IRL: Richmond: Firestone preview

Race Distance: 187.5 miles (250 laps around the 0.75-mile D-shaped oval). Firehawk Race Tires Supplied: Firestone delivered 760 Firehawk racing radials for use this weekend. All were produced at the Firestone Technical Center in Akron, Ohio. Per...

Race Distance: 187.5 miles (250 laps around the 0.75-mile D-shaped oval).

Firehawk Race Tires Supplied: Firestone delivered 760 Firehawk racing radials for use this weekend. All were produced at the Firestone Technical Center in Akron, Ohio. Per IndyCar Series regulations, each entered car receives up to seven sets of tires (28 total) to be used at the team's discretion throughout the practice, qualifying and race sessions.

The Firehawks selected for use this weekend are new to Richmond International Raceway but not to the Firestone repertoire of race tires. This event's short oval specification was utilized in 2002 on the mile-long tracks at Phoenix and Nazareth. While Firestone opted for a more durable tread compound at those two ovals this year, the Firestone engineers believe the added grip from this weekend's spec will aid the IndyCars on the tight three-quarters of a mile Richmond bullring.

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "Richmond is a unique challenge for the IndyCar teams and suppliers, including Firestone, because of the track distance. The cars seem to be constantly turning, and with the tight confines there's the need for drivers to make quick, decisive maneuvers all around the track. This places a premium on having a race tire that delivers grip and sure-footed response throughout a stint, which is why Firestone opted for our higher-grip short oval compound this weekend. This is one of the most unpredictable events on the schedule which just adds to the excitement level. We can't wait to see what unfolds."

Stagger Helps the Cars Go 'Round: Firestone engineers purposely design the right rear tire with a circumference slightly larger than that of the left rear tire for oval competition. The size differential is minor - about 0.60 inches this weekend - but the effect, called "stagger," helps the IndyCars turn left more naturally and smoothly - and decreases the stresses on car and driver alike.

The Official Tire of the IRL: Firestone is the exclusive tire supplier to the Indy Racing League for both the IndyCar and Infiniti Pro series.

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Series IndyCar