Darren Manning: No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda/Firestone * Darren Manning on Twin Ring Motegi: "You have a fast corner in one and two which you can run flat and a slow corner in three and four so the track is a combination of downforce and ...
Darren Manning: No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda/Firestone
* Darren Manning on Twin Ring Motegi: "You have a fast corner in one and two which you can run flat and a slow corner in three and four so the track is a combination of downforce and handling which makes it very interesting. I like this track a lot."
* Manning on Japan: "I spent a lot of time here in '99 when I ran the All Japan F-3 Series. They still remember me. I love the people and I love the food. I usually come back here at least once a year to race something." Manning won the All Japan F-3 championship in 1999, winning six consecutive races.
* Past IndyCar races in Japan: Manning has competed twice at Twin Ring Motegi. In his initial visit, he qualified 10th and finished fourth, his career best finish to date. In 2005, "we were running fourth again when I ran out gas. We finished eighth."
* A.J. Foyt spent his first night ever in Tokyo since he began coming to Japan in 2003. Usually going straight from the Narita airport to the Motegi track, Foyt came in a day early to attend a Honda-hosted reception for the owners and drivers at the Westin hotel in Tokyo. "I was amazed at the size of Tokyo," said Foyt. "It's about four times the size of Houston. I knew it was a big city but I had no idea it was that big! I couldn't believe how many skyscrapers they had and how close together the buildings are. I really enjoyed my visit there, I wish I could have stayed a little longer. My wife Lucy came to Tokyo about 16 years ago when I owned a Honda dealership and she was very impressed. Now I know why."
* Tetsuo Kuramochi, the young Japanese law student who befriended the Foyt team during their initial visit to Japan in 2003, will make his fifth straight IndyCar race, dating back to last year. However, Kuramochi will be commuting from his home in Utsonomiya. Kuramochi worked with the team for the final two events of last year and flew over in March to work both the Miami and St. Petersburg events. It was his first trip to Florida. Last May he celebrated his 20th birthday on pole day in Indianapolis. "It rained but it was the best birthday of my life," said Kuramochi. "A.J. gave me a great present--letting me join his team at Indy. I really appreciated that and I thank him very much from my heart."
* Last Race: Manning competed in the Indy car race through the streets of St. Petersburg for the first time since 2005. He qualified fifth and was running in the top four (and as high as third) for most of the race until he spun on lap 72 while battling with Tony Kanaan. Manning restarted but had lost a lap before corner workers pushed him off. He placed 13th.
* The Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 will be broadcast on tape delay on ESPN April 21, Saturday at 12:00 noon eastern time.