IndyCar drivers were divided on tire preferences
At the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, an IZOD IndyCar Series race held at the Raceway in Sonoma in Sonoma, Calif., tire preferences made the difference.
Firestone Racing engineers brought the same primary and alternate Firestone Firehawk racing tire specifications that were used earlier this season at Barber Motorsports Park. Drivers were a bit divided as to which tire they preferred, but race winner Ryan Briscoe certainly liked the handling of his car better on the red-sidewall alternates.
"There was quite a big difference between the lap times on primary and alternate tires, but the drivers were not unanimous in their preference for one or the other," said Al Speyer, executive director, Firestone Racing. "We will certainly evaluate our choice of specifications.
"Congratulations to Ryan Briscoe on a long-overdue victory and to Team Penske for a one-two finish. With the final road course out of the way, we're eagerly anticipating our upcoming visits to the street course in Baltimore and the superspeedway at Fontana to see how the championship battle plays out."
Briscoe, in the #2 Hitachi Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, finished first, followed by Will Power, Dario Franchitti, Rubens Barrichello and Graham Rahal.
"I wasn't sure if I was ever going to win again! It's been too long," he said. "It's great to win, especially here in Sonoma -- I've always done so well here at this track. I got my first-ever pole position here, and we've been in the top five the last five years.
"It's great to finally get the win, and I look forward to drinking the red wine! We started the race really strong on the Firestone Firehawk alternate tires, and it felt good. We went to the primaries for the middle part of the race, and we struggled a bit for lap time. I was looking forward to the final stint on the alternates -- the car came to life again, and we did what we needed to do."
The race was held on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012. Race temperatures on the track ranged from 109-degrees Fahrenheit to 113-degrees F.