IRL: Motegi: Scott Sharp preview

Sharp Aiming to be Series' First Repeat Winner in Motegi The IRL IndyCar® Series will be making its annual international excursion this week to the state-of-the-art Twin Ring Motegi facility for the Bridgestone Indy^Ù Japan 300. Scott Sharp...

Sharp Aiming to be Series' First Repeat Winner in Motegi

The IRL IndyCar® Series will be making its annual international excursion this week to the state-of-the-art Twin Ring Motegi facility for the Bridgestone Indy^Ù Japan 300. Scott Sharp won the inaugural IndyCar Series race on the 1.5-mile oval in 2003, marking his eighth victory in the series, and finished ninth last year - one of his best results in a difficult 2004 season.

Located 60 miles northeast of Tokyo in Tochigi Prefecture, Twin Ring Motegi not only holds fond memories for Sharp, but it is also where he hopes to turn his season around. A victim of two accidents not of his making in the three races held to date -- Homestead-Miami Speedway while running seventh and St. Petersburg while running sixth -- Sharp hopes his "wrong place, wrong time" cloud has finally lifted.

* Won the inaugural Indy Japan 300 in 2003

* Started 12th and finished ninth in Japan last year

* Currently sits 12th in the championship standings, only two points outside the top 10

* Claimed best result to date this season of fifth in Phoenix

* Posted best qualifying effort to date this season of sixth at Homestead

Scott Sharp, #8 Delphi Panoz/Honda/Firestone:

"I'm extremely excited to go to Japan and to race in Motegi. Not until you travel there do you fully realize the Japanese impact on the IndyCar Series as well as the interest that the series generates with the Japanese fans. They are some of our most enthusiastic and supportive followers. The Motegi race is one of the most important for our team. Delphi has large operations in the Pacific Rim, Futaba is a Japanese corporation and, of course, it is very special to race for Honda at their home circuit.

"I immediately felt comfortable with my first few laps at Motegi and, together with winning in 2003, the track is high on my list of favorites. The team has been very strong and I'm looking forward to challenging for the race win. Motegi starts a number of special races where I expect the Delphi Fernandez team to be very competitive and help us climb the championship points ladder. It was a shame that we were taken out in Homestead and St. Pete when we were just trying to finish and get good points. It's hard not to think that we're going to want those 20 or 25 points at the end of the year, but I am confident that we are going to make up some ground starting this weekend."

SCOTT SHARP FAST FACTS: Enters his 10th season of IndyCar Series competition-- is the series' most experienced driver with 101 career starts and a record 93 consecutive starts-- ranked second in IndyCar Series career wins-- career record includes eight wins, five pole positions and 28 top-five finishes-- was the 1996 IndyCar Series co-champion and the 2001 Indianapolis 500 MBNA Pole winner-- is a former two-time SCCA Trans-Am Champion and three-time SCCA National Champion-- 37 years old from Norwalk, Connecticut-- currently resides in Jupiter, Florida.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp