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[PROFILE] Roger Yasukawa - CART Driver

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  • madchinaman
    Hanging With Right Crowd Rookie Yasukawa of Ontario finds himself in very fast company during practice for Sunday s IRL race at Fontana. By Mike Kupper, Times
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 20, 2003
      Hanging With Right Crowd
      Rookie Yasukawa of Ontario finds himself in very fast company during
      practice for Sunday's IRL race at Fontana.
      By Mike Kupper, Times Staff Writer
      http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-motors20sep20,1,1795847.story

      Tony Kanaan, in the thick of a five-way battle for the Indy Racing
      League championship, was fastest in practice Friday for Sunday's
      Toyota Indy 400 at California Speedway, and three of the four other
      contenders were close behind.

      Between him and them, though, ran — surprise! — Ontario native Roger
      Yasukawa, a rookie who has never finished in the top five.

      On a hot, wind-gusting day in Fontana, Kanaan, third in the
      standings, only 14 points behind leader Helio Castroneves, turned a
      fast lap of 224.833 mph around the 2-mile D-shaped oval in his
      Andretti Green Dallara-Honda.

      Just off that pace, in the Dallara-Honda he drives for Super Aguri
      Fernandez Racing, Yasukawa ran at 224.629.

      Although he has no shot at the title — he's 184 points out of first
      place — Yasukawa is a leading candidate for rookie of the year. As
      such, he vowed not to back down Sunday if he found himself running
      with the title seekers, who have the race here, then the finale next
      month at Texas Motor Speedway.

      "You've got to go into any race thinking you're going to win,"
      Yasukawa said. "When you're racing, you've got to be fair and race
      clean with everyone. That doesn't mean that if I'm leading, I'm
      going to let everyone else go by me just because they're fighting
      for the championship.

      "We've been very strong on the superspeedways lately, and for me,
      winning the rookie-of-the-year title is going to be the biggest
      thing."

      Scott Dixon, second in the standings, was third-fastest at 224.405
      in Chip Ganassi's G Force-Toyota; Castroneves was next at 224.324 in
      Roger Penske's Dallara-Toyota, followed by Sam Hornish Jr. at
      224.321 in his Panther Racing Dallara-Chevrolet.

      Hornish, who jumped 40 points in the standings by winning two weeks
      ago at Joliet, Ill., ranks fifth, 24 points behind Castroneves.

      Only Gil de Ferran, fourth among the top five, was out of the 224-
      mph range, and he had at least a partial excuse: a switch in cars.

      De Ferran, Castroneves' Penske teammate, ran the first two races
      this season in a Dallara chassis. He switched to a G Force at
      Indianapolis and won the 500, stayed in the car for a June race at
      Fort Worth, then was back in the Dallara for the next nine events.
      Here, he's running the G Force again.

      "We've been working on the race setup all day," he said.

      Qualifying for Sunday's race will start at 11 today and, with the
      same kind of weather expected, could yield some more surprises.

      Kanaan, though, said qualifying here was not nearly as crucial as at
      some other tracks, since the track is fast and wide enough for pack
      racing.

      "It doesn't matter where you qualify," he said. "This is going to be
      a tight race. It doesn't matter where you start. Concentrate on race
      setup and see what happens on Sunday. I'm not even worried about
      [today] and qualifying at all. I just want to be up front,
      obviously, to try and stay out of trouble."

      Unable to avoid trouble Friday was Valencia driver Bryan Herta,
      Kanaan's teammate. Herta's Dallara-Honda hit the outside wall in
      Turn 2 during the first practice session. He escaped injury, but the
      car was damaged in the rear. "It was a difficult day for us all
      around," Herta said.


      ================


      Roger Yasukawa (R)
      Born: 10/10/1977
      Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
      Resides: West Hollywood, Calif.
      Primary Sponsor: Panasonic ARTA
      Primary Series: IRL
      Team: Super Aguri Fernandez Racing
      Chassis: Dallara
      Engine: Honda
      http://cbs.sportsline.com/autoracing/drivers/driverpage/390210

      =============

      http://www.toyotaatlantic.com/Driver.asp?ID=363
      Birth date 10 OCT 77
      Birth place Los Angeles, California
      Residence Santa Monica, California
      Personal: Speaks Japanese, English, and Italian. Father, Minoru,
      works for Mclaren Marketing.

      Experience
      2002 Results - Start/Finish

      Monterrey, Mexico, DNE; Long Beach 12/7

      Previous Racing History

      2001- Finished 4th in the Barber Dodge Pro Series capturing four
      podium finishes along with a victory in Vancouver.

      2000- Had eight top-10 finishes in the Barber Dodge Pro Series.
      Finished 7th in the overall Championship.

      1999- Barber Dodge Pro Series Rookie of the Year.

      1998- Won 10 out of 11 races in the Formula Dodge Western Series.
      Won Championship. Barber Dodge Rio Big Scholarship Finalist.

      1996- Won Championship in the Centro Italiano Assistenza Karting
      Series.

      1995- Centro Italiano Assistenza Karting Series - Fifth in
      Championship.

      1993- Junior World Karting Championship Finalist.

      1992- Internatinal Karting Federation Region 7 Karting Series Runner-
      Up.

      1991- Junior California State Karting Champion.

      =============

      http://www.hondaracing.com/drivers/drivers.html?driver=yasukawa
      Birthdate: October 10, 1977
      Birthplace: Los Angeles, CA
      Resides: West Hollywood, CA
      Height/Weight: 5'7", 155 lbs.
      Personal: Single
      Interests: Soccer, traveling, fitness training


      After a standout rookie season
      After a standout rookie season of Atlantic competition in 2002, 25-
      year-old Roger Yasukawa moves up to IndyCar competition this year as
      the Honda-powered driver for Super Aguri Fernandez Racing.

      Yasukawa captured a win and three podium finishes in just nine
      Atlantic starts last season, ending up 10th in the final points
      standings. He starred in the two oval races on the schedule,
      finishing second at Chicago Motor Speedway and winning on the
      historic Milwaukee Mile.

