Neither rain, nor sleet, nor other competitors could keep Kelley Racing's Scott Sharp from steering his Firehawk-equipped Delphi car first across the finish line in the Firestone Indy 225 at Nazareth Speedway.

Although mishaps and mechanical gremlins caused numerous caution periods, Sharp and the Kelley team had the right combination of talent and strategy to move to the front in the closing laps for Sharp's seventh career IRL win. The American had to rely on late race leader Gil de Ferran running out of fuel on the dash to the flag, however, as the front four diced with the pace at which they could afford to race.

"As often happens in racing, the last laps in today's Firestone Indy 225 were eventful and exciting," commented Quote from Al Speyer, Firestone Motorsport's executive director, "With a break in the weather, the last laps were an edge-of-your-seat deal with plenty of suspense and great driving.

"Kelley Racing team manager Jim Freudenberg came up to us at the end of the race and said 'were those Firestones awesome all day or what?' and it was great to hear that from the winning team in an event with our name on it.

"This is a tricky track to drive, and the numerous cautions forced the teams to pay additional attention to putting heat in the tyres on the restarts. Once they were up to the right temps, however, they worked very well all day, giving drivers the grip needed for passing and manoeuvring in traffic. We thank the Nazareth track officials and staff for being such good hosts, and for doing everything possible to give fans a good race."

"The tyres worked great all day, they were just so consistent," confirmed Sharp after the event, "That was the one staple for us. They just stayed strong the entire run and we just can't say enough about how good they were."

Kelley Racing team-mate Al Unser Jr earned the Firestone Performance award and a cheque for $10,000 for leading at the end of
lap 60. The award recognises Firestone tyres being used in all 60 IRL events conducted thus far, and Unser will receive his bonus at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway next month.



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