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IndyCar Series
IZOD IndyCar Series - Indy Japan 300: The Final Preview

From The Sports Network

 
DATE: Sunday, September 18th (Japan time)
SITE: Twin Ring Motegi - Road Course (1997) -- Motegi, Tochigi, Japan
TRACK: 2.98-mile road course
CAPACITY: 68,156
ANNUAL: 9th
TELEVISION: VERSUS (11:30 p.m. (et) - Saturday)
ANNOUNCERS: Bob Jenkins, Jon Beekhuis, Wally Dallenbach
RADIO: IMS Radio Network/SIRIUS XM Satellite
START TIME: 12 a.m. (et)
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Helio Castroneves
RUNNER-UP: Dario Franchitti
POLE WINNER: Helio Castroneves (Finished 1st)
LAPS: 63
MILES: 187.929
QUALIFYING RECORD: Dan Wheldon, 2004 (205.762 m.p.h.)
RACE RECORD: Dan Wheldon, 2004 (166.114 m.p.h.)
 
2010 Finish
FinishDriverStartFinishDriverStart
1Helio Castroneves16Scott Dixon11
2Dario Franchitti47Tony Kanaan6
3Will Power38Graham Rahal16
4Ryan Briscoe29Ryan Hunter-Reay7
5Danica Patrick1210Dan Wheldon9
2010 Indy Japan Facts and Figures
AVERAGE SPEED: 147.008 m.p.h.
TIME OF RACE: 2 hours, 4 minutes, 4.4780 seconds
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 4.5746 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 4 for 50 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 3 among 3 drivers
POLE WINNER: Helio Castroneves (201.992 m.p.h.)
FASTEST LAP: Helio Castroneves, 200.432 m.p.h., Lap 13
Past Indy Japan Winners (Starting Position) Car -- Speed
2010 -- Helio Castroneves (1st) -- Dallara-Honda -- 147.008 m.p.h.
2009 -- Scott Dixon (1st) -- Dallara-Honda -- 163.401 m.p.h.
2008 -- Danica Patrick (6th) -- Dallara-Honda -- 164.258 m.p.h.
2007 -- Tony Kanaan (3rd) -- Dallara-Honda -- 162.295 m.p.h.
2006 -- Helio Castroneves (1st) -- Dallara-Honda -- 153.248 m.p.h.
2005 -- Dan Wheldon (5th) -- Dallara-Honda -- 133.365 m.p.h.
2004 -- Dan Wheldon (1st) -- Dallara-Honda -- 166.114 m.p.h. (race record)
2003 -- Scott Sharp (7th) -- Dallara-Toyota -- 129.090 m.p.h.
 
NOTE: Race formerly contested on 1.5 Twin Ring Motegi oval (2003-10).
 
Past Indy Japan Pole Winners (Finish)
2010 -- Helio Castroneves -- 1st
2009 -- Scott Dixon -- 1st
2008 -- None -- Weather
2007 -- Helio Castroneves -- 7th
2006 -- Helio Castroneves -- 1st
2005 -- Sam Hornish Jr -- 7th
2004 -- Dan Wheldon -- 1st
2003 -- Scott Dixon -- 15th
Last Race Results
RACE: Baltimore Grand Prix (September 4th)
SITE: Streets of Baltimore -- Baltimore, Maryland
MILES: 180
LAPS: 75
WINNER: Will Power
RUNNER-UP: Oriol Servia
THIRD: Tony Kanaan
FOURTH: Dario Franchitti
FIFTH: Scott Dixon
POLE WINNER: Will Power (Finished 1st)
TIME OF RACE: 2 hours, 2 minutes, 19.4998 seconds
AVERAGE SPEED: 75.046 m.p.h.
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 10.2096 seconds
CAUTION FLAGS: 2 for 16 laps
LEAD CHANGES: 7 among 5 drivers
LAP LEADERS: Will Power 1 - 20, Dario Franchitti 21, Ryan Briscoe 22, Ryan
Hunter-Reay 23, Power 24 - 58 Franchitti 59, Simona de Silvestro
60, Power 61 - 75.
Indy Japan Entry List
CarDriver, HometownCar/Name
2Oriol Servia (Pals, Spain)Telemundo/Newman-Haas Racing
3Helio Castroneves (Sao Paulo, Brz)Hitachi/Team Penske
4J.R. Hildebrand (Sausalito, CA)U.S. National Guard/Panther Racing
5Takuma Sato (Tokyo, Japan)KV Racing Technology-Lotus
06James Hinchcliffe (Toronto, Canada)Sprott/Newman-Haas Racing
6Ryan Briscoe (Sydney, Australia)Hitachi/Team Penske
7Danica Patrick (Roscoe, IL)GoDaddy.com/Andretti Autosport
9Scott Dixon (Auckland, New Zealand)Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
10Dario Franchitti (Scotland)Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
12Will Power (Toowoomba, Australia)Verizon/Team Penske
14Vitor Meira (Brasilia, Brazil)ABC Supply Co./AJ Foyt Enterprises
17Hideki Mutoh (Tokyo, Japan)Honda Formula Dream/AFS/SSM Racing
18Jamie Jakes (Leeds, England)Acorn Stairlifts/Dale Coyne Racing
19Sebastien Bourdais (LeMans, France)Boy Scouts of America/Dale Coyne Rac
22Giorgio Pantano (Padua, Italy)Kona Deep/Dreyer&ReinboldRacing
24Ana Beatriz (Sao Paulo, Brazil)Ipiranga/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
26Marco Andretti (Nazareth, PA)Venom/Andretti Autosport
27Mike Conway (Bromley, England)Andretti Autosport
28Ryan Hunter-Reay (Boca Raton, FL)DHL/Sun Drop/Andretti Autosport
34Joao Paulo de Oliveira (Brazil)Ceremony/Conquest Racing
38Graham Rahal (New Albany, OH)Service Central/Chip Ganassi Racing
59E.J. Viso (Caracas, Venezuela)PDVSA/KV Racing Technology-Lotus
77Alex Tagliani (Lachenaie, Canada)Bowers & Wilkins/Sam Schmidt Motor.
78Simona de Silvestro (Switzerland)Nuclear Clean Air Energy/HVM Racing
82Tony Kanaan (Salvador, Brazil)GEICO/KV Racing Technology-Lotus
83Charlie Kimball (Camarillo, CA)Levemir and NovoLog/Chip Ganassi Rac
 