      Prior to Atlantics, the California-born driver finished fourth in
      the Barber Dodge Pro Series in 2001, and was series co-Rookie of the
      Year in 1999. Yasukawa also won the Formula Dodge Western series in
      1998, with 10 victories in the 11-race series.

      Like many of today's drivers, Yasukawa started in karts at age 14
      and was a Junior World Karting Championship finalist by 1993. He
      also lived and raced in Italy for three seasons, winning the Centro
      Italiano Assistenza karting title in 1996.


      ==========


      INTERVIEW:
      http://www.crash.net/uk/en/feature_view.asp?cid=12&fid=2782


      "I would say my idol was and probably still is Michael Andretti. I
      think it is an honour for me to be able to race with him now, and
      hopefully I could be running up front more often and be able to
      battle with Michael before his retirement comes after the Indy
      500." - Roger Yasukawa

      K. Johnson: Joining us today we will be two members of the Super
      Aguri Fernandez Racing Team, they being IndyCar Series driver Roger
      Yasukawa and managing director Tom Anderson.

      A little background, Super Aguri Fernandez Racing is a new entry in
      the Indy Racing League this season, formed in December of 2002 by
      Fernandez Racing ex-Formula One driver Aguri Suzuki and the Super
      Aguri Company. Their driver, Roger Yasukawa, is in his rookie season
      in the IndyCar Series. He drives the No. 55 Panasonic ARTA
      Dallara/Honda/Firestone and is currently the IndyCar Series'
      Bombardier Rookie of the Year points leader.

      Born in Los Angeles, Yasukawa grew up around the world of racing.
      His father, Minoru, works in the industry, initially for the Leyton
      House Formula One team and is currently employed by the West McLaren
      Mercedes F1 Team.

      Tom Anderson's career in motorsports spans more than 30 years and
      includes three Indianapolis 500 victories. He began his career as a
      mechanic with McLaren Cars and his first exposure to Indy-style
      racing came in 1980 as a member of Pennzoil/Chaparral Racing Team
      that won both the CART title as well as the Indianapolis 500 with
      driver Johnny Rutherford.

      Anderson then teamed with driver Adrian Fernandez to form Fernandez
      Racing in 2000 and recently, in December of 2002, Fernandez Racing
      teamed up with ex Formula One driver Aguri Suzuki and the Super
      Aguri Company to form Super Aguri Fernandez Racing. Roger, Tom,
      welcome and thanks for joining us today.

      T. Anderson: Thank you very much, Kent.

      K. Johnson: I want to point out to our listeners online that Roger
      is in Japan where he has been since this past weekend and he has
      rearranged his schedule, literally, to be with us. It is just a
      little after 2 a.m. overseas right now, so treat him with kid gloves
      as we go. Roger, let's open with a comment from you. In the
      preseason testing, you proved to be very fast, and in our most
      recent event, the Purex Dial Indy 200 at Phoenix, you led five laps.
      Looking at your season through two races how would you assess how it
      has gone thus far?

      R. Yasukawa: I certainly think that the season is going pretty good
      for me. I have come into the big series now, the IndyCar Series, and
      it is definitely a very tough series with great drivers out there
      and the team is doing a fantastic job to help me, and I think the
      program has gone well. We have proved to be quick, and I think now
      that we need to prove that we can finish upfront and hopefully we
      could do that at the next race in Motegi.

      K. Johnson: As a follow-up, you worked your way to the IndyCar
      Series by competing in the Formula Dodge, Barber Dodge and then the
      Toyota Atlantic series. How has that background helped prepare you
      for the oval track racing that you are experiencing now?

      R. Yasukawa: It certainly has prepared me well, I think, coming into
      the series this season. Having said that, I think the car is
      different, and the team is different, and there is a lot more people
      involved. But I think the basic still remains the same, especially
      the driving aspect of it. So when I got to this series, I still had
      a lot to learn, and I think I still do. But I think I have got the
      basics well enough that it did not make it that tough for me to
      learn things. And again, the team is doing a lot to help me out. So
      once everything goes together I think things are going as what we
      expected.

      K. Johnson: And a follow-up question, Roger, part of team owner
      Aguri Suzuki's relationship with the team is through the Autobacs
      Racing Team Aguri Project, otherwise known as ARTA. What can you
      tell us about your involvement in this project?

      R. Yasukawa: Actually, this is my second year with the Autobacs
      Racing Team Aguri Project. The project basically is sort of like a
      scholarship program, and Aguri has the. he has tons of drivers
      actually in Japan, also in Europe, and basically he makes efforts
      for a lot of drivers in different kind of series and it is certainly
      the biggest racing team project in Japan. And I think Mr. Aguri
      Suzuki is contributing a lot to the Japanese motorsport. And I think
      for me to be part of it, especially the IndyCar Series, I hope that
      it will give a lot more attention to the people in Japan to look to
      the IndyCar Series and American motorsports in general.

      K. Johnson: Tom, let's get a comment from you right now. From your
      position as managing director, how have you seen this team, which is
      new to the IndyCar Series, progress thus far this season?

      T. Anderson: Well, I am very pleased with our progress. Basically
      the bulk of this team was a carryover from the CART team that ran
      Shinji Nakano starting in the year 2000 or sorry, 2001-2002.

      And basically we moved over with Honda to the IRL series. And, I
      think probably the biggest credibility I could give to somebody on
      the team right now is that this year we acquired the services of
      John Dick, our race engineer, and of course he was with Blair Racing
      last year in the Indy Racing League, and they finished, I think it
      was, fifth in the series with Alex Barron. And so to capitalize on
      John's experience, he has been a tremendous asset to our team.

      K. Johnson: A follow-up for you, Tom. You have an extensive
      background in international racing and obviously with the Fernandez
      Racing team's background in CART, international events are nothing
      new for the team. What can you tell us about some of the challenges
      which the team has to tackle in preparation for an international
      event?

