IRL: Motegi: Honda Saturday report

Rain washes out qualifying at Motegi. Tony Kanaan will start Sunday's Indy Japan 300 from the outside of the front row as rain washed out qualifying and IRL IndyCar Series officials elected to set the 24-car starting field based on combined ...

Rain washes out qualifying at Motegi.

Tony Kanaan will start Sunday's Indy Japan 300 from the outside of the front row as rain washed out qualifying and IRL IndyCar Series officials elected to set the 24-car starting field based on combined practice session times.

Kanaan was quickest in Saturday's morning practice, but that effort fell just shy of Scott Dixon's top time from Friday. It marked the first time in the three race old season that the Andretti Green Racing driver has not started from the point. The 28-year-old Brazilian earned the pole at both the season-opening race in Homestead, Florida and at last month's round in Phoenix, Arizona.

Dan Wheldon made one of the biggest jumps up the time sheet, improving from 12th to fifth, just ahead of Team Rahal's Kenny Brack. With Dario Franchitti sidelined by a back injury following a motorcycle accident last week, Wheldon is making his first race-weekend appearance for Andretti Green this weekend. Michael Andretti will make his penultimate race start from the outside of the fifth row. The veteran American racer has announced he will retire following this year's Indianapolis 500 to concentrate on his new team ownership duties.

A minor mechanical problem sidelined Greg Ray early in practice, dropping him to 23rd on the time sheets, while Shinji Nakano, making his first IRL start with Greg Beck Motorsports, will start 21st. Despite the rain today, the weather report for Sunday's 300-mile race is encouraging, with clear skies and temperatures in the 60s in the forecast.

Tony Kanaan (#11 7-Eleven Andretti Green Racing Honda) Phoenix race winner, will start second : "It's a shame we didn't get to qualify today, but a third consecutive front-row start is not so bad at all. We'll try and get a win tomorrow. Scott [Dixon] and I, we've been hooked up all weekend, so it should be a good fight."

-honda racing-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Greg Ray , Michael Andretti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Shinji Nakano , Kenny Brack , Dan Wheldon