IRL: Motegi: Honda qualifying report

Honda Drivers Dominate Motegi Qualifying Honda drivers qualified first through fifth for Saturday's Bridgestone Indy Japan at Twin Ring Motegi, with Andretti Green Racing's Dan Wheldon leading the way for his second consecutive pole this season,...

Honda Drivers Dominate Motegi Qualifying

Honda drivers qualified first through fifth for Saturday's Bridgestone Indy Japan at Twin Ring Motegi, with Andretti Green Racing's Dan Wheldon leading the way for his second consecutive pole this season, and Access Motorsports owner/driver Greg Ray making it an all-Honda front row for the second consecutive Indy Racing League event of 2004.

After leading all three practice sessions prior to qualifying, IndyCar Series points leader Tony Kanaan will start third as the IRL IndyCar Series points leader seeks his second victory of 2004. The Brazilian started on the outside of the front row three weeks ago at Phoenix International Raceway and then went on to score his second consecutive win at the one-mile desert oval, matching the victory he earned in 2003.

Rookie Kosuke Matsuura placed himself on the second row of the 22-car starting field for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing, qualifying fourth, his best IndyCar qualifying effort to date, while Team Rahal's Buddy Rice rounds out the top five in Honda's best overall qualifying performance since joining the IRL in 2003.

Team Rahal newcomer Vitor Meira and Dario Franchitti, in a third Andretti Green Racing entry, gave Honda seven cars in the top 10 grid positions, followed by Bryan Herta in 11th and Roger Yasukawa, making this first IndyCar start of 2004, in 13th.

Dan Wheldon (#26 Jim Beam/Klein Tools Andretti Green Racing Honda) pole qualifier, second consecutive pole this season: "To be honest, I think I struggled a bit yesterday. So a lot of credit for our turn-around and today's pole goes to my engineer, Eddie Jones, my whole Andretti Green Racing team and to Honda. They're a fantastic engine manufacturer, not only in the IRL but everywhere they compete, from SuperCross to Formula One. Honda's dedication to winning is second to none, and I think that has a big impact on the success of their car sales as well."

Greg Ray (#13 Renovac Access Motorsports Honda) qualified second, his first front-row qualifying effort as an owner/driver: "This event marks the one-year anniversary of the debut of this team in the IRL, and another milestone for us. We knew that the wind conditions today would play a role in qualifying, and I think I might have left 'too much on the table' during my run, but it was still a good lap."

-honda-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Dario Franchitti , Tony Kanaan , Bryan Herta , Dan Wheldon , Roger Yasukawa , Buddy Rice , Kosuke Matsuura , Jim Beam , Vitor Meira