IRL: St. Pete: Kosuke Matsuura preview

Matsuura Ready to Put Road Racing Skills on Display at Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Kosuke Matsuura returns to his racing roots this weekend as the IndyCar Series prepares for its first road/street course event of 2006 -- the Honda Grand...

Matsuura Ready to Put Road Racing Skills on Display at Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Kosuke Matsuura returns to his racing roots this weekend as the IndyCar Series prepares for its first road/street course event of 2006 -- the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Matsuura displayed his road racing prowess last season, capturing sixth-place finishes at Infineon and Watkins Glen. At St. Petersburg, Lady Luck was not on his side as he retired from the race with gearbox problems while running in fifth place with only five laps to go.

Matsuura enters the weekend with a sixth-place ranking in the point standings following a strong run aboard the #55 Panasonic Dallara/Honda/Firestone in the season-opening race at Homestead-Miami Speedway last Sunday. He is looking to carry that momentum to the challenging 14-turn, 1.8-mile circuit in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg.

Kosuke Matsuura -- St. Petersburg Statistics:

* Will be making his second IndyCar Series career start at St. Petersburg

* Qualified seventh for the race last year

* Finished 13th after retiring from the race from a gearbox problem while running fifth with five laps to go

* Claimed sixth-place finishes in the other two non-oval events at Infineon and Watkins Glen

* Currently sits sixth in the point standings

Kosuke Matsuura, #55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "Last weekend, we had a good start to our season with me finishing sixth and Scott [Sharp] seventh at Homestead. It was a great result for both teams. I am really looking forward to the race this weekend. I enjoyed the St. Petersburg circuit last year. I was having a really good race and running in fifth place when I unfortunately had a gearbox problem with five laps to go. I feel confident we can finish at the front this weekend."

KOSUKE MATSUURA FAST FACTS: Enters his third season of IndyCar Series competition, and will be making his 35 th career IRL start this Sunday... finished 14th in the 2005 IndyCar Series championship after a season plagued by misfortune including eight DNF's (did not finish) in 17 starts... ended season with seven top-10 finishes... recorded IndyCar Series career-best results at Kentucky with a fourth-place finish and Michigan with a second-place starting position in 2004... earned 2004 Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors... named 2004 Bank One Rookie of the Year at the Indianapolis 500... 26 years old from Aichi, Japan... finished third in the 2003 Formula Renault V6 Eurocup Championship with three wins and eight podiums... finished second in German F3 competition in 2002 with two wins and six pole positions... won the 2000 Japanese Formula Dream Championship with six wins and eight pole positions... currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.

-safr

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Kosuke Matsuura