IRL: Phoenix: SAFR, Kosuke Matsuura preview

Matsuura Looking to Rebound in Phoenix The 2005 IRL IndyCar® Series season did not begin the way Kosuke Matsuura had hoped. With under 50 laps remaining in the series opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Matsuura seemed primed for a top-five ...

Matsuura Looking to Rebound in Phoenix

The 2005 IRL IndyCar® Series season did not begin the way Kosuke Matsuura had hoped. With under 50 laps remaining in the series opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Matsuura seemed primed for a top-five finish. The 2004 Bombardier Rookie of the Year ran as high as third in the early stages of the race and felt he had a car to take him to the front in the closing laps. All hopes were dashed on a late-race restart when Matsuura, running in sixth-place, spun and triggered a major incident which collected seven of his fellow competitors.

Matsuura heads to Phoenix this week looking to start with a clean sheet of paper as the series prepares for the XM Satellite Radio Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway this Saturday. Matsuura, who will be making his 18th IndyCar Series start this weekend, turned his first-ever laps in an IndyCar Series car on the Phoenix oval just over 16 months ago.

* Will be making his second career start at Phoenix
* Finished 11th at Phoenix last year after qualifying 10th
* Recorded his best IndyCar Series finish to date of fourth at Kentucky
* Best qualifying effort was second at Michigan

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

"I have had a lot of time this past week to think about what happened in Homestead. I am sad for the other drivers that were involved and relieved that no one was seriously injured. I hope that Danica [Patrick] will be able to race this weekend. After what happened in Homestead, I am going to concentrate on driving clean and I will make sure that I don't make the same mistake.

"Phoenix is a short oval and very challenging. We had a good test last month even though our times didn't show it. We tried some different setups and put our attention on race preparations. I am confident that we will have a good car."

KOSUKE MATSUURA FAST FACTS: Enters his second season of IndyCar Series competition-- is the 2004 Bombardier Rookie of the Year-- also earned Bank One Rookie of the Year honors 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.

-www.superagurifernandezracing.net

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Kosuke Matsuura