IRL: Motegi: Kosuke Matsuura preview

Matsuura Heads Home for Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 When asked about his goals in racing, Kosuke Matsuura offers no hesitation: "To win the Indy 500 and Indy Japan." Matsuura will have his shot at the latter this week when the IRL IndyCar®...

Matsuura Heads Home for Bridgestone Indy Japan 300

When asked about his goals in racing, Kosuke Matsuura offers no hesitation: "To win the Indy 500 and Indy Japan." Matsuura will have his shot at the latter this week when the IRL IndyCar® Series heads to Japan for the Bridgestone Indy^Ù Japan 300. Matsuura made his IndyCar Series debut in his homeland race last year, claiming a second row starting position in only his third IRL start and an eighth-place finish.

As the only Japanese-born driver currently competing in the series, Matsuura relishes the strong showing of support from his countrymen. He arrived in Japan on April 15 to begin a two-week campaign of appearances, promotions and press conferences leading up to Saturday's event.

Matsuura's momentum is running high after an impressive showing in the most recent IndyCar Series race in St. Petersburg. Matsuura qualified seventh and saw a top-five finish fall from his grasp with only five laps to go when his gearbox failed.

* Qualified fourth and finished eighth in Japan last year

* Currently sits 13th in the championship standings, only six points outside the top 10

* Claimed best starting position to date this season of seventh in St. Petersburg

* Posted best finish to date this season of 10th at Phoenix

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

"I am very excited for the Indy Japan 300. Both the St. Petersburg and Phoenix races give me a lot of confidence for this weekend. It would have been great to have held on and finished the last race in the top five, but at least we know that we were right there and that we are competitive.

"Obviously, this race is a really big event for me. It is my home race and I have a lot of family, friends and fans that will be at the track cheering for me. My schedule is very tight through race day but I am making time to work out and keep in the best possible shape for this weekend. I am focusing on showing the best performance I can at Motegi, and, hopefully, I can win this race."

KOSUKE MATSUURA FAST FACTS: Will be making his 20th IndyCar Series career start-- is in his second season of IndyCar Series competition-- earned 2004 Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors-- named Bank One Rookie of the Year at the Indianapolis 500-- 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.

-safr-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Kosuke Matsuura