Barber Dodge grad Yasukawa makes IRL debut Roger Yasukawa, the 1999 Barber Dodge Pro Series Rookie of the Year, will make his first IndyCar start this weekend at the Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Super Aguri Fernandez Racing. The...
Barber Dodge grad Yasukawa makes IRL debut
Roger Yasukawa, the 1999 Barber Dodge Pro Series Rookie of the Year, will make his first IndyCar start this weekend at the Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Super Aguri Fernandez Racing. The young Los Angeles resident finished fourth in the Barber Dodge Pro Series Championship in 2001, taking a win in Vacouver before moving up the Champ Car Ladder into Atlantics with Hylton Motorsports for the 2002 season.
Yasukawa took his first win in Atlantics in just his second start in the category, on the oval at Milwaukee. After shadowing teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, who made his first Champ Car start last weekend in St. Petersburg, fell afoul of mechanical problems, Yasukawa cruised to the checkered flag. Yasukawa, who only ran a select schedule of races in Atlantic competition last season, still scored two podium finishes during the season in addition to his win, with a second place at Chicago as well as third at Laguna Seca, and score top ten finishes at Long Beach, Road America, and Portland as well.
The young racer, who is said to approach each race and each session with a calm, analytical mindset, is looking forward to making his first start against racers such as Michael Andretti, Gil De Ferran, and Tony Kanaan.
I am feeling pretty comfortable in the car, said Yasukawa. We have had a great off-season, with nearly ten days of testing, which is a lot more than what I had before I started in Atlantics last season. Its been really encouraging how few problems we have encountered, and even more so how quickly things get addressed when we come up on an issue.
When asked about what his concerns are about the weekend, Yasukawa thinks that the only thing he will feel to be a real learning experience will be the pit stops.
The big thing is going to be the racing itself, and the pit stops, which I never did in Barber Dodge or Atlantics, but I have a great crew, and so hopefully it wont be that big of a deal.
Yasukawa is an active supporter of the Barber Dodge Pro Series, and participates as a coach for up and coming racer Sinji Kashima of Japan, who scored his first points in the Pro Series last weekend at St. Petersburg.