IRL: Richmond: Kosuke Matsuura preview

Matsuura Returns to Richmond Ready to Challenge After a three-month hiatus from short oval racing, the IndyCar Series prepares to contest the smallest circuit on its 17-race schedule this Saturday -- the .75-mile bullring of Richmond...

Matsuura Returns to Richmond Ready to Challenge

After a three-month hiatus from short oval racing, the IndyCar Series prepares to contest the smallest circuit on its 17-race schedule this Saturday -- the .75-mile bullring of Richmond International Raceway. Matsuura qualified 13th at the challenging Richmond oval last year, a victim of limited track time for his sixth career oval start due to inclement weather. Although he finished 14th after incurring a stop-and-go penalty which put him two laps down, Matsuura walked away with experience and a new appreciation for the nuances of short-oval racing. He heads into this weekend -- the second night race of the season -- with a shot of confidence after claiming his best finish to date this year in Texas on June 11. Matsuura will be looking to put past experience into play when the green flag waves for Saturday's 250-lap race.

* Will be preparing for his second start at Richmond and 23rd IndyCar Series career start

* Started 13th at Richmond last year and finished 14th

* Has made five career short-oval starts, claiming a best finish of 10th at Phoenix ('05) and Milwaukee

* Recorded his best finish to date this season of seventh in the last event at Texas

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

* Currently sits 12th in the championship standings, only 13 points out of the top 10

Kosuke Matsuura, #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz/Honda/Firestone: "I remember last year's race at Richmond as being pretty tough and stressful for me, but I am going back there with a lot more experience and I think I will enjoy the racing there much more. We had a good run in Texas and that gives us momentum heading into this weekend. I really want to win at least one race this year, and I feel confident that we have a very good chance this weekend. I am looking forward to the race."

KOSUKE MATSUURA FAST FACTS: Is in his second season of IndyCar Series competition-- earned 2004 Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors-- named 2004 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