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Firestone Firehawk starts new era in IndyCar

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From race winner Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Shell V-Power Team Penske Dallara/Chevy/Firestone: "The entire time, the tires were very good. I am extremely proud of the Firestone guys because this year they stepped in an even better direction. I went almost 40 laps on the first set of Firestone reds (alternates) and had no issue, and on the second stint with the blacks (primary), and the third stint was even better. I kept extending my lead the entire time and was able to save the tires. When I made the pass of Dixon, it was probably five or six laps in and the tires were still awesome. If I didn't do that, I would not have been able to pass him the rest of the race, so it was awesome."

Firestone Tire Performance Recap: Firestone Racing engineers brought all-new primary (black-sidewall) and alternate (red-sidewall) tire compounds to St. Pete, paired with the same tire constructions as run here a year ago.  Both specifications performed incredibly well this weekend. Highlights included Takuma Sato putting 47 race laps (88.6 miles) on his opening set of alternates and race winner Helio Castroneves taking advantage of the excellent grip still contained in the used alternate set he put on his car at the end when he made the decisive pass for the win.

From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "What a great way to start the 2012 season and to honor the legacy of Dan Wheldon in his adopted hometown today. The weather was perfect, there was a great crowd on hand, and they were treated to an exciting debut by the new chassis and engines. Congratulations to Chevrolet for winning in its first race back in the IndyCar Series. Helio Castroneves drove a masterful race to get back to victory lane for the first time in two years. He gave much of the credit to his Firestone tires, which aided him in making the clinching pass and pulling away to win. And for Takuma Sato to go nearly the first half of the race on a single set of red-sidewall Firehawk alternates shows the tenacity of the tires we provided this weekend. This is only the beginning and it's going to be a season full of twists and turns, but we're off to a great start. We're pretty sure Dan would be proud."

Top-5 Finishers: 1. Helio Castroneves; 2. Scott Dixon; 3. Ryan Hunter-Reay; 4. James Hinchcliffe; 5. Ryan Briscoe.

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