IRL: St. Louis: Firestone race report

Castroneves makes the climb back to victory lane Indy Racing League fans had not seen Helio Castroneves scale a fence to celebrate one of his own wins since Indianapolis in May 2002. The drought ended today when the popular Brazilian drove his...

Castroneves makes the climb back to victory lane

Indy Racing League fans had not seen Helio Castroneves scale a fence to celebrate one of his own wins since Indianapolis in May 2002. The drought ended today when the popular Brazilian drove his Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota on Firestone tires to victory.

Starting from the pole, Castroneves led 96 of the 200 laps around the 1.25-mile oval, including the last 43 circuits. He edged close friend Tony Kanaan, in the 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, by 0.8466 of a second, with Marlboro Team Penske's Gil de Ferran placing third to make it an all-Brazilian podium.

Great teamwork aided Castroneves' effort. Besides driving most of the way without any in-car telemetry, he fought an ill-handling machine until his crew made changes on the first pit stop. From there, Castroneves knew he had a car that could win.

"We really struggled with the grip and handling on the first stint," Castroneves said. "Then we made some adjustments and everything was fine. The Firestone tires were good and consistent the rest of the way."

Quote from Dale Harrigle, Project Engineer, Firestone Racing:

"Once again the Firestone Firehawks rose to the challenge of another difficult track. With its dramatically different corners, Gateway places more demands on a tire than a more symmetrical oval. The recent track surface grinding had us paying close attention to the tire wear rate this weekend, but the teams were able to race with no problems. Wear was not an issue and there was plenty of grip from the Firehawks. Congratulations to Helio on a hard-fought victory. Our thoughts also go to Kelley Racing and crewman Anton Julian. Everyone at Firestone is praying for him to have a speedy recovery."

Firestone Performance Award:

Scott Dixon took the lead just in time today to earn the $10,000 Firestone Performance Award, which commemorates the fact that the tire maker has participated in every IRL IndyCar Series event since the series began in 1996. Today's race was the 82nd in IRL history and Dixon, who led laps 80 through 157 in the Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Toyota/ Firestone, collected the 10 grand for being in first place on lap 82.

Race temperatures ranged from 106 to 128 degrees track and from 85 to 93 degrees ambient (F).
Race temperatures ranged from 41 to 53 degrees track and from 29 to 34 degrees ambient (C).

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Chip Ganassi
Teams Team Penske