IRL: Kansas: Toyota preview

TOYOTA NO STRANGER TO KANSAS WINNER CIRCLE While the upcoming Kansas Indy 300 will be Toyota's first trip to the Kansas Speedway, the manufacturer recorded one of its landmark victories in the Sunflower State. Juan Manuel Fangio II earned ...

TOYOTA NO STRANGER TO KANSAS WINNER CIRCLE

While the upcoming Kansas Indy 300 will be Toyota's first trip to the Kansas Speedway, the manufacturer recorded one of its landmark victories in the Sunflower State. Juan Manuel Fangio II earned Toyota's first-ever IMSA GTP victory at Heartland Park in Topeka on May 6, 1990. The win was the first of 26 GTP victories for Toyota between 1990-93.

TOYOTA LOOKS FOR SIXTH STRAIGHT IRL WIN

Toyota will be looking for its sixth consecutive victory, and seventh in eight races this season, when the Indy cars take the track at Kansas Speedway on Sunday. Scott Dixon (Target Toyota) has won the last two events, Richmond and Pikes Peak, and has three wins overall this season. He also won the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In addition to Dixon's three triumphs, Al Unser Jr. (Corteco Toyota), Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Toyota) and Scott Sharp (Delphi Toyota) also have race wins this season with Toyota power. Dating back to last season's CART Champ Car competition, Toyota has now won 16 of its last 26 major open-wheel races.

DIXON HITS THE BULLS-EYE

When Scott Dixon made the move to IRL competition this year, few could have expected the 22-year-old New Zealander to initially dominate the IndyCar Series like he has this season. With three victories this year, Dixon is the only IndyCar Series driver to win multiple races in 2003. In addition, he was leading two other races before suffering problems that ended his victory hopes early. Dixon dominated the early going at Phoenix before being sidelined with a broken gearbox. At Motegi, he had just moved into the lead with 23 laps remaining when he was involved in an on-track incident with Tony Kanaan. It is conceivable that Dixon could easily be entering this weekend's race at Kansas with five wins under his belt this year.

FOYT TEAM DEFENDING 2002 KANSAS VICTORY

A.J. Foyt's team returns to Kansas Speedway this weekend as the defending IndyCar Series race winners. In 2002, Airton Dare took the checkered flag for the legendary Foyt's team. Starting the IndyCar Series race this year with Toyota power will be his grandson A.J. Foyt IV, who won the IRL Infiniti Pro Series race in Kansas last year from the pole, and Jacques Lazier, who joined the team in June. In addition to the Foyt team's success, current Toyota-powered drivers Scott Sharp (2001) and Tomas Scheckter (2002) have earned the pole position in the two previous IndyCar Series races at Kansas Speedway. Scheckter set a track record during last year's race with a lap of 220.226 mph.

DIXON AND TOYOTA ON RECORD-SETTING RUN

After leading the final 84 laps in winning Pikes Peak, and then leading every lap at Richmond this past weekend, Scott Dixon has now led an IRL record 290 consecutive laps.

Dixon's record-setting run is just part of the dominance exhibited by Toyota-powered drivers over the last four races. Toyotas have led 759 of the last 764 laps in IndyCar Series competition. During that stretch, Toyota-powered Indy cars led all 206 laps at Richmond, 223 of 225 laps at Pikes Peak, 199 of 200 laps at Texas and 131 of the final 133 laps at the Indianapolis 500.

Overall this season, Toyota-powered cars have led 1,155 of 1,431 laps (80.7 percent) run in the IndyCar Series. Individually, Scott Dixon's 436 laps led are a series-best and are 160 more than the combined total (276) of all the non-Toyota-powered cars in the series.

CASTRONEVES IN UNUSUAL POSITION

Helio Castroneves is best known for winning races and his celebratory fence climbing that follows each victory. Yet this season, the two-time Indy 500 winner has found himself in an unusual position as the runner-up in three races and third place in another. The downside for Castroneves' opponents is that despite not yet winning this season, he is still third overall in the points and in position to make a run for the series title.

EIGHT TOYOTAS IN TOP 11 IN POINTS

Eight Toyota drivers rank in the top 11 in IndyCar Series points heading into Kansas. Scott Dixon remains in second following his Richmond victory, followed by Marlboro Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves (third) and Gil de Ferran (fourth). They are trailed by Al Unser Jr. (fifth), Scott Sharp (seventh) and Felipe Giaffone (ninth), with Tora Takagi and Tomas Scheckter tied for 10th.

TRD CHIEF RETURNS HOME

As Toyota's IRL program heads to Kansas for the first-time, it will mark a homecoming for Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports and the president and CEO of Toyota Racing Development (TRD) U.S.A. A native of Ellis, Kan., Aust graduated from Fort Hays (Kansas) State. He oversees all aspects of Toyota's motorsports programs with every Toyota CART and IRL victory having come under his direction, including the 2002 CART Manufacturer's Championship.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Felipe Giaffone , Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Airton Daré , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , A.J. Foyt IV , Jacques Lazier , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Tora Takagi , Juan Manuel Fangio , A.J. Foyt
Teams Team Penske , Toyota Racing