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INDYJuly 27, 2003
American IndyCar Series Round 10
Michigan Superspeedway

Roger Yasugawa Finishes Eighth

Round 10 of the IndyCar Series was held at the Michegan International Speedway, the fastest course of the series located in Brooklyn, Michigan in the region of the Five Lakes. Super Aguri Fernandez Racing's Roger Yasugawa, the leading rookie in the Championship, put on a fine display to catch up with the third placed driver after the last restart, finally crossing the line in eighth place.

Built in 1968 in Irish Hills, the lake area about 70 miles west of Detroit, the capital of the US automobile industry, this course has been the stage for some of the toughest high speed battles ever. This year's IndyCar Series is being fought under new rules governing chassis and engine combination, and the pole sitter's average speed on the 222-mile oval exceeded last year's average.

In previous years the drivers and crews have suffered in the heat and humidity of the Michigan summer, but this year Friday's practice and Saturday's qualifying round were held in comfortable conditions of around 24 degrees. On race day there were worries of rain as the humidity level rose, and by the time the green flag fell just on schedule after 3:00pm the typical Michigan weather was back. Twenty one cars started. On this long circuit, the race quickly turned into a drafting battle with the drivers repeatedly using the 18 degree banks to fight fiercely for position. With only four full course cautions, the average race speed of 180.917 mph was a new IRL record. Fortunately there was no interruption for rain, either.

Among the Honda Indy V-8 drivers, there was another good result for rookie Yasugawa following his seventh position in Round 8 in Kansas. This time he improved from 12th in qualifying to finish eighth, having performed magnificently after the final restart to catch the third placed car. Meanwhile, Greg Ray of the Access Motorsports team crossed the line in 10th place having lined up on the grid in seventh. Series leader Tony Kanaan of Andretti Green Racing put on a spectacular display on the very first lap, blazing through the field from 15th on the grid to fifth. Although he continued to battle near the front, he could only manage a 16th place finish after suddenly stalling due to some unidentified trouble before a pit stop on lap 166. Team Reysol's Kenny Brack crashed on the second turn of lap 65 and therefore finished 18th. The fastest lap was recorded by Bryan Herta of Andretti Green Racing, winner in Round 8 at Kansas City, who qualified this time in 14th position but finished in 19th after electrical system trouble forced him to retire on lap 37. Andretti Green Racing teammate Dan Weldon retired on lap 19, which gave him 20th place having qualified in 13th.

Alex Barros of Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing was still locked in battle on the last lap with Panther Racing's Sam Hornish Jr., series champion two years in succession, but in a thrilling climax Barros overtook on the final corner to take the win. The two drivers were neck a neck at the checkered flag, with only 0.0120 seconds separating them in the fourth closest finish in IRL history.

This result drops Kanaan to second place in the drivers' championship standings, although the Honda Indy V-8 driver is trailing by the smallest possible margin of one point. Meanwhile, Yasugawa has improved his position from 13th before the race to 11th, and keeps his position as top rookie in the series.

American IndyCar Series Round 10
Michigan Superspeedway

1 Alex Barron (Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing)
2 Sam Hornish Jr (Pennzoil Panther Racing)
3 Tomas Scheckter (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)
4 Scott Sharp (Kelley Racing)
5 Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing)
6 Tora Takagi (Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing)
7 Gil de Ferran (Marlboro Team Penske)
8 Roger Yasukawa (Super Aguri Fernandez Racing)
9 Al Unser Jr (Kelley Racing)
10 Greg Ray (Access Motorsports)
16 Tony Kanaan (Andretti Green Racing)
18 Kenny Brack (Team Rahal)
19 Bryan Herta (Andretti Green Racing)
20 Dan Wheldon (Andretti Green Racing)

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