Matsuura 2004 IRL Rookie of the Year Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah] clinched the IRL IndyCarÂ® Series' Bombardier Rookie of the Year title this afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway. Matsuura, who led the rookie points battle since the start...
Matsuura 2004 IRL Rookie of the Year
Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah] clinched the IRL IndyCar® Series' Bombardier Rookie of the Year title this afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway. Matsuura, who led the rookie points battle since the start of the season, entered the Chevy 500 race weekend with a 35-point lead over Ed Carpenter. Matsuura also claimed Bank One Rookie of the Year honors at the Indianapolis 500. He scored his season-best finish of fourth at Kentucky Speedway, and ended the year 14th in the championship standings.
Matsuura started 12th for the Chevy 500, the IndyCar Series season finale. Unfortunately, he saw his strong run come to an early end, retiring from the race on Lap 59 with a gearbox problem.
Kosuke Matsuura, #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:
"I am very disappointed about the race, but very happy about Rookie of the Year. My car was really good today and very fast. After 20 laps, I had a problem with the gears. I think the gear selector was broken and I couldn't go from sixth to fifth gear. After I came in for our first pit stop, I couldn't put second gear. It was stuck in first gear. It was disappointing, but the car was really good. The last two races for us were not good, but we found something for the car and this is very good for next year.
"I am pleased and very happy to earn Rookie of the Year. It is very special to me. This was my first year to race on the ovals, and so many people helped me with my learning curve. I think we showed several times this year that we have a lot of potential. Unfortunately, we also had some bad luck as well. The team has always been there for me, and I would to thank them very much. I want to say a special thanks to Adrian, Aguri and Tom and also to Panasonic, Autobacs and Honda."
FAST FACTS: This was his 16th IRL IndyCar Series start-- recorded his career-best finish of fourth at Kentucky Speedway-- recorded his career-best starting position of second at Michigan-- 25 years old from Aichi, Japan-- began his career in karts at the age of 14-- finished third in the 2003 Formula Renault V6 Eurocup-- finished second in the 2002 German Formula 3 Championship-- won the 2000 Japanese Formula Dream Series Championship before heading to Europe in 2001 to compete in German F3-- has been a member of Co-Owner Aguri Suzuki's ARTA (Autobacs Racing Team Aguri) driver development project since 1998 after climbing up the Japanese karting ranks--currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Tom Anderson, Managing Director:
"For the #55 Panasonic team, Kosuke had his game face on and we were having a good run today. We had a good weekend. We started a little bit off but JD [John Dick, race engineer/technical director] and the engineers had the Panasonic car in a good, competitive position today. Unfortunately, the transmission broke and ended what should have been a very good result for Kosuke. We will carry on over the winter and work on reliability and other things as we move into '05. We want to congratulate Kosuke on the Rookie of the Year award. We also want to give a special thanks to Honda for their manufacturer's championship and the tremendous season that they have had this year. And a special thanks as well to Firestone who have had an incredibly safe season and another season with perfect tires."