IRL: Texas II: Firstone race report

Gripping action at Texas Motor Speedway; Hornish rides Firehawks ror IRL Championship. If anyone planned a conservative strategy for today's season-ending Indy Racing League event at Texas Motor Speedway, the plans got tossed when the green flag...

Gripping action at Texas Motor Speedway; Hornish rides Firehawks ror IRL Championship.

If anyone planned a conservative strategy for today's season-ending Indy Racing League event at Texas Motor Speedway, the plans got tossed when the green flag waved. From the first to the last of 200 fast laps in the Chevy 500, it was a no-holds barred, drive as hard as you can event, with Sam Hornish Jr. winning the race -- and the shootout with Helio Castroneves for the 2002 IRL Championship.

"The Firestones were great," Hornish said. "The tires stuck high or low, which is what we needed to have. We had a perfect car with no handling problems. Firestone tires have really helped us out this year, and gave us a championship effort."

The IRL championship earned by Hornish and Pennzoil/Panther Racing is also the 100th major series racing championship earned by a driver on Firestone tires since the Firestone brand started racing in 1909.

Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "Extraordinary. That's the only way to describe what the 86,000 fans here at Texas Motor Speedway saw today. All of us with the Firestone Racing program congratulate Sam and the Pennzoil/Panther team for a magnificent effort in winning the race and the championship. We also tip our hats to Helio Castroneves and the Marlboro Team Penske crew for a tremendous effort to finish second in the race and the championship. We're very proud of how the Firehawks performed today. Lap after lap, with race speeds over 220 mph, the Firestones provided the grip and durability needed for these drivers to go wherever they wanted. It was a great way to end a great season. We also congratulate Laurent Redon for earning IRL Rookie of the Year honors; he's proven he's going to be a factor in future IRL races."

Firestone Performance Award: In addition to winning the race and the championship, Hornish earned a $10,000 bonus check from the Firestone Racing program for leading at lap 71. The award celebrates Firestone tires being in all 71 Indy Racing League events conducted since the first competition in 1996. Firestone is the only tire to claim that honor.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Laurent Redon , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Panther Racing , Team Penske