Wheldon Equals Season Record, Gives Firestone 99th IRL Win Dan Wheldon ended a three-month victory drought, matched an IRL IndyCar Series record and put Firestone on the precipice of the century mark in IndyCar Series wins -- all at once today.
Wheldon Equals Season Record, Gives Firestone 99th IRL Win
Dan Wheldon ended a three-month victory drought, matched an IRL IndyCar Series record and put Firestone on the precipice of the century mark in IndyCar Series wins -- all at once today. The Brit scooted past Andretti Green Racing teammate Dario Franchitti on the 153rd of 225 laps today and pulled away to a 12.5-second triumph over Sam Hornish Jr. The win is the fifth this season for Wheldon, tying the series mark set by Hornish in his second championship year of 2002. It also is win number 99 for Firestone in the IndyCar Series, dating to the very first race back in January 1996.
The victory gives Wheldon a seeming stranglehold on the '05 points race, as he leads Hornish by 97 with just four races remaining. Wheldon commemorated the pivotal victory with a pair of expressive yet punishing sets of donuts in his car, to the delight of the PPIR fans. Despite the demanding extra work on top of 66 grueling race miles, the Firestone Firehawk tires held up for Wheldon's excessive celebration -- though some cords were showing on the right rear tire like a tuft of black hair.
"The Firestone tires were very consistent and had a very good grip level today," said Wheldon, who hadn't been to victory lane since winning the Indianapolis 500 in May. "With the level of competition in this series, I had to push hard all day and the tires were great. But then, to have that level of grip is what you expect from Firestone. Certainly with that last stint and the six or seven donuts I did, I think we invented a new bunch of Firestones -- the Mohawks. With all the work the tires did and to have all that fun on them, and still have that much grip, is incredible. We could've run another 20 laps on them."
Quote from Joe Barbieri, Manager, Firestone Racing: "We're not sure Dan could have gone another 20 laps on that set of Firehawks after doing those victory donuts, but he sure did put an exclamation point to the level of performance that the Firestone tires provide. To take the punishment of not one, but two sets of spectacular donuts, after a full stint on the racetrack, speaks volumes for what the Firestone Firehawks can do. PPIR is not easy on tires by any means, yet we saw constant competitive racing and dicing throughout the field today. The drivers had to have extreme confidence yet again in their Firestone tires to go high, low and everywhere in between -- and that's our greatest compliment today."
Firestone Performance Award winner: Dario Franchitti of Andretti Green Racing led lap 116 today to claim the Firestone Performance Award, which commemorates the fact Firestone has competed in every IRL IndyCar Series event since the league's 1996 inception. Today's race was the 116th in league history. Franchitti will be presented a $10,000 check during pre-race festivities for the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway on August 28.
Race temperatures ranged from 125 to 127 degrees track, and from 87 to 90 degrees ambient (F).
Race temperatures ranged from 52 to 53 degrees track, and from 31 to 32 degrees ambient (C).