Indy Racing League Weekly Teleconference Transcript April 6, 2004 Scott Sharp, Vitor Meira and Roger Yasukawa Roger Yasukawa transcript MODERATOR: Absolutely. We'll be back with Roger Yasukawa in just a moment. We appreciate very much you ...
Indy Racing League
Weekly Teleconference Transcript
April 6, 2004
Scott Sharp, Vitor Meira and Roger Yasukawa
Roger Yasukawa transcript
MODERATOR: Absolutely. We'll be back with Roger Yasukawa in just a moment. We appreciate very much you joining us today. I would just like to point it out that it is, what? 4:40 in the morning in Japan.
ROGER YASUKAWA: Correct.
MODERATOR: So thanks very much for joining us today.
ROGER YASUKAWA: Not a problem. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Roger Yasukawa is with us now and he ran all 16 races last year in the IndyCar Series and finished runner-up in the Bombardier Rookie of the Year honors. We asked the same question to Vitor, Roger, who joined us just a few moments ago, but can you talk about how your deal came together with the Rahal team?
ROGER YASUKAWA: Yes, well it was basically I got a deal together, I think it was mid- January, after they decided that (Super Aguri Fernandez Racing) were going to run with Kosuke (Matsuura). Obviously I was looking at alternate options and was able to put the deal together. And at this point it's only for two races but we're still working on the rest of the season, and obviously depending upon the race results, I think that we should be able to continue after that.
Q: We have seen a lot of you in 2004, but not in a race car. Has it been driving you crazy not to be in one at Homestead and Phoenix?
ROGER YASUKAWA: Yes, absolutely. I mean as a driver's standpoint it's always hard to be at the track not in the cockpit, instead just out there watching the cars going round and round.
Q: You enter the 2004 season really as a wily veteran with 16 races under your belt. Can you tell us about that Rookie of the Year battle down the stretch with Dan Wheldon.
ROGER YASUKAWA: I think last year I missed the Rookie of the Year just by a little bit. And I think that overall there was a lot of learning to do. And my main goal was to win the Rookie of the Year, which I wasn't able to do so. And I think Dan did a very good job last year on that. Having said that, I think that out of all that happened last year, you know, there's a lot that I learned. I hope to use all my knowledge that I learned last year and try to get a good result this year.
Q: Last year in Japan you had a bit of a tough go of it by finishing 21st after an accident on lap 45, but obviously you enjoy that track, you enjoy being in Japan. Are you well received by the fans in Japan?
ROGER YASUKAWA: Yeah, I guess I am. Last year we had a bit of an unfortunate race. I actually crashed out of it in the early part of the race. And this year hopefully I'll finish well. And just speaking in general I think there's going to be more fans this year at the race weekend and I am really looking forward to going to Motegi.
MODERATOR: Very good. Let's go ahead and open it up to questions for Roger.
Q: Roger, good morning to you. I know you had a test last week at Phoenix International Raceway. How did that go?
ROGER YASUKAWA: Good morning. The test actually went really well. We ran the whole day without any problems. Which I think is very rare on the first day of the testing. And I think we're pretty much ready to race at Motegi.
Q: Last year you used a Dallara Honda, this year in a Panoz G Force Honda, is there a big difference between the two chassis?
ROGER YASUKAWA: Well, they're for sure different. I think that there are good parts to both of them. And maybe a little bit different parts. I think Dallara always gave you more security and I think G Force is a little, it gives you a different sensation when you are driving it. But having said that, I think when I tested at Phoenix it was really warm and due to the different down force regulations from last year, it is really hard to compare the two together.
Q: Well, what are you doing in Japan now? Are you making appearances with Sammy or is there something else?
ROGER YASUKAWA: Well, right now I'm back here obviously we have a lot of promotion with Sammy and also with Motegi, going into the race weekend. So quite busy doing all the promotional work and doing the training, etcetera, etcetera.
Q: Roger, how long have you been over in Japan? When did you get over there?
ROGER YASUKAWA: Last Saturday. So I guess four or five days now.
Q: Can you tell us some folks in the United States who aren't familiar with that sponsorship on the side of your car, what is the Sammy on the side of the car?
ROGER YASUKAWA: Right. Sammy is actually the manufacturer of pachinko machines and slot machines which is a fairly big market in Japan. I'm not sure if you guys are all aware of pachinko, it's basically sort of like a pinball game. But it's a form of gambling. And within the pinball they have some kind of theme, some kind of actual sort of like a video game as well. And while you play pinball you have another game playing together. It's really big in Japan. Pachinko is probably, I would say, 20 percent of their business and most of their business is slot machines. In Japan, which is similar to the pachinko stuff.
MODERATOR: Very good. Roger, we appreciate so much you getting up so early in the morning and I trust you're going to go back to bed after this.
ROGER YASUKAWA: Thank you very much. Yes, I will go back to the bed pretty soon.
MODERATOR: Very good we will see you next week at Twin Ring Motegi. Thanks again for joining us today.