      T. Anderson: Well, I mean, basically you are right, Kent. I mean,
      from the CART standpoint we have been doing this for over 10 years,
      and we have been to Motegi, I think this will be our sixth trip to
      Motegi. It depends a little bit on which country you are going to.
      Going to Japan for us is a treat because it is Honda's home turf.

      The development of Honda engines down in Tochigi, Japan, is just not
      too far down the road from Motegi. So we are entertained and taken
      care of quite well there. From the team standpoint, basically since
      the transporters do not go, you unload and put into pack horses or
      whatever type of carriers that you have, you put about 8,000 pounds
      worth of equipment, your two chassis and get them covered up and
      basically you need a box truck to get the boxes from your facility
      to the airport.

      I believe we are loading at Evergreen Aviation here in Indianapolis
      today. So manifest, regular international manifest that anybody that
      has shipped equipment abroad understands, brokerage services and
      most of that is handled by the Indy Racing League, so it is pretty
      easy on that standpoint for us. It is just a matter of making sure
      that your manifest list matches what is inside your cargo
      containers.

      K. Johnson: But a very involved process nonetheless. At this time I
      would like to go ahead and open the forum to the media who have
      questions. Also, since we have two guests with us today, please
      indicate which person your question is for. We do a complete
      transcript of the call. It will be sent to you tomorrow to your
      email or fax machines. Now let's open the forum for questions.

      Q: Roger, two questions for you. One, how are you feeling after your
      hard hit at PIR? And two, is there any significance to the No. 55 on
      your car?

      R. Yasukawa: The answer to the first question, I am feeling
      perfectly fine right now. After that hit I was released from the
      hospital, and I came back to Japan a day after that, and I am back
      to my regular training regimen, so I should be perfectly fine for
      Motegi. Second answer about the No. 55, I think one of the main
      reasons we have No. 55 is because that is the number Mr. Aguri
      Suzuki ran in Formula 3000 championship when he won it. I think that
      was more than 10 years ago in Japan. But it turned out to be a bit
      of coincidence in that the major league baseball player, Matsui, who
      went to New York Yankees this season, and he also has the No. 55. So
      I do not know if that was one of the reasons, but I understand that
      No. 55 came from Aguri Suzuki.

      Q: Have you been cleared to drive?

      R. Yasukawa: No, I have not. I should be cleared before Motegi when
      I see Dr. Bock when he gets to Japan.

      Q: Thank you.

      R. Yasukawa: Thank you.

      Q: This is for Mr. Anderson. How did your group happen to come to
      the IRL? Was there a reason or was it more Honda or could you
      elaborate on that?

      T. Anderson: Definitely, Honda and economics of the times. I think
      that in the current environment in motor racing today that once you
      have developed a long, good working history with an engine
      manufacturer you want to try to maintain that relationship. And that
      was basically the thoughts that Adrian and I had myself. With a
      previous employer I have been with Honda since 1996, and Adrian has
      been with a former team with Honda before, and we have quite a good
      relationship there, and it was something that we wanted to continue
      and to build on.

      Q: How do you see your chances in the IRL this year?

      T. Anderson: I am very much more optimistic than I was when I
      started the season because John Dick and Roger have put a lot
      together here in a very short time. And quite frankly, Roger has a
      little more talent than I thought he had, so he is doing an
      exceptionally good job. And I tell you what, I think we are going to
      surprise some people this year.

      Q: Hi, Roger. Have you been to Japan many times or how often have
      you visited Japan?

      R. Yasukawa: I have actually . well, I do come to Japan a lot
      because my parents, or actually my whole family, is based in Japan,
      and most of my sponsors are from Japan, as well. Therefore, I do
      come here every year and maybe work into the season or before start
      of the season. So I think nothing new to me actually. I also live in
      Japan. I also lived in Japan when I went to elementary school
      between the age of 6 and 12.

      Q: And I know you grew up around Formula One with your father. Why
      are you in an American series?

      R. Yasukawa: That is mostly because I was born in the U.S.A. and I
      spent pretty much most of my life there. And I have been watching
      the American series more than European series, in general. And I
      think this way of lifestyle and racing style in the Americas is
      better than in Europe. And I think that was probably the biggest
      reason that I decided to be in the IndyCar Series rather than
      anything in Europe.

      Q: One other question. Have you followed some of the Japanese
      drivers like Hiro (Matsushita) and so forth that participated in
      Indy-style racing when you were younger?

      R. Yasukawa: Absolutely. Obviously, at the time I was still young so
      I was watching TV. But I do know Mr. and Mrs. Matsushita personally,
      and at the same time I am a good friend with Tora (Takagi) and
      Shigeaki (Hattori), who are actually racing in our series.

      Q: Tom, with your experience at Motegi, does that give you a little
      bit of an advantage?

      T. Anderson: I do not really think so because we are going there
      obviously with a new car, which is quite a bit different than the
      CART cars that I have been there with before. We all know that
      Panther Racing ran a test over there last year with last year's car,
      and I do not even really think that gives them much of an advantage
      going back in. I think coming in with the new cars and new
      equipment, I think everybody is going to be basing it basically on
      their simulation programs and the information that they have been
      able to get from the Motegi racetrack and from Firestone.

      Q: A question of Roger. You have talked about your family's
      heritage, also you have that Honda power plant in your car. Does the
      upcoming Indy Japan 300 hold special relevance to you? And also, you
      have been in the country now for going on a week. What kind of
      promotional schedule have you had to juggle around since you have
      been over there?

      R. Yasukawa: Well, first of all, the race in Japan will be one of
      the biggest, I guess, together with the Indy 500. It will be one of
      the important races for us because, obviously my parents being
      Japanese and I think the whole team with Mr. Aguri Suzuki being
      involved, I think will be very important for us. And we certainly
      have a lot of people coming to it, so we have always been looking
      forward to this race, and hopefully we can finish up front of the
      crowds here and together with that we are starting to do a lot of
      promotional work for most of the sponsors.

