IRL: Indy Racing League News and Notes 2007-05-15

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- May 15, 2007 Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines 1. Road to Indy: Kanaan prefers to fly underneath radar 2. Yasukawa lands Indianapolis 500-ride with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing 1. Road to Indy:...

INDYCAR SERIES NEWS AND NOTES -- May 15, 2007

Today's IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series headlines
1. Road to Indy: Kanaan prefers to fly underneath radar
2. Yasukawa lands Indianapolis 500-ride with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

1. Road to Indy: Kanaan prefers to fly underneath radar: Tony Kanaan doesn't mind if all the attention for the 91st Indianapolis 500 isn't focused on him. In fact, he'd prefer that people forgot about him and his No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Honda-powered Dallara.

"I don't want to be in the spotlight," Kanaan said. "If people aren't counting on me, it's better for me. I'll just surprise them. I'll just do my thing. If I win, there going to have to talk about me."

There will be little surprise if Kanaan does well at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 27 -- people are already talking about him.

The popular Brazilian driver narrowly missed earning the AAMCO Transmissions Pole Award on May 12 and is considered one of the front-runners for the Indianapolis 500.

Kanaan's four-lap run was the fastest of the five Andretti Green Racing entries, and it put him in the middle of the front row.

"I can't be too disappointed (that I didn't win the pole), because I'm on the front row for the Indianapolis 500," said Kanaan, who has never qualified worse than fifth in his previous 500s. "I know I have a good race car."

Now the focus turns to turning a good race car into a solid contender for the race win. Kanaan has led the "500" every year he's been in the race and has finished in the top 10 four times. He says the formula for having a good car on Race Day is simple.

"You need to stay focused and be smart during the month as you're setting up your car for the race," he said. "You can't get carried away by speed, which easily happens. You have to take it one day at the time."

If Kanaan can follow that formula successfully, then the 2004 IndyCar Series champion would add what he said would be the biggest win of his career.

"It would be really special. If you ask anyone that question, they would say (winning the Indianapolis 500) would be very special," he said. "It would be one more thing to add to my resume. After winning a championship, that's the one thing that's missing. It will be very good. I can't describe how good that would feel."

***

2. Yasukawa lands Indianapolis 500-ride with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing: IndyCar Series veteran Roger Yasukawa will attempt to qualify a third entry from Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for the 91st Indianapolis 500.

Yasukawa, who drove for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in 2005, will drive the No. 24 Honda-powered Dallara backed by Indianapolis-based Wellman-Corbier Custom Homes.

"Roger did a great job for us in 2005, and we are excited to have him back with us this year," said team co-owner Dennis Reinbold, whose team qualified 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice and Sarah Fisher on May 13. "This is the first time we have ever been a three-car team heading into the Indy 500 and we are excited about that."

Yasukawa, a native of Los Angeles, has made four Indy 500 starts with a best finish of 10th in 2003 and 2004.

"I'm really excited to be back in the Indy 500," said Yasukawa, who gained 12 positions to finish 16th in last year's Indianapolis 500 for Playa Del Racing. "I looked at a number of options, and Dreyer & Reinbold was the best place with the best opportunity to do well. I was at DRR in 2005 and worked with a lot of the Fernandez guys in 2003, so the whole synergy is really great.

"We're excited to get out there and work on the race setup and definitely will be the quickest of the second week group. The best qualifying we can hope for is 23rd but that's not going to matter too much for the race as I know DRR has a really good race setup. I needed something that was going to reboot my career so I need to go out there and drive really hard to make sure we are going to be finishing top-10."

Ivan Koldsgaard, who has experience working with Yasukawa, serve as lead engineer for Yasukawa's entry.

"I worked with Roger in 2003 when (Rice's engineer) JD [John Dick], engineered his car," said Koldsgaard, who normally serves as Buddy Rice's fuel strategist. "Roger has definitely matured as a driver, and I'm looking forward to working with him this month. Coming into the IndyCar Series is definitely a tall order, and his racecraft has improved with the experience he has gained on the track. I really look forward to working with him this month and getting a solid finish. This is a new experience for me, so I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Yasukawa's entry will join the field for practice on May 16 and will attempt to qualify for the race on May 19.

***

The 2007 IndyCar Series season continues with the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500 at 1 p.m. (ET) on May 27. The race will be telecast live by ABC and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The sixth season of Indy Pro Series competition continues with the Freedom 100 on May 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast as part of ESPN2's coverage of Carb Day at 4 p.m. on May 25.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Sarah Fisher , Tony Kanaan , Roger Yasukawa , Buddy Rice
Teams Dreyer & Reinbold Racing