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Auto Racing

Foyt Says Firestone Is 'Just As Bad'

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: May 31, 2013 at 08:48 PM

HOMESTEAD - Tony Stewart doesn't think much of the job Goodyear is doing in NASCAR, and A.J. Foyt is no fan of Firestone's performance in the Indy Racing League.

Asked before Saturday night's Gainsco Indy 300 what he thought of Stewart's rant about Goodyear a few weeks ago after NASCAR's Atlanta race, Foyt took aim at the IRL's tire supplier.

"Firestone's just as bad," he said. "We've got junk for tires. They've got one heat cycle, and they screwed us up the other day for qualifying; they fall off two or three tenths."

Foyt, who will compete in next weekend's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg as a team owner for Darren Manning, was a Goodyear driver through much of his legendary racing career. Arch-rival Mario Andretti ran on Firestones. Stewart raced Firestones in the IRL when both tire companies were in the league.

"I have no love for Firestone, they have no love for me," Foyt said, adding that the tires made by Bridgestone Firestone in Japan are "a lot better" than those built domestically.

NO PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT: Tony George, CEO of the IRL and co-owner of Vision Racing, didn't get any favors from league officials Saturday. Vision drivers Ed Carpenter and A.J. Foyt Jr. were dropped to the rear of the field because their cars failed inspection after Friday night's qualifying.

They had qualified second and third, respectively.

LOCAL LIGHTS: Two of the Indy Lights (formerly Indy Pro Series) teams that will run two races at St. Petersburg are based locally.

Team E, a new entry in the IRL's developmental series, operates out of Odessa and is owned by Neil Enerson, owner of Marlin Compressed Natural Gas Services. Driver Bobby Wilson finished 17th among 23 cars in Saturday's Miami 100.

RLR Andersen Racing, co-owned by brothers Dan and John Andersen, is based in Palmetto and aligned with Rahal Letterman Racing. Drivers Andrew Prendeville and J.R. Hildebrand finished sixth and 10th Saturday, respectively.

Dillon Battistini, a newcomer from England who had never driven on an oval until last week, won Saturday's race for Panther Racing.

Tony Fabrizio

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