IRL: Texas II: Toyota preview

Castroneves Looks To Tie Series Pole Record - Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Toyota) will attempt to tie an all-time IndyCar Series record by winning his fourth consecutive pole this weekend. If the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner can take the top...

Castroneves Looks To Tie Series Pole Record - Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Toyota) will attempt to tie an all-time IndyCar Series record by winning his fourth consecutive pole this weekend. If the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner can take the top spot in Friday's qualifying, he will tie the mark set by Billy Boat in 1998. Making Castroneves mark even more impressive is that all three of the poles won so far in his streak have come on different types of tracks. He earned the top spot on the 1-mile oval at Nazareth, the 1.5-mile track at Chicagoland and the 2.0-mile California Speedway.

Castroneves' pole run marks the second straight year that a Toyota driver has been in a position to tie Boat's record. A year ago, 2003 IndyCar champion Scott Dixon (Target Toyota) won three consecutive poles only to see his run for a record fall just short at Michigan where he qualified second to then-teammate Tomas Scheckter after winning poles at Richmond, Kansas and Nashville.

TOYOTA LOOKS FOR THIRD TEXAS VICTORY IN FOUR RACES - After a pair of victories in 2003, Toyota will be looking for its third win in four races at the Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday. Al Unser Jr. took a popular victory in his Kelley Racing Toyota last June, while Gil de Ferran won his final IndyCar Series race at Texas last October in his Marlboro Toyota for Penske Racing.

TOYOTA DRIVERS, TEAMS EXCEL AT TMS - Not only did Toyota-powered cars win both starts at Texas last year, but current Toyota-powered drivers or teams have won six of the last seven IndyCar Series races run at TMS and seven of the last nine.

No team has had more success here than Kelley Racing, which has won three Texas races in the last four years. Al Unser Jr. won last year, while Scott Sharp (Delphi Toyota) won on the 1.5-mile oval in both 2000 and 2001. Marlboro Team Penske won the fall race last year at Texas, while current team driver Sam Hornish Jr. (Marlboro Team Penske) won the Fall events on the way to his titles in 2001 and 2002.

MANNING OUT FOR TEXAS - Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Darren Manning will not compete in this weekend's IRL IndyCar series 2004 finale in Texas after consultation with the Indy Racing League's medical staff. Manning suffered a minor compression fracture of the sixth and seventh thorasic vertebrae during qualifying for the Toyota Indy 400. There are no plans to replace Manning for the Texas race.

INDY CARS PROVE TO BE A LUCKY CHARM FOR TOYOTA TRUCKS - This weekend's action at the Texas Motor Speedway will mark the season's final IRL IndyCar Series/NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series double-header of the season and it's likely that the Toyota Tundra drivers will be sorry to see the open-wheelers go. Toyota Tundras have won on each of the last two "double-header" weekends with Travis Kvapil winning the Saturday feature at Michigan, while Todd Bodine was victorious two weeks ago on the Toyota Indy 400 weekend at the California Speedway.

THREE TOYOTAS IN TOP-10 IN POINTS RACE - Heading into this weekend, three Toyota-powered drivers continue to rank in the top 10. Helio Castroneves (Marlboro Toyota) is in a hotly-contested battle for fourth through sixth, currently sitting in fifth, while his Marlboro Team Penske teammate Sam Hornish Jr. is seventh. Scott Dixon (Target Toyota) holds down the 10th spot heading into Texas, just one position ahead of teammate Darren Manning.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Todd Bodine , Tomas Scheckter , Darren Manning , Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Billy Boat , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr.
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Team Penske