IRL: Texas II: Honda Saturday report

Honda Drivers Ready for Final 2004 IRL Race Honda drivers and teams completed preparations Saturday for the 2004 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season finale at Texas Motor Speedway, running a pair of practice sessions prior to the start of...

Honda Drivers Ready for Final 2004 IRL Race

Honda drivers and teams completed preparations Saturday for the 2004 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series season finale at Texas Motor Speedway, running a pair of practice sessions prior to the start of Sunday's 200-lap contest on the high-banked 1.5-mile speedway.

Rahal Letterman Racing teammates Vitor Meira and Buddy Rice will lead the Honda-powered field to the starting line at 1 p.m. EDT, starting from the second row of the 21-car field. Honda, which has already clinched the 2004 Manufacturers' Championship, will be seeking its 15th consecutive race victory in Sunday's final IndyCar race of the season.

Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan clinched the drivers' championship earlier this month at California Speedway; and Super Aguri Fernandez Racing's Kosuke Matsuura holds a commanding lead in the contest for series Rookie of the Year honors. Ed Carpenter, his sole remaining rival, must win Sunday's race to have any hopes of claiming the rookie crown, and Matsuura need only finish 11th or higher to take the title, no matter where Carpenter finishes.

Andretti Green's Dario Franchitti, currently sixth in the series standings with two victories this season, sustained a fracture in his left foot as a result of crashing due to mechanical failure in the morning practice session. He is cleared to drive and is expected to start Sunday's race in his backup car, but must start from the rear of the field.

Tony Kanaan (#11 7-Eleven Andretti Green Racing Honda): 2004 IndyCar Series Champion, will start 8th: "I've spent all weekend working on my race setup. With the championship decided, I'm relaxed and enjoying my racing right now. I know that we have a great car for the race. Between the four of us [at Andretti Green Racing], the entire team looks pretty strong for Sunday's race. Dario [Franchitti] had a problem today, but he should bounce back tomorrow. I just really want to see my teammates, Dan [Wheldon] and Dario, finish second and fifth in the championship."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Buddy Rice , Kosuke Matsuura , Ed Carpenter , Vitor Meira