Castroneves Rides Firestone Grip to Victory Lane in Richmond Helio Castroneves started second, ran strong all evening and took advantage of the sensational grip from his Firestone Firehawk tires to pull away to his first victory of the 2005 ...
Castroneves Rides Firestone Grip to Victory Lane in Richmond
Helio Castroneves started second, ran strong all evening and took advantage of the sensational grip from his Firestone Firehawk tires to pull away to his first victory of the 2005 IndyCar Series season. It is the seventh career IRL win and 13th major open-wheel triumph for Castroneves -- all of them coming on Firestone tires.
Castroneves, driving the Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota on Firestone Firehawks, took the lead on the final round of pit stops, narrowly avoided becoming entangled in a late crash and held off Dario Franchitti in a one-lap green-flag dash to the checkered flag. The Brazilian praised his Firehawk racing radials for letting him race wherever and whenever needed on the tight, ¾-mile Richmond oval.
"The Firestone tires were fantastic," Castroneves said. "They got better and better, lap after lap. We made no adjustments to the car ... just unbelievable. The tires were very consistent. I'm very happy!"
Patrick Carpentier of Red Bull Cheever Racing had his best IRL finish tonight, in third place, and was just as ecstatic over the tire performance. "The Firestone tires were amazing!" Carpentier said. "The set-up we had tonight stayed the same, we made no changes. The tire choice for here was perfect. I couldn't ask more of the tires."
Quote from Joe Barbieri, Manager, Firestone Racing: "As usual, it was survival of the fittest at Richmond, and Helio and the Penske team were definitely the most fit. Helio and his teammate Sam Hornish clearly had the best cars tonight and likely would've finished 1-2 had Sam not had his incident. Richmond is a tough place to race, and we saw that with the numerous crashes tonight. But all the drivers we talked to said their Firestone tires stayed with them every lap and let them make some tremendous moves in traffic. Of course, it's been that way for all 110 IndyCar Series races, a fact of which Firestone is extremely proud."
Firestone Performance Award: Dario Franchitti earned $10,000 tonight for leading lap 110 and claiming the Firestone Performance Award. The bonus prize commemorates Firestone's status as the only tire manufacturer to have participated in every IRL event. It is awarded to the driver who, in each IndyCar Series event, leads the lap number corresponding to the cumulative number of races run to that point -- 110 and counting after tonight.
Race temperatures ranged from 105 to 92 degrees track and 83 to 79 degrees ambient (F).
Race temperatures ranged from 40 to 33 degrees track and 28 to 25 degrees ambient (C).