IRL: Motegi: Rahal Letterman Racing Friday report

RAIN CANCELS QUALIFYING AT MOTEGI RLR TRIO WILL START FAR BACK BASED ON POINTS MOTEGI, Japan - Rain showers soaked Twin Ring Motegi and forced the cancellation of qualifying for Saturday's IRL IndyCar Series race the Japan Indy 300. The ...

RAIN CANCELS QUALIFYING AT MOTEGI

RLR TRIO WILL START FAR BACK BASED ON POINTS

MOTEGI, Japan - Rain showers soaked Twin Ring Motegi and forced the cancellation of qualifying for Saturday's IRL IndyCar Series race the Japan Indy 300. The starting grid will be set based on championship points leaving the three Rahal Letterman drivers starting deep in the field.

Danica Patrick will start 14th in the Argent Mortgage Honda/Panoz/Firestone. It is Patrick's lowest starting position on an oval since she started 21st at Richmond last June and her lowest start ever on an oval track 1.5 miles or bigger.

"We certainly have our work cut out for us," said Patrick driver of the No. 16 Argent Mortgage Honda/Panoz/Firestone. "Last year we started on the front row and ran at the front of the field all day. We have a pretty good car, but when you start deep in the field a few factors have to fall in your favor."

Buddy Rice will start 18th on Saturday in his No. 15 Argent Mortgage Honda/Panoz. Rice was fourth quick in the single practice session on Friday and he showed he has a car to be a factor on Saturday.

"It has been tough to get the car dialed in because we really haven't been on track that much," said Rice. "This is where there is a benefit to our team of still running the Honda/Panoz package. We have a baseline set-up to refine and so when we did get on track all we really had to do was address the gearing. I feel really good about tomorrow. Sure we are starting in the next to the last row because of points, but I think we have a car with which we can be a factor."

Rookie Jeff Simmons will start 20th since he is yet to earn a championship point. The driver of the No. 17 RLR Team Ethanol Honda/Panoz endured a tough day following a strong first day of practice at Motegi. With 15 minutes left in the practice session Simmons was involved in a single car crash which forced the team to unload the back-up car. Simmons was uninjured in the incident.

"I was just going out after a tire change and I was being careful not to push the car until the tires were up to temp," said Simmons. "I remember thinking don't push things and make a big mistake. The next thing I knew I hit the wall. I made a mistake. It is unfortunate because that causes extra work and we lost some track time, but we will be ready for the race tomorrow."

Saturday's Japan Indy 300 will begin at 1:00 pm local time and will be shown tape delayed in the United States on ESPN at Noon on Saturday. The race can be seen live utilizing ESPN.com's ESPN 360 broadband service, by listening to XM Satellite Radio on a broadcast affiliate on the IMS Radio Network.

-rlr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Buddy Rice , Jeff Simmons , Danica Patrick