Fontana: Hideo Fukuyama preview

STATESVILLE, N.C. (April 23, 2003) -- After bumping up his oval-driving experience through the ARCA RE/MAX series, Hideo Fukuyama will attempt to qualify the No. 66 Kikkoman Ford Taurus for Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Series Auto Club 500 event ...

STATESVILLE, N.C. (April 23, 2003) -- After bumping up his oval-driving experience through the ARCA RE/MAX series, Hideo Fukuyama will attempt to qualify the No. 66 Kikkoman Ford Taurus for Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup Series Auto Club 500 event at California Speedway. This will be Fukuyama's second attempt to qualify for a Winston Cup race since his 2003 debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March.

From The No. 66 Kikkoman Driver Hideo Fukuyama

You've had a chance to test on several oval tracks. You've also qualified and competed in an ARCA race. Do you feel more prepared to face the California Speedway?

"Every track has a unique feel to it, so it's a different experience every time. I have had a chance to run on some of the intermediate tracks now and I've gotten pretty used to them. Also, last year, the physical endurance it took to run an entire race was challenging for me. I've been working on that through physical training and feel more prepared in that aspect."

The team held a test session at California Speedway on April 15 and 16. What did you learn from the test?

"The test results weren't too bad, but I didn't run near as fast as the course record so I'm still concerned over whether I can qualify at the California Speedway. Every track is different, so I still need to master the unique parts of every track."

From The No. 66 Kikkoman Crew Chief Gary Cogswell

What do you think it will take for Hideo to qualify for the Auto Club 500?

"I was satisfied with the race set-up test results out there (at the California Speedway). After reviewing the qualifying practice times and talking with Hideo, I feel he has a good level of confidence that he can qualify. I do, too. We looked into the qualifying set-up of the car, found one problem, and addressed that. Hideo and I have also had good discussions about how he needs to approach qualifying at that track and I have confidence in him."

-cmg-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Hideo Fukuyama