IRL: Fontana: SAFR, Matsuura Friday report

Matsuura Eighth Fastest in Opening Practice at California Speedway Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah] is off to a good start in his first appearance at California Speedway. The rookie points leader claimed the eighth fastest time overall,...

Matsuura Eighth Fastest in Opening Practice at California Speedway Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah] is off to a good start in his first appearance at California Speedway. The rookie points leader claimed the eighth fastest time overall, and the third quickest time in the afternoon session, as practice activities began today for the Toyota Indy 400.

A strong showing in Sunday's 200-lap race -- the second to last round of 2004 IRL IndyCar® Series competition -- could clinch Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors for Matsuura, who has led the rookie title chase since the start of the season.

Kosuke Matsuura, #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:

"The team did a really good job with the set up and the car has much less drag. In the first session, the car was a bit 'draggy' but on new tires, it was quick. For the second session, we improved a lot and the car had much less drag and it was really fast. What is missing is in the draft because the car has a really big push in the draft. If we can find a good setup in the draft, I think we can fight for a win. The track is really good. Before Turn Three there is a big bump, but that is the same for everyone. I have a lot of confidence for the race."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 15th IRL IndyCar Series start-- recorded his career-best finish of fourth at Kentucky Speedway-- recorded his career-best starting position of second at Michigan-- currently leads the Bombardier Rookie of the Year standings by 36 points-- currently sits 13th in the championship standings-- earned Bank One Rookie of the Year and American Dairy Association of Indiana's Fastest Rookie of the Year honors at the Indianapolis 500-- 25 years old from Aichi, Japan-- began his career in karts at the age of 14-- finished third in the 2003 Formula Renault V6 Eurocup-- finished second in the 2002 German Formula 3 Championship-- won the 2000 Japanese Formula Dream Series Championship before heading to Europe in 2001 to compete in German F3-- has been a member of Co-Owner Aguri Suzuki's ARTA (Autobacs Racing Team Aguri) driver development project since 1998 after climbing up the Japanese karting ranks--currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.

-safr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Kosuke Matsuura , Aguri Suzuki