IRL: Yasukawa, Honda to DRR 2005 campaign

Roger Yasukawa and Honda Performance Development are giving one of the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series most long-lived teams a new lease on life.

Dreyer & Reinbold Racing have signed Yasukawa to drive their #24 Dallara/Honda/Firestone challenger for the 17-race 2005 campaign, the team announced today.

Roger Yasukawa with his dog Pete.
Photo by Earl Ma.

"We're excited to welcome Roger to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing," team co- owner Dennis Reinbold declared. "He's a proven competitor with Honda power, and our team is eager to get onto the racetrack. Our new relationship with Honda provides additional motivation for the team, and we have high expectations for 2005."

Los Angeles-based Yasukawa drove for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing is his - and the team's - first season in the IRL, 2003, and nearly copped Bombardier Rookie of the Year before Dan Wheldon came on strong in the latter stages of the season.

The package Yasukawa ran then will be his equipment for this campaign, albeit with changes mandated by the League and the necessary kits for three street and road courses on tap for the first time in the Indy Racing League's ten-year history.

Last year Yasukawa competed twice for Rahal Letterman Racing using a Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone set-up, earning 11th place at Twin Ring Motegi and tenth in the 88th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race with sponsorship from Sammy, part of the Sega gaming network of companies.

"I'd like to thank DRR and their sponsors, as well as Honda, for giving me the opportunity to be back in the IRL," said Yasukawa. "I'm excited to work with the crew and the whole team. Although I ran an abbreviated season this year, it's been a great previous experience and I am very confident that we'll do well at Dreyer & Reinbold."

Robbie Buhl, who gave up his seat and began spotting for last year's driver Felipe Giaffone explained the change of pilots on the team: "Roger has solid experience and has proven he can run with the leaders. I also look forward to his hospital visits with me on behalf of 'Racing for Kids' and to the sponsor relationships we'll be able to extend."

Dreyer & Reinbold continues a partnership with Racing for Kids( and longtime sponsor Sanofi Aventis and its legacy companies. Benson Ford Jr. continues to support the team and Roll Coater joined its list of affiliates.

The team signed Len Paskus as lead engineer for the 2005 season; his previous IRL experience came with Red Bull Cheever Racing, Pagan Racing, ISM, Blueprint and Heritage Motorsports.

DRR received their first Dallara road course kit just before the New Year and is prepping for the IRL's first open test on both the Homestead-Miami Speedway road course and oval circuits later this month.