      And just recently I was at the headquarters of Honda Motor Company
      doing a talk show and autograph session. This weekend we will start
      Indy Week at Motegi, and that will consist with a lot of talk shows,
      autograph session and time trials, and I am sure there is going to
      be a lot of people coming to that event and keeping me busy.

      Q: I have the first one for Roger and then for Tom. Roger, as you
      look at the season so far and what you have been able to do with the
      car, I know you probably laid out some learning curve objectives.
      Where are you with, if you did lay those out, where are you on your
      learning curve objectives say between the scale of 1 and 10?

      R. Yasukawa: Good question. I think there is still a lot to learn
      from my perspective. But I think we are six or seven already. There
      is so much to reach the pinpoint, but we have just with given the
      amount of time, I think we have gone to somewhere that we are
      already competitive. The rest of let's say three or four is pretty
      much just experience for me to be able to run up front and finish up
      front for the long races.

      Q: Are you surprised that you are competitive already?

      R. Yasukawa: Not really. I think coming into it a driver always has
      to expect that you are going to do well. It is just a matter of
      preparing yourself and making sure everything gets by. And I think,
      again, the team has helped me a lot in that perspective with Tommy's
      experience and John Dick's experience. I think that made my learning
      curve go much quicker. And I think, obviously, the team is young, as
      well. But there are a lot of people, there are a lot of experienced
      people within the team that has been helping me out so much that I
      think. Hopefully it is not going to be too long to reach the
      winner's circle.

      Q: And Tom, what has surprised you about Roger?

      T. Anderson: I think that he has a tremendous amount of three things
      which I consider to be important for racecar drivers. I mean,
      obviously he has the natural talent. There are a lot of things that
      he can do, like just go out and go consistent. I mean, whatever
      speed you tell him to do, just go out and hold that speed, he can do
      it. That is a natural feeling, and he has that. The other thing is
      that he has a mechanical understanding of the car. How the sway bars
      work, what the weight jacker does. And he is able to use in the
      third trait, which is the extra or what I call extra mental
      capacity. He is not using all of his mental capacity just to go
      fast. He is going fast, and then he is thinking about the mechanical
      part of the car. So he is able to help himself, as well. And anytime
      that I have found a driver that has all three of those traits it is
      not too long before they are in the winner's circle.

      Q: In some respects, brainpower-wise, he still has some throttle
      left, huh?

      T. Anderson: I think so. I mean he is able to handle a car that is
      fairly neutral, come in, discuss it quite calmly with John and
      decide on a situation on how they want to attempt to fix the problem
      and go forward. I am really amazed. I really am. The kid has a lot
      of talent.

      Q: Roger, when you were growing up and driving in karts and so forth
      in America and over in Italy, did you have any idols and who were
      the young guys you competed with then that are up in the big time
      now?

      R. Yasukawa: I would say my idol was and probably still is Michael
      Andretti. I think it is an honour for me to be able to race with him
      now, and hopefully I could be running up front more often and be
      able to battle with Michael before his retirement comes after the
      Indy 500.

      In terms of competing against other drivers in karting, I raced
      against Buddy Rice in go-karts. We were where we had the same engine
      builder, which was George Mack's father, who was building engines
      for us. So I knew him from a while ago. I also was in the same team
      with Alex Barron, who was spotting for me for the first two rounds,
      and we spend a lot of time together. So I know him quite well, as
      well.

      Q: You obviously have a strong Japanese heritage and with Tora and
      Shiggy and Shinji (Nakano) all being Japanese citizens, going into
      this event, is there more pressure on you and the other three
      Japanese drivers knowing that obviously the bulk of the crowd that
      will be there are going to be focusing, I would assume most of what
      they are there for, on watching you guys succeed? Does it place more
      pressure on you, for example, as opposed to going into a place like
      Phoenix?

      R. Yasukawa: Yes, certainly. I do not look at it as pressure so
      much. I mean, yes, it certainly is a pressure when you have a lot of
      people cheering for you. But more so I am looking at it as an
      advantage because I have a lot of people cheering for me, and there
      will certainly be a lot of people cheering for our team and
      especially, hopefully, for me being the Honda driver there. But I am
      looking forward to it. I think it is only times that we only come to
      Japan once, and it is the first time that the IndyCar Series is
      going to come to Japan. So I am actually anxious to see how much
      crowd we are going to have there, and hopefully it will be a good
      weekend for us.

      Q: Give us an idea, if you could, having spent the amount of time
      that you did with your dad while you were growing up in Japan while
      he was working with Formula One, how are or are Japanese fans
      different from American fans in the way they do or attend
      motorsports events?

      R. Yasukawa: That is a good question. I do not think there is a big
      difference from the fans in the U.S.A. and fans in Japan, except
      they only get to see the race occasionally. Well, especially like
      the Formula One series and the IndyCar Series, they only go to Japan
      once. So they are certainly excited for it, excited to see the race
      and the teams and the drivers. I do not think there is a big
      difference, but I think the enthusiasm here in Japan is quite big
      for the IndyCar Series. So I am sure a lot of people are excited to
      see the whole race.

      Q: Roger, this question is for you. How would you describe your
      style of driving or your style of racing? How does it appear to you?

      R. Yasukawa: Right. Well, I think I have always said, let's see,
      strong and smooth, I guess. I think I am always a ''thinking'' type
      of person. And I think my driving style in general always has been
      smooth. Not too aggressive but aggressive when I need to.

      Q: Tom, a follow-up with a question for you here. We have talked a
      lot about this being Honda's turf, and you obviously have a Japanese-
      American driver. Are there any added pressures to perform well at
      this one particular race?

      T. Anderson: Well, there is quite a bit from Honda because Honda has
      not won at their home track yet. There is always big pressure at
      Motegi when you are powered by Honda. There is also additional
      pressure. Panasonic, our major sponsor, has quite a big presence
      there, as well. And of course, everyone knows that Bridgestone, who
      is in conjunction, or the father of Firestone now, is just down the
      road, as well. So there is quite a big influence there for us. It
      will be a good tune-up for operating under pressure before we get to
      the Indy 500 over here, as we all know creates pressure within
      itself.

