IRL: Texas: Toyota preview

TOYOTA LOOKS FOR THIRD STRAIGHT TEXAS VICTORY After a pair of victories in 2003, Toyota will be looking for its third straight victory at the Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Al Unser Jr. took a popular victory in his Kelley Racing Toyota...

TOYOTA LOOKS FOR THIRD STRAIGHT TEXAS VICTORY After a pair of victories in 2003, Toyota will be looking for its third straight victory at the Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night. 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.

In addition to winning both races it has competed in at Texas, Toyota-powered cars swept the front row in qualifying for both events. It was a Target Chip Ganassi Racing qualifying sweep last June with Tomas and Scott Dixon taking the two spots. In October, de Ferran took the top spot with Dixon once again sitting on the outside of the first row.

NO LONE STAR HERE 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 the last six IndyCar Series races run at TMS and seven of the last eight.

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 here 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.

TOYOTA DRIVERS OCCUPY FIVE OF TOP NINE IN THE POINTS STANDINGS Five Toyota- powered drivers currently rank in the top 10 in the IRL IndyCar Series points standings heading into Texas. Helio Castroneves currently sits fourth, followed by reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon and his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Darren Manning in fifth and sixth, respectively. Tora Takagi and Sam Hornish, Jr. round out the Toyota contingent in eighth and ninth.

DOUBLE-DUTY AT TEXAS For the first time in Toyota history, the manufacturer will power entries in both the IRL and NASCAR in the same weekend. Seven Toyota-powered starters are expected at both the IndyCar Series event on Saturday, as well as in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Friday evening.

TEXAS MEANS TOYOTA TRUCKS Friday night's race will mark Toyota's first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event in Texas, an event that gains significance as Toyota begins preparation to open its new truck plant in San Antonio in early 2006. This weekend's "double" will be the first of five events this season that the IndyCar Series will run in conjunction with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

"Quotes"

Jim Aust, Toyota vice president of motorsports: "We had our shots, but didn't get it done at Indianapolis. I expect Texas to be just as difficult. The competition in this series is enormous. We have a lot of challenges in front of us and everyone at TRD is working hard to address those challenges."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Darren Manning , Al Unser Jr. , Scott Sharp , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Scott Dixon , Tora Takagi , Chip Ganassi , Sam Hornish Jr. , Sam Hornis
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Team Penske