* - Defending champion
 
Leading Contenders (Finish the last eight years)
Driver20032004200520062007200820092010
Helio Castroneves22nd3rd11thWon7th2nd10thWon
Dario Franchitti---7th17th11th3rd---2nd2nd
Will Power---------------------3rd
Ryan Briscoe------12th------9th18th4th
Danica Patrick------4th8th11thWon6th5th
Scott Dixon15th5th21st9th4th3rdWon6th
Tony Kanaan14th2nd6th3rdWon5th11th7th
Graham Rahal------------------3rd8th
Ryan Hunter-Reay---------------7th21st9th
Marco Andretti---------12th16th18th7th11th
 
Mover of the Week
Tony Kanaan - Started 27th on the grid and finished 3rd
 
Sports Network Selections
Pick to Win - Dario Franchitti
Darkhorse - Graham Rahal
 
Last Week's Pick to Win (Helio Castroneves) - Finished 17th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Marco Andretti) - Finished 25th
 
NOTES:
Just three races remain on the IndyCar docket for 2011 and it looks like a two-horse race, as Dario Franchitti leads Will power by just five points.

Power significantly trimmed Franchitti's points lead by winning the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix in dominating fashion. Power closed the gap after a near- perfect September 4th afternoon drive on the streets of downtown Baltimore. He started on the pole and led 70 of the 75 laps on the 2.4-mile, 12-turn temporary street circuit. The Team Penske driver finished more than 10 seconds ahead of second-place Oriol Servia.

Franchitti, the two-time defending IndyCar champion, has placed fourth the past two races, while Power has won both contests. Last season, Franchitti finished second to Helio Castroneves in Japan, as Power was third.

This will be the final Izod IndyCar Series race at Japan's Twin Ring Motegi circuit. Officials announced earlier this year that it would be the final outing at the facility. In addition, due to the March earthquake, the race is being run on the 2.98-mile road course instead of the 1.5-mile oval, which it normally did.

Castroneves was quite impressive in winning the 2010 running of this race, as he led 153 of the 200 laps to claim his 19th career series title. Starting on the pole, Castroneves slightly fell back in the field to fifth when he struggled to get up to speed after a restart shortly before the half-way point. Castroneves reclaimed the lead for good on lap 118, and then ran in front for the remaining 82 laps. He finished nearly five seconds ahead of Franchitti.

Scott Dixon dominated the 2009 Indy Japan 300, as he led 139 of the 200 laps, defeating Dario Franchitti by 1.4475 seconds for his 21st career IndyCar Series title. Starting from the pole, Dixon led the opening 49 laps, but relinquished the advantage to Franchitti for the next 53 circuits. Dixon reclaimed the lead on lap 164 and remained in front the rest of the way for his fifth win of 2009. With the win, Dixon became the third pole sitter to win in Japan in seven previous races.

In 13 seasons, no driver has ever won the 16th race of the year and then gone on to capture the championship. This is the third straight year that this race is being held near the end of the season. It was previous staged in April. Dan Wheldon is the only driver to win at Twin Ring Motegi and then capture the championship (2005).

Danica Patrick finally answered her critics by capturing the rain-delayed Japan Indy 300 in 2008. The No.7 Andretti Green Racing driver passed Helio Castroneves with three laps to go and crossed the finish line a comfortable 5.8594 seconds ahead of the field. The victory was Patrick's first and the first by a woman in an IndyCar career. It came in her 50th IndyCar start. Scott Dixon, who placed third, led for 101 laps, while Castroneves led for 94.

With just five laps remaining in 2007, Tony Kanaan overtook Dixon and raced to victory, edging Dan Wheldon by less than a second for his 8th career title. Starting from the third position on the grid, Kanaan led on four occasions for 26 laps, as he clipped Wheldon by 0.4828 of a second. Pole sitter Helio Castroneves led for the first 43 laps, but faded and finished seventh. Wheldon was in charge for most of the race, leading three times for a race-high 126 laps. It was a late pit stop with just 13 laps remaining that did Wheldon in, as he could never catch Kanaan.

In 2006, Helio Castroneves cruised to victory, as he defeated Dan Wheldon by 6.3851 seconds. Castroneves dominated in Japan, leading 184 of the 200 laps.

Dan Wheldon is the only two-time and back-to-back winner of this race, having taken the checkered flag in 2004-05.

Twin Ring Motegi opened in 1997 and has seating capacity of 68,104. In addition to the oval, the facility also has a 2.849-mile road course and a 0.634-mile short course. An amusement park surrounded by mountains, Twin Ring Motegi combines motor racing, driving experiences, nature exploration and other activities. In addition to the IRL IndyCar Series, other motorsports events at the facility include MotoGP World Championship Series and the Japanese Formula Nippon Series. Michael Andretti (2000) and Kenny Brack (2001) both won CART events conducted at Twin Ring Motegi.

The IZOD IndyCar Series runs its penultimate race of the season on October 2 with the Kentucky Indy 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Helio Castroneves is the defending race winner.

09/14 18:47:06 ET

As of September 14, 2011, at 06:47 PM ET

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