      Q: And looking closer at your team, you actually have a crewmember,
      Steve Ragan, who began his motorsports career in Japan and speaks
      fluent Japanese. Has his background been a benefit to you and the
      team as you prepare for this race?

      T. Anderson: It makes going to Japan obviously easier when you have
      people that speak the foreign language to us where you go. It makes
      things quite easy. We also have another mechanic on the team,
      Tomihiro Takase, who did quite a bit of his early career in Japan
      with Aguri Suzuki, with Roger, Madoka Yamaguchi, who is our PR
      person, with Steve and with Tommy, there are five fluent Japanese-
      speaking personnel on the team.

      Q: For either one of you, now that Alex Barron has a real job coming
      up next weekend, who is going to be spotting for Roger?

      T. Anderson: It is me.

      Q: You are?

      T. Anderson: I am.

      Q: Oh, so you are going to have to be up top there?

      T. Anderson: Yes, but I am one-for-one up there. I have only spotted
      one time before, but it was for Jimmy Vasser in 1996 at Homestead,
      and we won.

      Q: Oh, well that is a good luck charm, huh?

      T. Anderson: We will take it.

      Q: I hope so. Good luck on that. Thank you.

      T. Anderson: Thank you.

      K. Johnson: Well gentlemen, we certainly appreciate the both of you
      joining us today, and we wish you each the best of luck on April
      13th at Motegi.

      T. Anderson: Thank you very much. Appreciate it, Kent.

      K. Johnson: Thanks, Tom. Good luck, Roger.

      R. Yasukawa: Thanks.

      =======

      INTERVIEW:
      http://uk.sports.yahoo.com/030912/230/e88oe.html

      K. Johnson: Joining us today we will be two members of the Super
      Aguri Fernandez Racing Team, they being IndyCar Series driver Roger
      Yasukawa and managing director Tom Anderson.

      A little background, Super Aguri Fernandez Racing is a new entry in
      the Indy Racing League this season, formed in December of 2002 by
      Fernandez Racing ex-Formula One driver Aguri Suzuki and the Super
      Aguri Company. Their driver, Roger Yasukawa, is in his rookie season
      in the IndyCar Series. He drives the No. 55 Panasonic ARTA
      Dallara/Honda/Firestone and is currently the IndyCar Series'
      Bombardier Rookie of the Year points leader.

      Born in Los Angeles, Yasukawa grew up around the world of racing.
      His father, Minoru, works in the industry, initially for the Leyton
      House Formula One team and is currently employed by the West McLaren
      Mercedes F1 Team.

      Tom Anderson's career in motorsports spans more than 30 years and
      includes three Indianapolis 500 victories. He began his career as a
      mechanic with McLaren Cars and his first exposure to Indy-style
      racing came in 1980 as a member of Pennzoil/Chaparral Racing Team
      that won both the CART title as well as the Indianapolis 500 with
      driver Johnny Rutherford.

      Anderson then teamed with driver Adrian Fernandez to form Fernandez
      Racing in 2000 and recently, in December of 2002, Fernandez Racing
      teamed up with ex Formula One driver Aguri Suzuki and the Super
      Aguri Company to form Super Aguri Fernandez Racing. Roger, Tom,
      welcome and thanks for joining us today.

      T. Anderson: Thank you very much, Kent.

      K. Johnson: I want to point out to our listeners online that Roger
      is in Japan where he has been since this past weekend and he has
      rearranged his schedule, literally, to be with us. It is just a
      little after 2 a.m. overseas right now, so treat him with kid gloves
      as we go. Roger, let's open with a comment from you. In the
      preseason testing, you proved to be very fast, and in our most
      recent event, the Purex Dial Indy 200 at Phoenix, you led five laps.
      Looking at your season through two races how would you assess how it
      has gone thus far?

      R. Yasukawa: I certainly think that the season is going pretty good
      for me. I have come into the big series now, the IndyCar Series, and
      it is definitely a very tough series with great drivers out there
      and the team is doing a fantastic job to help me, and I think the
      program has gone well. We have proved to be quick, and I think now
      that we need to prove that we can finish upfront and hopefully we
      could do that at the next race in Motegi.

      K. Johnson: As a follow-up, you worked your way to the IndyCar
      Series by competing in the Formula Dodge, Barber Dodge and then the
      Toyota Atlantic series. How has that background helped prepare you
      for the oval track racing that you are experiencing now?

      R. Yasukawa: It certainly has prepared me well, I think, coming into
      the series this season. Having said that, I think the car is
      different, and the team is different, and there is a lot more people
      involved. But I think the basic still remains the same, especially
      the driving aspect of it. So when I got to this series, I still had
      a lot to learn, and I think I still do. But I think I have got the
      basics well enough that it did not make it that tough for me to
      learn things. And again, the team is doing a lot to help me out. So
      once everything goes together I think things are going as what we
      expected.

      K. Johnson: And a follow-up question, Roger, part of team owner
      Aguri Suzuki's relationship with the team is through the Autobacs
      Racing Team Aguri Project, otherwise known as ARTA. What can you
      tell us about your involvement in this project?

      R. Yasukawa: Actually, this is my second year with the Autobacs
      Racing Team Aguri Project. The project basically is sort of like a
      scholarship program, and Aguri has the. he has tons of drivers
      actually in Japan, also in Europe, and basically he makes efforts
      for a lot of drivers in different kind of series and it is certainly
      the biggest racing team project in Japan. And I think Mr. Aguri
      Suzuki is contributing a lot to the Japanese motorsport. And I think
      for me to be part of it, especially the IndyCar Series, I hope that
      it will give a lot more attention to the people in Japan to look to
      the IndyCar Series and American motorsports in general.

      K. Johnson: Tom, let's get a comment from you right now. From your
      position as managing director, how have you seen this team, which is
      new to the IndyCar Series, progress thus far this season?

      T. Anderson: Well, I am very pleased with our progress. Basically
      the bulk of this team was a carryover from the CART team that ran
      Shinji Nakano starting in the year 2000 or sorry, 2001-2002.

