IRL: Motegi: Super Aguri Fernandez Racing preview

Yasukawa prepared for Japanese racing debut. For the first time in its history, the IndyCar Series ventures outside of the United States as Japan hosts Round Three of the 16-race schedule -- the Indy Japan 300. The event marks the first time...

Yasukawa prepared for Japanese racing debut.

For the first time in its history, the IndyCar Series ventures outside of the United States as Japan hosts Round Three of the 16-race schedule -- the Indy Japan 300. The event marks the first time that Roger Yasukawa will race in Japan despite spending considerable time there. [Yasukawa attended school in Japan (age 6 through 12) and has made frequent trips to his country of heritage to visit his family and sponsors.] He returned to Japan on March 25, and has been working a full schedule of pre-race activities in preparation for the IRL's debut at the impressive Twin Ring Motegi circuit this weekend.

Physically, Yasukawa feels ready. The rookie points leader was involved in a crash at the halfway mark of the Phoenix race on March 23, which required an overnight hospital stay for observation. Yasukawa was released the following morning.

Roger Yasukawa, Driver - #55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"I am obviously feeling much better since the crash. I think I may need to get a check-up before the race by [IRL Director of Medical Services] Dr. Bock, but I am confident everything will be perfectly fine by then, and I have been preparing myself physically for the race. Things were going well in Phoenix and I am more confident now even after the crash. I was able to run up front and stay there, and I learned a whole lot from that. It builds up the confidence for myself and the team.

"This will be my first time to race in Japan and I am really excited. My entire family will be there. For the whole team, this will probably be one of the biggest races for us apart from the Indy 500, and also for Honda. We all want to win this race and we have been working hard in setting up our program so we can be competitive at Motegi. If I do my job to bring the car home, I think we can finish up front."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his third career IRL IndyCar Series start-- currently leads Rookie of the Year standings and is tied for 16th in the championship with 29 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.

Super Aguri Fernandez Racing Team Owners Hold Strong Ties to Motegi Circuit.

Team Co-Owners Adrian Fernandez and Aguri Suzuki have both enjoyed the spoils of victory at Twin Ring Motegi. Fernandez is a back-to-back race winner on the oval, claiming victory in the 1998 and 1999 Champ Car events. Suzuki won in 1997 in GT competition, and also finished second in 1999 in the Autobacs Cup All-Japan GT Championship. The kart category of Suzuki's ARTA Project driver development program also includes the ARTA Challenge Cup held at Twin Ring Motegi as well as the ARTA Summer Kart School and ARTA Cup Kart.

Japan a Homecoming for two Super Aguri Fernandez Racing Team Members Although born in Fort Monmouth, N.J., Chief Mechanic Steve Ragan spent the next 22 years growing up in Zama City -- located 25 miles southwest of Tokyo. Ragan became interested in motorsports through his father who raced touring cars. Prior to continuing his career stateside, Ragan was the chief mechanic for Japanese motorcycle F1 champion Satoshi Tsujimoto. Mechanic Tomihiro "Tomi" Takase hails from Fujisawa, located 40 miles from Tokyo and 130 miles from Motegi. After attending a mechanic's school in Japan, Takase traveled the globe and has worked as a lead mechanic in German F3 competition, as a gearbox technician in Formula One and in Japanese F3000 before entering the American motorsports scene.

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.

-safr-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Adrian Fernandez , Roger Yasukawa , Aguri Suzuki