Yasukawa ready to challenge at Phoenix. Successful test and race experience boosts rookie's confidence. The challenging one-mile oval at Phoenix International Raceway will host Round Two of the 2003 IndyCar Series this weekend, and Roger...
Yasukawa ready to challenge at Phoenix.
Successful test and race experience boosts rookie's confidence.
The challenging one-mile oval at Phoenix International Raceway will host Round Two of the 2003 IndyCar Series this weekend, and Roger Yasukawa is hoping the experience gained from his IRL debut in Homestead will lead to a top-10 finish. Yasukawa started 10th and finished 14th in the season-opener -- the longest race of his career to date. With 300 racing miles to his credit, the LA native is confident this seat time will help propel him to the next level in his learning curve.
Yasukawa's confidence heading into Phoenix is also encouraged by recent testing results. Super Aguri Fernandez Racing conducted a successful test at the desert track just outside of Phoenix during Test in the West activities in early February. Yasukawa, who currently leads the rookie point standings, was only three-tenths of a second off the fastest time of the outing posted by fellow Honda-powered driver Tony Kanaan.
Roger Yasukawa, Driver - #55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone:
"My goal for Phoenix is to finish in the top 10. That was my goal for the first race and we didn't accomplish it. It is the next realistic step. I think the biggest difference from Homestead to Phoenix is that I now know what to expect and, since I have a better picture, I am more prepared going into this second race. Certainly having a good car will be the biggest factor to finishing up front, and we have been working really hard on fine-tuning the car. I think Phoenix will be similar to Homestead where you need a very good car to finish up front.
"Our first race at Homestead was neither a good nor bad result. [Yasukawa started 10th and finished 14th.] Having finished the race is going to help a lot heading into Phoenix in that I know what it is going to take to make it to the end. On top of that, I learned a lot during the weekend in terms of preparing the car, and also myself as a driver -- what I need to do during practice, qualifying and the race. Since we have one race under our belt, I feel we will certainly be challenging for a higher position in this next one."
FAST FACTS: Will be making his second career IRL IndyCar Series start-- currently sits 14th in the championship with 16 points and leads Rookie of the Year standings-- began his career at the age of 12 in karts, competing in both the U.S. and Italy before moving up the racing ladder through Formula Vauxhall Junior and Formula Palmer Audi in England, and Formula Dodge competition in the United States-- entered the Barber Dodge Pro Series at the age of 21, earning Co-Rookie of the Year honors-- competed in the Atlantic series last year, claiming a win at Milwaukee and two additional podium finishes in a partial season of competition-- resides in West Hollywood, California.
For additional information on Super Aguri Fernandez Racing, visit www.superagurifernandezracing.net. Additional information on the IRL IndyCar Series can be found at www.indyracing.com.