      And basically we moved over with Honda to the IRL series. And, I
      think probably the biggest credibility I could give to somebody on
      the team right now is that this year we acquired the services of
      John Dick, our race engineer, and of course he was with Blair Racing
      last year in the Indy Racing League, and they finished, I think it
      was, fifth in the series with Alex Barron. And so to capitalize on
      John's experience, he has been a tremendous asset to our team.

      K. Johnson: A follow-up for you, Tom. You have an extensive
      background in international racing and obviously with the Fernandez
      Racing team's background in CART, international events are nothing
      new for the team. What can you tell us about some of the challenges
      which the team has to tackle in preparation for an international
      event?

      T. Anderson: Well, I mean, basically you are right, Kent. I mean,
      from the CART standpoint we have been doing this for over 10 years,
      and we have been to Motegi, I think this will be our sixth trip to
      Motegi. It depends a little bit on which country you are going to.
      Going to Japan for us is a treat because it is Honda's home turf.

      The development of Honda engines down in Tochigi, Japan, is just not
      too far down the road from Motegi. So we are entertained and taken
      care of quite well there. From the team standpoint, basically since
      the transporters do not go, you unload and put into pack horses or
      whatever type of carriers that you have, you put about 8,000 pounds
      worth of equipment, your two chassis and get them covered up and
      basically you need a box truck to get the boxes from your facility
      to the airport.

      I believe we are loading at Evergreen Aviation here in Indianapolis
      today. So manifest, regular international manifest that anybody that
      has shipped equipment abroad understands, brokerage services and
      most of that is handled by the Indy Racing League, so it is pretty
      easy on that standpoint for us. It is just a matter of making sure
      that your manifest list matches what is inside your cargo
      containers.

      K. Johnson: But a very involved process nonetheless. At this time I
      would like to go ahead and open the forum to the media who have
      questions. Also, since we have two guests with us today, please
      indicate which person your question is for. We do a complete
      transcript of the call. It will be sent to you tomorrow to your
      email or fax machines. Now let's open the forum for questions.

      Q: Roger, two questions for you. One, how are you feeling after your
      hard hit at PIR? And two, is there any significance to the No. 55 on
      your car?

      R. Yasukawa: The answer to the first question, I am feeling
      perfectly fine right now. After that hit I was released from the
      hospital, and I came back to Japan a day after that, and I am back
      to my regular training regimen, so I should be perfectly fine for
      Motegi. Second answer about the No. 55, I think one of the main
      reasons we have No. 55 is because that is the number Mr. Aguri
      Suzuki ran in Formula 3000 championship when he won it. I think that
      was more than 10 years ago in Japan. But it turned out to be a bit
      of coincidence in that the major league baseball player, Matsui, who
      went to New York Yankees this season, and he also has the No. 55. So
      I do not know if that was one of the reasons, but I understand that
      No. 55 came from Aguri Suzuki.

      Q: Have you been cleared to drive?

      R. Yasukawa: No, I have not. I should be cleared before Motegi when
      I see Dr. Bock when he gets to Japan.

      Q: Thank you.

      R. Yasukawa: Thank you.

      Q: This is for Mr. Anderson. How did your group happen to come to
      the IRL? Was there a reason or was it more Honda or could you
      elaborate on that?

      T. Anderson: Definitely, Honda and economics of the times. I think
      that in the current environment in motor racing today that once you
      have developed a long, good working history with an engine
      manufacturer you want to try to maintain that relationship. And that
      was basically the thoughts that Adrian and I had myself. With a
      previous employer I have been with Honda since 1996, and Adrian has
      been with a former team with Honda before, and we have quite a good
      relationship there, and it was something that we wanted to continue
      and to build on.

      Q: How do you see your chances in the IRL this year?

      T. Anderson: I am very much more optimistic than I was when I
      started the season because John Dick and Roger have put a lot
      together here in a very short time. And quite frankly, Roger has a
      little more talent than I thought he had, so he is doing an
      exceptionally good job. And I tell you what, I think we are going to
      surprise some people this year.

      Q: Hi, Roger. Have you been to Japan many times or how often have
      you visited Japan?

      R. Yasukawa: I have actually . well, I do come to Japan a lot
      because my parents, or actually my whole family, is based in Japan,
      and most of my sponsors are from Japan, as well. Therefore, I do
      come here every year and maybe work into the season or before start
      of the season. So I think nothing new to me actually. I also live in
      Japan. I also lived in Japan when I went to elementary school
      between the age of 6 and 12.

      Q: And I know you grew up around Formula One with your father. Why
      are you in an American series?

      R. Yasukawa: That is mostly because I was born in the U.S.A. and I
      spent pretty much most of my life there. And I have been watching
      the American series more than European series, in general. And I
      think this way of lifestyle and racing style in the Americas is
      better than in Europe. And I think that was probably the biggest
      reason that I decided to be in the IndyCar Series rather than
      anything in Europe.

      Q: One other question. Have you followed some of the Japanese
      drivers like Hiro (Matsushita) and so forth that participated in
      Indy-style racing when you were younger?

      R. Yasukawa: Absolutely. Obviously, at the time I was still young so
      I was watching TV. But I do know Mr. and Mrs. Matsushita personally,
      and at the same time I am a good friend with Tora (Takagi) and
      Shigeaki (Hattori), who are actually racing in our series.

      Q: Tom, with your experience at Motegi, does that give you a little
      bit of an advantage?

      T. Anderson: I do not really think so because we are going there
      obviously with a new car, which is quite a bit different than the
      CART cars that I have been there with before. We all know that
      Panther Racing ran a test over there last year with last year's car,
      and I do not even really think that gives them much of an advantage
      going back in. I think coming in with the new cars and new
      equipment, I think everybody is going to be basing it basically on
      their simulation programs and the information that they have been
      able to get from the Motegi racetrack and from Firestone.

