IRL: Franchitti, Yasukawa wrap up testing in Fontana

Franchitti, Yasukawa happy with testing progress at California Speedway. FONTANA, Calif., Monday, Jan. 20, 2003 -- Andretti Green Racing driver Dario Franchitti and IndyCar Series rookie Roger Yasukawa completed two days of testing Jan. 17 at ...

Franchitti, Yasukawa happy with testing progress at California Speedway.

FONTANA, Calif., Monday, Jan. 20, 2003 -- Andretti Green Racing driver Dario Franchitti and IndyCar Series rookie Roger Yasukawa completed two days of testing Jan. 17 at California Speedway.

Yasukawa, 25, from nearby Los Angeles, completed nearly 320 miles on the 2-mile oval during the two days.

"This was my first time on a superspeedway, and it was pretty good, actually," Yasukawa said. "It is quite a bit different from the short ovals that I am used to. It's definitely a different game that you have to play with the car, together with the engineer. I think it went well considering it was my first time here with the car. I am reasonably happy with the two days."

Yasukawa, who drives the No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing, has experience in the Toyota Atlantic series and the Barber Dodge series. But those series do not require pit stops, and Yasukawa spent time in the test learning about something he will do three or four times during an IRL IndyCar Series event.

"My biggest challenge is going to be trying to have a perfect pit stop -- parking the car at the right place and all that is something that is very new to me," Yasukawa said. "The best thing about everything (in the test) was that I got experience on what pit stops are like and what I need to do, and I have a good picture of what you need to have for the race. I think that was the best part of it. I'm really happy with everything and looking forward to coming back here for the Open Test."

IRL IndyCar Series drivers will test Feb. 4 at California Speedway as part of the annual Test in the West Open Test.

Tom Anderson, team co-owner and managing director, also was pleased with Yasukawa's two days of testing.

"We still have an excellent reliability and durability record, so it has been a very productive two days at Fontana," Anderson said. "John (Dick, race engineer) and Roger had an opportunity to work through some suspension and aero combinations in order to have a reasonable baseline for our return here at the Test in the West. This has been a very productive, very informative test." Franchitti and Andretti Green Racing also concluded two days of testing of their Dallara/Honda/Firestone at California Speedway.

"Everything went well," Franchitti said. "We're working with a lot of different things on the car. It's still early in our testing program, but we are already seeing some progress. The IRL asked us to test a few different aerodynamic packages on Thursday, and I think the racing will be good fun if we can find the right combination."

Kyle Moyer, team manager for Andretti Green Racing, indicated the test at California was important since it was the first time the team had tested at a superspeedway.

"We are just trying to understand the car," Moyer said. "Testing at California Speedway is a lot different than Phoenix or Homestead. We worked on increasing our straight-line speed and reducing drag. All in all, the car is running well. We haven't had any major problems, and the weather has been just perfect for us."

The IndyCar Series season starts with the Toyota Indy 300 on March 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Toyota Indy 400 will take place Sept. 21 at California Speedway. Both races will be broadcast live on ABC and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network.

For ticket information for the season opener at Homestead, call (305) 230-RACE or visit www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com. For tickets to the California event, call (800) 944-7223 or visit www.californiaspeedway.com.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Roger Yasukawa , Tom Anderson