Portland: Roger Yasukawa preview


ROGER YASUKAWA, #9 Autobacs/u.s. print/Toyota/Swift
Atlantic Season: 1
Best Atlantic Start: 2 (Milwaukee)
Best Atlantic Finish: 1 (Milwaukee)
Points Standings: 3

Mr. Consistency: Yasukawa currently sits third in the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Series points standings, behind Michael Valiente a sophomore in the Atlantic series and John Fogarty, who joined the series this year from the Indy Lights series. Yasukawa joined Hylton Motorsports in March from the CART Barber Dodge Pro Series, and has finished in the top seven in every Atlantic event he has contested, including a his first victory at Milwaukee.

Rookie of the Year Chase: With one of the largest fields of rookie competitors in Atlantic history, Yasukawa is currently ranked second in the Rookie of the Year battle. He sits just behind Indy Lights graduate, John Fogarty. Although he started his season in Long Beach, missing round 1 of the Atlantic Championship in Monterrey, Mexico, Yasukawa has wasted no time scoring points. He finished seventh at Long Beach, he won the first oval event of the year two weeks ago in Milwaukee and followed that up with another podium finish last weekend when he finished third at Laguna Seca.

Success at PIR: Round 5 of the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship at Portland International Raceway will be the first time Hylton Motorsports has competed at the picturesque 1.969-mile permanent road course, but Yasukawa has fond memories of PIR, he ran strong here in 1999 while competing in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Yasukawa tested his Swift 014.a here last month and was very please with his results.

Team Member Spotlight: This week's spotlight focuses on Driver Coach, Derek Higgins. A native of Dublin, Ireland, Higgins is a 3 x Mexican F3 champion. He began his professional racing career in 1987 and has since won seven championships in wide variety of open wheel disciplines throughout the world.

Most recently, Higgins competed in the Indy Lights series where he won five races and finished fifth in the 1998 championship and seventh in the 1999 championship. Higgins competed in the Atlantic season opener this year; he qualified in the top five and finished in the top ten. Higgins' role with the defending champions includes on and off track coaching and race strategy.

Yasukawa on Portland International Raceway: "This is a very nice track, demanding to some extent. There are a series of high-speed corners and you've go to get the rhythm right. If you make even the slightest mistake on one corner, that is it, that lap is ruined, so it is a difficult place. The whole team has a lot of momentum and a lot of confidence. The last few weeks have been terrific and I look forward to continued results."


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Series Atlantic
Drivers Roger Yasukawa