Indy Racing League and hope to continue those relationships for years to come.

"We're also elated," Speyer continued, "that Tony George has agreed to be grand marshal for the Firestone Indy 225. It is certainly most appropriate that the man who has been the driving force behind the IRL be acknowledged for his effort. Firestone will show its appreciation for Tony and the league with a special presentation during pre-race ceremonies Sunday."

As for the race itself, Firestone's race tire development group selected a proven tire to use this weekend. It is the highest-grip short-oval Firehawk currently in use and is the identical specification that IndyCar Series teams ran at Nazareth last year and also earlier this season at Phoenix.

"Nazareth is a tight, tricky oval with difficult turns and elevation changes that make it unique," said Speyer. "Excellent grip from the tires is essential and the Firehawks we'll bring this weekend already have established their credentials here. We expect the Firestone tires to again contribute to another exciting IRL event, just like the previous 99 in which we have competed."

Firestone Firehawk Fast Facts

Indy Racing League IndyCar Series
Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway, Nazareth, Pa.
Aug. 27-29, 2004 0x2022 Round 13 of 16

Race Distance: 225 miles (225 laps around the mile oval).

Firehawk Race Tires Supplied: Firestone delivered 704 Firehawk racing radials for use this weekend. All were produced at the company's technical center in Akron, Ohio. At the direction of Indy Racing League officials, each entered car will receive seven sets of Firehawks (28 total tires) this weekend, to be used at its team's discretion throughout practice, qualifying and race sessions. The tires for this weekend are the highest-grip ("softest") specification from the Firestone line of short-oval tires. The spec is the same that was used at Nazareth in 2003 and also was run earlier this season at Phoenix. The approximate stagger of the rear tires is 0.60 of an inch.

Firestone in the Indy Racing League: The Firestone Indy 225 marks the 100th event since the IRL IndyCar Series debuted in 1996 0x2022 and Firestone has been there for every race. The only tire manufacturer to have participated in each IRL event, Firestone is now in its ninth season of IRL competition and fifth as sole supplier to the league, with 82 race victories and seven of the league's nine championships to date. Again this season, Firestone is commemorating its status as the only tire manufacturer to have competed in every IRL race with the Firestone Performance Award, presented to the driver leading the race lap that corresponds with the cumulative number of IndyCar Series races to that point. On this milestone race weekend for Firestone and the IRL, the leader of lap 100 will be presented a $10,000 check from Firestone Racing during pre-race festivities for the Delphi Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 12.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buzz Calkins , Tony George