Yasukawa joins the Atlantic winners circle

Roger Yasukawa joins CART Toyota Atlantic winners circle. (Irvine, California - June 4, 2002) In just his second Atlantic start and his first on an oval with the Toyota powered Swift 014.a, Roger Yasukawa, driver of the ...

Roger Yasukawa joins CART Toyota Atlantic winners circle.

(Irvine, California - June 4, 2002) In just his second Atlantic start and his first on an oval with the Toyota powered Swift 014.a, Roger Yasukawa, driver of the #9 Autobacs/u.s. print/Toyota/Swift achieved his first victory on Sunday at round 3 of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin.

For the first time in their five-year history in the Atlantic series, Hylton Motorsports team owner Keith Hylton has chosen to enter a full-time two-car effort in the 2002 Atlantic championship. He signed Yasukawa in early March and the Los Angeles native made his Atlantic debut at his home race in Long Beach California, where he started 12th and finished seventh, earning nine championship points.

Hylton Motorsports earned their first Atlantic victory one year ago at The Milwaukee Mile with driver Hoover Orsi. Orsi went on to claim four additional victories and four pole positions en route to the 2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship title.

Yasukawa's victory at The Mile gave his team, the defending race winners a repeat victory and marked their third consecutive victory on an oval. The win was the sixth victory for the defending series champions.

A former CART Barber Dodge Series Rookie of the Year, Yasukawa finished fourth in the Barber Dodge Pro Series in 2001 after earning four podium finishes and his first career victory in Vancouver. He completed every lap of every race he competed in the 2001 season.

Yasukawa tested at The Mile last month, where he set very competitive times throughout the two-day program, "The test was a good opportunity for me to get comfortable with the car on an oval. Most of the Atlantic field was there, so it also gave us a good indication of where we were in terms of speed. We tried some developmental changes to the car during the test, and our times were consistently right in there, so I knew going into the race weekend that we had a good shot at winning" said Yasukawa.

Yasukawa took the green flag from the front row, next to his teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay. The duo led the field throughout the weekend and it was the first time Hylton Motorsports had achieved a front row sweep in qualifying. "Both Hylton Motorsports drivers were flawless this weekend. They achieved something in qualifying that we had never done before. Ryan and Roger are great assets to this team. Their transition up the ladder to Atlantic has been nothing short of impressive," said team owner, Keith Hylton

The 24-year old West Hollywood resident victoriously took the checkered flag after leading the final 27 laps with a 2.733 second margin of victory. He earned 20 championship points for his win and jumped from 13th to fourth in the series standings. He sits second in the Rookie of the Year standings behind series leader and Indy Lights graduate, Jon Fogarty.

Yasukawa commented on his victory, "This is a very special victory for me. I am fortunate to be with a team where the depth of talent seems endless. Both Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and I had a very strong weekend and I think that is something that will continue the rest of the season. Thanks to my sponsors Autobacs and to my manager and mentor, Hiro Matsushita and of course to the team and Keith Hylton." After the race, Keith Hylton commented on Yasukawa's victory, "Roger drove a smart race. He was consistent and controlled and made no mistakes. He had an excellent car and made the most of it. I am looking forward to the rest of the season, I think it will be a good year for Hylton Motorsports."

Round four of the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship takes place this weekend at the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. Practice and qualifying begin on Friday, June 7th followed by final qualifying and the race on Saturday, June 8th. SPEED Channel will televise the race Saturday at 10:00 pm EST. For more information, please visit hyltonmotorsports.com, rogerspeed.com or toyotaatlantic.com.

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Jon Fogarty , Hoover Orsi , Roger Yasukawa