IRL: Indy 500: Roger Yasukawa rookie test notes

Yasukawa completes Indianapolis 500 rookie orientation. Rookie talent turns first laps at famed Brickyard. Indianapolis, Ind. (April 21, 2003) -- Roger Yasukawa joined six other rookie drivers at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today to complete the...

Yasukawa completes Indianapolis 500 rookie orientation.
Rookie talent turns first laps at famed Brickyard.

Indianapolis, Ind. (April 21, 2003) -- Roger Yasukawa joined six other rookie drivers at Indianapolis Motor Speedway today to complete the IRL IndyCar Series mandatory Rookie Orientation Program in preparation for the 87th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Yasukawa was required to complete four speed phases in the #55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone on the 2.5-mile oval. Cool temperatures relegated the speed segments to 2002 standards of 200 to 215 mph, with each phase increasing by five mph.

"Today went really well," said Yasukawa. "Obviously our aim was to get the rookie orientation done and for me to get used to the track. We were able to accomplish both of those and we had pretty good speed at the end of the day. I think there are a couple of more things that I need to do with my driving [style] but for me to be here for the first time at the Speedway, I am really happy with the overall outcome. It was very hard to imagine how it was going to be, and now that I have driven here I can go back tonight and think a lot more on what to try.

"Overall the track is definitely very challenging and very fast. Turn One is especially challenging because it is kind of blind when you turn in and you definitely have to know where you are going. As you go faster the car balance feels better, but then you don't have much of a margin of error so you have to be accurate as you go faster. That combination makes it very challenging for the driver and engineer. The team is doing a great job, and John [Dick, race engineer] and Tom [Anderson, managing director] both have great experience at this track. They are both definitely teaching me a lot."

Anderson celebrated his third Indianapolis 500 victory in 2000 with Juan Pablo Montoya, and one of the highlights of Dick's early open-wheel years was engineering Arie Luyendyk to victory in the 1990 Indianapolis 500. Dick engineered Alex Barron to a fourth-place finish last year.

"I am satisfied with the progress today," added Anderson. "We ran over 100 laps with a top speed of 222 mph. The weather was cold with the wind from the west so it was not ideal conditions by any means here in Indianapolis. I'm very pleased with John and Roger's working relationship. They are starting their learning curve of Indianapolis. Roger passed all four segments of his rookie test so he is cleared to participate starting on May 4."

Prior to opening day practice, Super Aguri Fernandez Racing will participate in the IndyCar Series Open Test at Nashville Speedway in Lebanon, Tennessee, on April 26.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Arie Luyendyk , Alex Barron , Roger Yasukawa