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Firestone Indy 400 Race Report
 Date: July 28, 2003 11:05
 Submitted by:  Tuan
 Source: Honda Press Release
 Credibility Rating: N/A


Yasukawa Pads Rookie Points Lead at Michigan

With his seventh top-ten finish of the season, Roger Yasukawa led the Honda-powered field home Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, finishing eighth for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing at the Firestone Indy 400. Yasukawa briefly ran as high as fourth place as an eight-car pack battled for position in the closing laps, as Alex Barron narrowly edged Sam Hornish Jr. for the victory. Yasukawa now has a 44-point lead in the rookie ranks and is 11th in the overall points standings.

Despite going a lap down to the leaders just past mid-distance, Greg Ray persevered to a 10th-place finish for Access Motorsports. Other Honda-powered drivers had less luck today. Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan, the championship leader going into the race weekend, suffered mechanical problems that ended his run on Lap 160 and now trails Scott Dixon by a single point (318-317) in the standings.

Kenny Brack ground to a halt against the Turn One wall just after a restart on Lap 64, but the Team Rahal driver emerged unhurt from the crash. Kansas Speedway race winner Bryan Herta ran strongly in the opening laps before coming to a halt with a drained electrical system on Lap 37, while teammate Dan Wheldon's day ended very early with mechanical problems after just 19 laps.

After back-to-back races at Nashville and Michigan, the IndyCar series now takes a one-week break before resuming with three more events on successive weekends, starting at Gateway International Raceway outside of St. Louis August 9-10.

Roger Yasukawa (#55 Panasonic/Autobacs/Super Aguri Fernandez Racing Honda) started 12th, finished 8th: "The car ran great all day. Once again, I learned a lot about super speedway racing and running in the draft. It's all about the draft here. I think I became a little too greedy after the last caution. I pushed the car too hard on the high line and used up the right front tire trying to get to the front. That gave me a push [understeer]. I lost the draft of the lead group, so I settled for eighth. Overall though, it was another pretty good race for us."

Greg Ray (#13 Trim Spa/Access Motorsports Honda) started 7th, finished 10th: "The car was loose at the start. That made me a little cautious and so I lost the lead draft and went a lap down. We improved the car's handling at the pit stops, but I didn't have enough 'go' gears to run on my own. I was okay in the draft, but on my own I couldn't pull the amount of downforce we were carrying today. Once we were a lap down, we went out of sequence to try and get our lap back, but that didn't work either. Just a little bad luck for us today."

Tony Kanaan (#11 7-Eleven/Andretti Green Racing Honda) started 15th, finished 16th: "Well, I'm not sure what went wrong, but we suddenly lost a lot of speed. We tried to make the finish, but it wasn't to be. The whole team did a great job today, the car was good, the pit stops were quick and the Honda engine made a lot of power. We have time now to regroup and get ready for [the next race in] St. Louis. We need to focus not on what we lost today, but on what we can gain in the future."

Kenny Brack (#15 Pioneer/Team Rahal Honda) started 8th, finished 18th: "We had some kind of problem, for sure, but I don't really know what happened. We had just come off a pit stop under caution. I went into the first turn on a restart and the car just understeered right up into the wall."

Bryan Herta (#27 Archipelago/Motorola/Andretti Green Racing Honda) started 14th, finished 19th: "I don't know exactly what happened, but the battery suddenly lost all its voltage. The team changed batteries, but the exact thing happened again, so our day was done. I don't say this very often, but we had a car that could win today. I was easily running in the lead pack, and saving fuel at the same time. So I was really looking forward to fighting it out with these guys at the end, it just wasn't to be."

Dan Wheldon (#26 Jim Beam/Klein Tools/Andretti Green Racing Honda) started 13th, finished 20th: "I was shifting into second gear after I left the pits and the throttle stuck wide open and I had to ride the brakes to slow the car down on the yellow. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew did a good job for me today. I'm just sorry we couldn't have run more. I think we were in a strong position today and we were just seeing how the race would unfold."
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