IRL: St. Louis: Firestone preview

Firehawk Race Tires Supplied: Firestone delivered 760 Firehawk racing radials for use this weekend. Each IndyCar Series entry receives up to eight sets of tires (32 total) to use as its team sees fit during practice, qualifying and the race.

Firehawk Race Tires Supplied: Firestone delivered 760 Firehawk racing radials for use this weekend. Each IndyCar Series entry receives up to eight sets of tires (32 total) to use as its team sees fit during practice, qualifying and the race. Firestone Racing engineers have chosen their popular intermediate oval tire for the teams at Gateway. The same Firehawk specification performed exceptionally well here last year and has also been used this season at Homestead, Pikes Peak and Nashville with positive results.

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 - just 0.51 of an inch 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.

Quote from Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "Gateway International Raceway is a challenging track for everyone in the IndyCar Series, including the Official Tire Supplier. The two sets of corners are vastly different, with one a more sweeping set of turns that carries higher speeds and g-force loads through it and the other a tighter set requiring additional braking and downshifting. Those characteristics all place differing demands on the race tires to supply the grip and consistent performance the drivers expect, yet the Firehawks have proven they're able to handle the burden quite well. The entire track surface also underwent a recent grinding process in an effort to smooth it. While we expect no difficulties with the Firehawks adapting to the change, the Firestone engineers will monitor tire performance closely throughout the weekend and work with teams and series officials on any necessary adjustments."

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. The Infiniti Pro Series conducts the eighth of its 12-race schedule with Saturday's Gateway 100 at Gateway International Raceway.

Firestone Performance Award: In recognition of the fact that the tire maker has competed in every IRL race, Firestone Racing is awarding $10,000 at each 2003 event to the leader of the lap that coincides with the number of IndyCar Series races that have taken place. Since this weekend's race is the 82nd in series history, the leader of lap 82 Sunday will earn the bonus.

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Series IndyCar