      Q: A question of Roger. You have talked about your family's
      heritage, also you have that Honda power plant in your car. Does the
      upcoming Indy Japan 300 hold special relevance to you? And also, you
      have been in the country now for going on a week. What kind of
      promotional schedule have you had to juggle around since you have
      been over there?

      R. Yasukawa: Well, first of all, the race in Japan will be one of
      the biggest, I guess, together with the Indy 500. It will be one of
      the important races for us because, obviously my parents being
      Japanese and I think the whole team with Mr. Aguri Suzuki being
      involved, I think will be very important for us. And we certainly
      have a lot of people coming to it, so we have always been looking
      forward to this race, and hopefully we can finish up front of the
      crowds here and together with that we are starting to do a lot of
      promotional work for most of the sponsors.

      And just recently I was at the headquarters of Honda Motor Company
      doing a talk show and autograph session. This weekend we will start
      Indy Week at Motegi, and that will consist with a lot of talk shows,
      autograph session and time trials, and I am sure there is going to
      be a lot of people coming to that event and keeping me busy.

      Q: I have the first one for Roger and then for Tom. Roger, as you
      look at the season so far and what you have been able to do with the
      car, I know you probably laid out some learning curve objectives.
      Where are you with, if you did lay those out, where are you on your
      learning curve objectives say between the scale of 1 and 10?

      R. Yasukawa: Good question. I think there is still a lot to learn
      from my perspective. But I think we are six or seven already. There
      is so much to reach the pinpoint, but we have just with given the
      amount of time, I think we have gone to somewhere that we are
      already competitive. The rest of let's say three or four is pretty
      much just experience for me to be able to run up front and finish up
      front for the long races.

      Q: Are you surprised that you are competitive already?

      R. Yasukawa: Not really. I think coming into it a driver always has
      to expect that you are going to do well. It is just a matter of
      preparing yourself and making sure everything gets by. And I think,
      again, the team has helped me a lot in that perspective with Tommy's
      experience and John Dick's experience. I think that made my learning
      curve go much quicker. And I think, obviously, the team is young, as
      well. But there are a lot of people, there are a lot of experienced
      people within the team that has been helping me out so much that I
      think. Hopefully it is not going to be too long to reach the
      winner's circle.

      Q: And Tom, what has surprised you about Roger?

      T. Anderson: I think that he has a tremendous amount of three things
      which I consider to be important for racecar drivers. I mean,
      obviously he has the natural talent. There are a lot of things that
      he can do, like just go out and go consistent. I mean, whatever
      speed you tell him to do, just go out and hold that speed, he can do
      it. That is a natural feeling, and he has that. The other thing is
      that he has a mechanical understanding of the car. How the sway bars
      work, what the weight jacker does. And he is able to use in the
      third trait, which is the extra or what I call extra mental
      capacity. He is not using all of his mental capacity just to go
      fast. He is going fast, and then he is thinking about the mechanical
      part of the car. So he is able to help himself, as well. And anytime
      that I have found a driver that has all three of those traits it is
      not too long before they are in the winner's circle.

      Q: In some respects, brainpower-wise, he still has some throttle
      left, huh?

      T. Anderson: I think so. I mean he is able to handle a car that is
      fairly neutral, come in, discuss it quite calmly with John and
      decide on a situation on how they want to attempt to fix the problem
      and go forward. I am really amazed. I really am. The kid has a lot
      of talent.

      Q: Roger, when you were growing up and driving in karts and so forth
      in America and over in Italy, did you have any idols and who were
      the young guys you competed with then that are up in the big time
      now?

      R. Yasukawa: I would say my idol was and probably still is Michael
      Andretti. I think it is an honour for me to be able to race with him
      now, and hopefully I could be running up front more often and be
      able to battle with Michael before his retirement comes after the
      Indy 500.

      In terms of competing against other drivers in karting, I raced
      against Buddy Rice in go-karts. We were where we had the same engine
      builder, which was George Mack's father, who was building engines
      for us. So I knew him from a while ago. I also was in the same team
      with Alex Barron, who was spotting for me for the first two rounds,
      and we spend a lot of time together. So I know him quite well, as
      well.

      Q: You obviously have a strong Japanese heritage and with Tora and
      Shiggy and Shinji (Nakano) all being Japanese citizens, going into
      this event, is there more pressure on you and the other three
      Japanese drivers knowing that obviously the bulk of the crowd that
      will be there are going to be focusing, I would assume most of what
      they are there for, on watching you guys succeed? Does it place more
      pressure on you, for example, as opposed to going into a place like
      Phoenix?

      R. Yasukawa: Yes, certainly. I do not look at it as pressure so
      much. I mean, yes, it certainly is a pressure when you have a lot of
      people cheering for you. But more so I am looking at it as an
      advantage because I have a lot of people cheering for me, and there
      will certainly be a lot of people cheering for our team and
      especially, hopefully, for me being the Honda driver there. But I am
      looking forward to it. I think it is only times that we only come to
      Japan once, and it is the first time that the IndyCar Series is
      going to come to Japan. So I am actually anxious to see how much
      crowd we are going to have there, and hopefully it will be a good
      weekend for us.

      Q: Give us an idea, if you could, having spent the amount of time
      that you did with your dad while you were growing up in Japan while
      he was working with Formula One, how are or are Japanese fans
      different from American fans in the way they do or attend
      motorsports events?

      R. Yasukawa: That is a good question. I do not think there is a big
      difference from the fans in the U.S.A. and fans in Japan, except
      they only get to see the race occasionally. Well, especially like
      the Formula One series and the IndyCar Series, they only go to Japan
      once. So they are certainly excited for it, excited to see the race
      and the teams and the drivers. I do not think there is a big
      difference, but I think the enthusiasm here in Japan is quite big
      for the IndyCar Series. So I am sure a lot of people are excited to
      see the whole race.

      Q: Roger, this question is for you. How would you describe your
      style of driving or your style of racing? How does it appear to you?

      R. Yasukawa: Right. Well, I think I have always said, let's see,
      strong and smooth, I guess. I think I am always a ''thinking'' type
      of person. And I think my driving style in general always has been
      smooth. Not too aggressive but aggressive when I need to.

