IRL: Indy 500: SA Fernandez Racing Carb Day practice report

Yasukawa turns final practice laps before Indy 500 Super Aguri Fernandez Racing ready for race day Roger Yasukawa put the ...

Yasukawa turns final practice laps before Indy 500
Super Aguri Fernandez Racing ready for race day

Roger Yasukawa put the #55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone through its final paces this afternoon in preparation for the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500. The two-hour practice session, part of the Miller Lite Carburetion Day activities, was the last opportunity for drivers to tour the 2.5-mile circuit prior to the race as a month of practice and preparation culminates with the drop of the green flag this Sunday.

"Carb Day was a little more intense than what I thought it was going to be," said Yasukawa, who posted the 13th fastest time in practice today -- 225.6930 mph -- after 20 shakedown laps. "However, the car feels good, the Honda engine is very strong and I feel very comfortable going into the race this Sunday. Although we have been here for nearly a month, time went by quickly and I feel very lucky to have many experienced people in the team to guide me through a whole month."

Yasukawa will be making his first Indianapolis 500 start from the middle of the fourth row, alongside Gil de Ferran and Tomas Scheckter, after posting the 11th fastest speed during Pole Day qualifying activities with a four-lap average of 228.577 mph.

Managing Director Tom Anderson, a veteran of three Indianapolis 500 wins, has been pleased with the progress of Yasukawa and the Super Aguri Fernandez Racing team throughout the month of May at the legendary Brickyard.

"Today was very smooth; a beautiful day in Indianapolis," said Anderson. "All of our system checks went well with our new Honda engine and, since we had pre-run our Firestone tires last week, I think the Panasonic Autobacs #55 car and Roger are ready for Sunday."

The race will mark Yasukawa's fourth IRL IndyCar Series start and the longest race of his career to date. A strong contributor to his confidence going into this Sunday's event is Race Engineer John Dick, who won the Indy 500 in 1990 with Arie Luyendyk and engineered Alex Barron to a fourth-place finish last year.

"The final practice was calm and went pretty well," noted Dick. "We ran the car initially after we rebuilt it completely. There were some things that needed to be corrected to be perfect, so we came back and fixed them. We checked that the car is back to what it should've been, and we are ready for the race."

Team Owners Adrian Fernandez and Aguri Suzuki were also in attendance, and will be lending their support on Sunday.

"Roger has done pretty well so far, " said Fernandez, who competed in the 1994 and 1995 Indianapolis 500s. "Obviously he has run a lot of miles in practice, but the race will be totally different from what I experienced the first time I raced here. This is the biggest race of his career and there is a lot of pressure for this race. He has good experience from the past few races to put it all together for this weekend. I think he has a very good car and he has the experience now to be able to stay out of trouble and finish the race."

"The car seems to be in good shape and Roger told me that he feels comfortable driving the car," added Suzuki. "Everything and all the crew are set for the race, so I am looking forward to the race very much."

ROGER YASUKAWA FAST FACTS: Will be making his fourth career IRL IndyCar Series start-- currently leads Rookie of the Year standings and is 19th in the championship with 38 points-- began his career at the age of 12 in karts, competing in both the U.S. and Italy before moving up the racing ladder through Formula Vauxhall Junior and Formula Palmer Audi in England, and Formula Dodge competition in the United States-- entered the Barber Dodge Pro Series at the age of 21, earning Co-Rookie of the Year honors-- competed in the Atlantic series last year, claiming a win at Milwaukee and two additional podium finishes in a partial season of competition-- resides in West Hollywood, California.

For additional information on Super Aguri Fernandez Racing, visit www.superagurifernandezracing.net. Additional information on the IRL IndyCar Series can be found at www.indyracing.com.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Arie Luyendyk , Gil de Ferran , Adrian Fernandez , Roger Yasukawa , Tom Anderson , Aguri Suzuki