IRL: Motegi: Pre-race notes, schedule

Indy Japan 300 FAST FACTS WHAT: Indy Japan 300, third race in 17-race 2007 season; only IndyCar Series event that will take place outside of the United States. WHERE: Twin Ring Motegi, 1.5-mile asphalt oval WHEN: 1 p.m. (Japan Time),...

Indy Japan 300 FAST FACTS

WHAT:
Indy Japan 300, third race in 17-race 2007 season; only IndyCar Series event that will take place outside of the United States.

WHERE:
Twin Ring Motegi, 1.5-mile asphalt oval

WHEN:
1 p.m. (Japan Time), Saturday, April 21; Midnight (ET), April 21

DISTANCE:
200 laps/300 miles

POSTED AWARDS:
More than $1 million

CARS:
Dallara chassis; Honda Indy V-8; Firestone tires; 100 percent fuel-grade ethanol

PAST RACE WINNERS:
Helio Castroneves (2006), Dan Wheldon (2004, 2005), Scott Sharp (2003)

2006 SERIES CHAMPION:
Sam Hornish Jr.

TV:
Race: ESPN (tape-delayed), Noon (ET), April 21

Note: Live streaming video coverage of the Indy Japan 300 (11:30 p.m., April 20) is available at www.indycar.com

RADIO:
Pre-race: IMS Radio Network (live), 11:30 p.m. (ET), April 20
Race: IMS Radio Network (live), Midnight (ET), April 21

Note: Live coverage of IndyCar Series Pole Qualifying (12:30 a.m. ET, April 20) and the Indy Japan 300 are available at www.indycar.com and XM Satellite Radio channel 144 "XM Sports Nation."

SCHEDULE (Japan Time; subject to change):

Thursday, April 19
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
1:30-2:30 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)

Friday, April 20
10:30 a.m. -12:05 p.m. IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
1:30 p.m. IndyCar Series Pole Qualifying
3:30-4:30 p.m. Autograph session

Saturday, April 21
1 p.m. Indy Japan 300 (200 laps/300 miles), ESPN (Noon EDT, April 21)

THE TRACK:
1.5-mile paved oval
Frontstretch: 1,982 feet banked at 1.7 degrees
Backstretch: 1,982 feet banked at 5 degrees
Width: 80 feet
Turns are banked at 10 degrees

* Twin Ring Motegi opened in 1997 and has a seating capacity of 68,104. In addition to the oval, the facility also has a 2.849-mile road course and a .634-mile short course. Twin Ring Motegi is a "Fusion of Human, Nature and Mobility." An amusement park surrounded by mountains, Twin Ring Motegi combines motor racing, driving experiences, nature exploration and other activities. In addition to the IndyCar Series, other motorsports events at the facility include MotoGP World Championship Series and the Japanese Formula Nippon Series.

INDY-STYLE RACING IN JAPAN:

Built by Honda in Tochigi Prefecture, about 60 miles northeast of Tokyo, the oval at Twin Ring Motegi has hosted open-wheel racing since 1998.

Honda first brought CART to Japan in 1998 with Adrian Fernandez winning the first two Indy car races at Twin Ring Motegi. Michael Andretti won in 2000, and 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Kenny Brack won at Motegi in 2001. Bruno Junqueira won the final CART event in 2002.

In 2003, the IRL IndyCar® Series made its first trip to Twin Ring Motegi. Scott Sharp won the inaugural Indy Japan 300, which was the first IndyCar Series event held overseas. In 2004, Dan Wheldon made history for Honda, giving the engine manufacturer its first victory at its home track.

INDYCAR SERIES NOTES:

* Four Indianapolis 500 champions are expected to participate in the Indy Japan 300: Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Buddy Rice (2004), Dan Wheldon (2005) and Sam Hornish Jr. (2006).

* Drivers entered in the Indy Japan 300 have combined for 74 IndyCar Series victories, 69 pole positions and 979 starts.

* The Indy Japan 300 will be the fourth IndyCar Series event conducted at Twin Ring Motegi. Scott Sharp was the inaugural winner in 2003. Dan Wheldon won in 2004 and 2005 and became the first Honda-powered driver to win at the track. Helio Castroneves won in 2006.

* Five IndyCar Series champions are scheduled to participate in the Indy Japan 300: Scott Sharp (1996 co-champion), Sam Hornish Jr. (2001, 2002, 2006), Scott Dixon (2003), Tony Kanaan (2004) and Dan Wheldon (2005).

-credit: irl

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