      Q: Tom, a follow-up with a question for you here. We have talked a
      lot about this being Honda's turf, and you obviously have a Japanese-
      American driver. Are there any added pressures to perform well at
      this one particular race?

      T. Anderson: Well, there is quite a bit from Honda because Honda has
      not won at their home track yet. There is always big pressure at
      Motegi when you are powered by Honda. There is also additional
      pressure. Panasonic, our major sponsor, has quite a big presence
      there, as well. And of course, everyone knows that Bridgestone, who
      is in conjunction, or the father of Firestone now, is just down the
      road, as well. So there is quite a big influence there for us. It
      will be a good tune-up for operating under pressure before we get to
      the Indy 500 over here, as we all know creates pressure within
      itself.

      Q: And looking closer at your team, you actually have a crewmember,
      Steve Ragan, who began his motorsports career in Japan and speaks
      fluent Japanese. Has his background been a benefit to you and the
      team as you prepare for this race?

      T. Anderson: It makes going to Japan obviously easier when you have
      people that speak the foreign language to us where you go. It makes
      things quite easy. We also have another mechanic on the team,
      Tomihiro Takase, who did quite a bit of his early career in Japan
      with Aguri Suzuki, with Roger, Madoka Yamaguchi, who is our PR
      person, with Steve and with Tommy, there are five fluent Japanese-
      speaking personnel on the team.

      Q: For either one of you, now that Alex Barron has a real job coming
      up next weekend, who is going to be spotting for Roger?

      T. Anderson: It is me.

      Q: You are?

      T. Anderson: I am.

      Q: Oh, so you are going to have to be up top there?

      T. Anderson: Yes, but I am one-for-one up there. I have only spotted
      one time before, but it was for Jimmy Vasser in 1996 at Homestead,
      and we won.

      Q: Oh, well that is a good luck charm, huh?

      T. Anderson: We will take it.

      Q: I hope so. Good luck on that. Thank you.

      T. Anderson: Thank you.

      K. Johnson: Well gentlemen, we certainly appreciate the both of you
      joining us today, and we wish you each the best of luck on April
      13th at Motegi.

      T. Anderson: Thank you very much. Appreciate it, Kent.

      K. Johnson: Thanks, Tom. Good luck, Roger.

      R. Yasukawa: Thanks.


      ==============

      http://www.toyotaatlantic.com/Feature.asp?ID=342
      (Irvine, California - June 4, 2002) In just his second Atlantic
      start and his first on an oval with the Toyota powered Swift 014.a,
      Roger Yasukawa, driver of the #9 Autobacs/u.s. print/Toyota/Swift
      achieved his first victory on Sunday at round 3 of the CART Toyota
      Atlantic Championship at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin.
      For the first time in their five-year history in the Atlantic
      series, Hylton Motorsports team owner Keith Hylton has chosen to
      enter a full-time two-car effort in the 2002 Atlantic championship.
      He signed Yasukawa in early March and the Los Angeles native made
      his Atlantic debut at his home race in Long Beach California, where
      he started 12th and finished seventh, earning nine championship
      points.

      Hylton Motorsports earned their first Atlantic victory one year ago
      at The Milwaukee Mile with driver Hoover Orsi. Orsi went on to claim
      four additional victories and four pole positions en route to the
      2001 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship title. Yasukawa's victory at
      The Mile gave his team, the defending race winners a repeat victory
      and marked their third consecutive victory on an oval. The win was
      the sixth victory for the defending series champions.

      A former CART Barber Dodge Series Rookie of the Year, Yasukawa
      finished fourth in the Barber Dodge Pro Series in 2001 after earning
      four podium finishes and his first career victory in Vancouver. He
      completed every lap of every race he competed in the 2001 season.

      Yasukawa tested at The Mile last month, where he set very
      competitive times throughout the two-day program, "The test was a
      good opportunity for me to get comfortable with the car on an oval.
      Most of the Atlantic field was there, so it also gave us a good
      indication of where we were in terms of speed. We tried some
      developmental changes to the car during the test, and our times were
      consistently right in there, so I knew going into the race weekend
      that we had a good shot at winning" said Yasukawa.

      Yasukawa took the green flag from the front row, next to his
      teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay. The duo led the field throughout the
      weekend and it was the first time Hylton Motorsports had achieved a
      front row sweep in qualifying. "Both Hylton Motorsports drivers were
      flawless this weekend. They achieved something in qualifying that we
      had never done before. Ryan and Roger are great assets to this team.
      Their transition up the ladder to Atlantic has been nothing short of
      impressive," said team owner, Keith Hylton.

      The 24-year old West Hollywood resident victoriously took the
      checkered flag after leading the final 27 laps with a 2.733 second
      margin of victory. He earned 20 championship points for his win and
      jumped from 13th to fourth in the series standings. He sits second
      in the Rookie of the Year standings behind series leader and Indy
      Lights graduate, Jon Fogarty.

      Yasukawa commented on his victory, "This is a very special victory
      for me. I am fortunate to be with a team where the depth of talent
      seems endless. Both Ryan (Hunter-Reay) and I had a very strong
      weekend and I think that is something that will continue the rest of
      the season. Thanks to my sponsors Autobacs and to my manager and
      mentor, Hiro Matsushita and of course to the team and Keith Hylton."
      After the race, Keith Hylton commented on Yasukawa's victory, "Roger
      drove a smart race. He was consistent and controlled and made no
      mistakes. He had an excellent car and made the most of it. I am
      looking forward to the rest of the season, I think it will be a good
      year for Hylton Motorsports."

      Round four of the 2002 CART Toyota Atlantic Championship takes place
      this weekend at the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey,
      California. Practice and qualifying begin on Friday, June 7th
      followed by final qualifying and the race on Saturday, June 8th.
      SPEED Channel will televise the race Saturday at 10:00 pm EST. For
      more information, please visit hyltonmotorsports.com, rogerspeed.com
      or toyotaatlantic.com.
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