IRL: Indy 500: Kosuke Matsuura preview

Matsuura: 2004 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Ready for Return Kosuke Matsuura made a strong impression in his maiden visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last season, hovering near the top of the practice speed charts throughout the month of...

Matsuura: 2004 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Ready for Return

Kosuke Matsuura made a strong impression in his maiden visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last season, hovering near the top of the practice speed charts throughout the month of May then securing a third-row starting position and an 11th-place finish in his Indianapolis 500 debut. Matsuura's performance led the rookie class in both qualifying and finishing results, earning him both Bank One Rookie of the Year and American Dairy Association of Indiana Fastest Rookie of the Year honors.

Matsuura is ready to pick up where he left off when the IRL IndyCar Series returns to the famed Brickyard this week in preparation for the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500. Matsuura, who resides in Indianapolis, is full of confidence heading into his adopted 'home' race. While unable to capitalize on strong runs in the first four IndyCar Series events held to date, Matsuura is ready to turn the tables on his 2005 season and aim for one of his lifelong dreams -- victory in the Indianapolis 500.

At-A-Glance

* Will be preparing for his second Indianapolis 500 start

* Qualified ninth and finished 11th last year -- the highest qualifying and finishing positions among the eight rookie challengers

* Named Bank One Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year

* Earned American Dairy Association of Indiana Fastest Rookie of the Year honors

* Claimed his best finish to date this season of ninth at the last race held in Japan

* Posted best qualifying effort to date this season of seventh in St. Petersburg

Kosuke Matsuura, #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz/Honda/Firestone:

"Although I have a good car and a team behind me to be able to race at the front, I haven't been able to get a top finish since the beginning of the season for one reason or another. Both Adrian [Fernandez] and I were very strong throughout the month of May last year, and I am hoping to turn my season around here. A few things didn't go our way during the race in Japan, but my car was really good, especially the last two stints, and I have a lot of confidence going into this month. Like a lot of drivers, I had a nice dream of winning the Indy 500. I will do my best to make that dream come true."

KOSUKE MATSUURA FAST FACTS: Will be making his 21st IndyCar Series career start-- is in his second season of IndyCar Series competition-- earned 2004 Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors-- recorded his IndyCar Series career-best finish of fourth at Kentucky Speedway last season, and claimed his career-best starting position of second at Michigan-- 25 years old from Aichi, Japan-- finished third in the 2003 Formula Renault V6 Eurocup Championship with three wins and eight podiums-- finished second in German F3 competition in 2002 with two wins and six pole positions-- won the 2000 Japanese Formula Dream Championship with six wins and eight pole positions-- currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.

-www.superagurifernandezracing.net

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Kosuke Matsuura