IRL: Motegi: Tony Kanaan qualifying report

Kanaan To Start Third in Team 7-Eleven Machine at Motegi MOTEGI, Japan (April 16, 2004) - Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan continued to impress Friday at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan, securing the third starting position during qualifying...

Kanaan To Start Third in Team 7-Eleven Machine at Motegi

MOTEGI, Japan (April 16, 2004) - Team 7-Eleven driver Tony Kanaan continued to impress Friday at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan, securing the third starting position during qualifying for Saturday's running of the 2004 Bridgestone Indy Japan 300.

Kanaan, who notched the fastest practice lap in all three practice sessions prior to qualifying as well as the final practice before the race, recorded a lap of 205.690 miles per hour in the #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone to lock down his fourth top-five starting spot in seven career open-wheel starts at Motegi. Kanaan enters tomorrow's 300- mile event as the Indy Racing League® (IRL) IndyCar® Series points leader after claiming his second career IRL victory last month at Phoenix International Raceway.

For the second straight race, Kanaan's Andretti Green Racing teammate Dan Wheldon claimed the pole position. Wheldon circled the 1.5-mile oval at a speed of 205.762 miles per hour to score his second career pole in the Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Greg Ray qualified just ahead of Kanaan at 205.722 miles per hour. Kosuke Matsuura and Buddy Rice rounded out the top five with speeds of 205.629 miles per hour and 205.408 miles per hour, respectively, giving Honda a sweep of the top- five starting positions on the grid.

Saturday's race, which is the third of 16 races on the 2004 schedule, is slated to begin at 12:30 p.m., local time (Friday, 11:30 p.m., EDT) and will be televised live on ESPN2.

Tony Kanaan, #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone:

"This was a good effort for the whole Team 7-Eleven. We've been good in every session so far. The weather changed just a little bit and my car was a little bit loose for qualifying. But, we have a strong car for the race and that is what matters. This race means so much to Honda and all of us involved with the team. I'm concentrating on the race. I have a fast car and I want to lead the last lap."

Kim Green, President, Andretti Green Racing:

"You've got to be very aggressive with the setup in qualifying if you want to be up front. We were very aggressive and maybe even a bit too much. Tony had his hands full in Turn 3 for both laps. He actually did a heck of a job to get the speed out of it that he did. But, the input from Tony and the other teammates helped Dan, I think. Dan made a small adjustment before qualifying and it paid off for everybody at Andretti Green Racing."

- AGR -

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Tony Kanaan , Buddy Rice , Kim Green , Kosuke Matsuura , Jim Beam