Firestone Indy Lights Unveils New, Grand Firehawk Cup
The Firestone Indy Lights fight for the Firehawk Cup takes on more significant meaning today, with the introduction of a new and more impressive trophy worthy of the name "Firehawk Cup."
The new cup, a Bruce Fox, Inc. design made of fine silver, nickel silver, carbon fiber and proprietary resin, standing 381/2 inches tall and weighing 68 pounds, was created as part of Firestone's ongoing commitment to support the Indy Racing League's driver development series. In March, Firestone became title sponsor of the renamed Firestone Indy Lights and announced additional prize incentives totaling more than a quarter-million dollars for 2008.
"Firestone Indy Lights has been a great proving ground for talented young drivers," said Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing. "Just look at the names that have honed their skills there before moving onto the IndyCar Series. Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon, Oriol Servia, Townsend Bell, A.J. Foyt IV, Alex Lloyd - all are past Firestone Indy Lights champions who will drive this weekend in the 'Greatest Spectacle in Racing,' the Indianapolis 500. This just shows that Firestone Indy Lights is the right path to the IndyCar Series."
To underscore the steeped tradition of the series, the names of all Firestone Indy Lights champions dating to 1991 will be inscribed on the new Firehawk Cup. That includes the years of Firestone and Dayton Indy Lights competition under the former Championship Auto Racing Teams umbrella from 1991-2001 and what was the IRL's Indy Pro Series from 2002-07.
"The Firestone Indy Lights continues to be the most diverse and competitive developmental series in the world," said Roger Bailey, executive director of the Firestone Indy Lights. "We race on ovals, road and street courses providing the essential preparation for drivers to graduate to the IndyCar Series. I think we've already contributed to the future of the sport. On Sunday, almost half the field in the Indianapolis 500 (nine drivers who have competed in the Firestone Indy Lights under the IRL banner and six from the previous Indy Lights series) will be graduates of the Firestone Indy Lights."
Among the additional prizes which will be presented by Firestone are a pair of "Legacy" awards honoring two fondly remembered Firestone Indy Lights alumni. Firestone is pleased to announce the continuation of the "Greg Moore Legacy Award" and the "Tony Renna Rising Star Award." Each will be a $5,000 post-season prize honoring the memories of Moore and Renna, drivers whose racing careers were cut far too short.
"This is a very proud day for Firestone and the Firestone Indy Lights series," Speyer said. "Not only are we able to unveil this striking and extraordinary new Firehawk Cup, but we've also formalized the 'Legacy' awards so that the passion that Greg and Tony had for open-wheel racing will endure."
The Greg Moore Legacy Award is a continuation of the honor begun in CART/Champ Car following the Canadian star's death in 1999. Moore was the Firestone Indy Lights champion in 1995 before moving up to CART in '96 and winning five races in four seasons. The award will retain the same criteria - it's given to a driver who most typifies Moore's distinctive combination of outstanding on-track talent and dynamic personality - and will be presented to a Firestone Indy Lights driver at the conclusion of the season.
The Tony Renna Rising Star Award was previously an IndyCar Series honor recalling the driver killed in a testing crash at Indianapolis in 2003. Renna raced in Firestone Indy Lights in 2001 before competing in seven IndyCar Series events over the next two seasons. The award will go to the Firestone Indy Lights driver who embodies the qualities - including teamwork, physical fitness and resourcefulness - which Renna demonstrated.
"Greg and Tony were tremendous racers and even better individuals," Speyer said. "Firestone is proud to keep their memories alive in our hearts and to help inspire the next generation of drivers to greater heights."