Indy Japan 300

Indy Japan 300

Indycar race infobox
Name=Indy Japan 300
Track_

Venue=Twin Ring Motegi
Sponsor=Bridgestone
First race=1998
First IRL race=2003
Distance=300 miles
Laps=200
Previous names=Budweiser 500k (1998)
Firestone Firehawk 500k (1999-2001)
Bridgestone Potenza 500k (2002)

The Indy Japan 300 presented by Bridgestone is an Indy Racing League IndyCar Series race held at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan. The 2008 race marked the historic first ever win for a woman driver in American open wheel racing when Danica Patrick of Andretti-Green Racing took the checkered flag.

The first American open-wheel race in Japan was held in 1966 at Fuji Speedway. Jackie Stewart won the Fuji Japan 200, which was held as an exhibition race, and no championship points were awarded. USAC did not return.

For a short period in the late 1980s and early 1990s the CART series explored the prospects of holding a race in Japan. Possible locations would be either Suzuka, Fuji, or a street course in another city. The FIA objected, citing conflicts with Formula One and other interests. In addition, rules were put into place requiring that any CART race outside of North America be held on an oval. Despite the objections, in 1991 CART made their first trip across the Pacific Ocean, and held a street race at Surfer's Paradise, Australia. The plans for a race in Japan were scrapped.

In 1994, Honda joined the CART series, and by 1996, was widely successful. Interest in holding a race in Japan resurfaced, and upon the completion of the Twin Ring Motegi oval, a race was first held in 1998 without FIA objection. The race continued as a Champ Car event through 2002. In 2003, Honda switched alliances to the Indy Racing League, and the race became an Indycar Series event.

From 2003-2006, the race marked the final IRL race before the Indianapolis 500. The extended travel time required typically found the race held the weekend before or after Easter, leaving one or two weeks of travel and rest time until practice began at Indianapolis in early May. This situation was widely unpopular for fans, and for television, because it would leave a large gap in the schedule, and disrupt continuity leading to the series' premier event. Starting in 2007, the race at Kansas Speedway was moved immediately after Motegi, and would serve as a more popular lead-in to the Indianapolis 500.

Past results

*Qualifying record: Dan Wheldon 201.165 mph (323.743 km/h), 2004
*Race record: Dan Wheldon 166.114 mph (267.334 km/h), 2004
*Note: Because of Open-Wheel Reunification in 2008, the 2008 Indy Japan 300 race was a half-field race. "Transitioning" teams at Long Beach raced for full IRL points despite using the former Champ Car codes.

References

* [http://www.mobilityland.co.jp/indyjapan/ Indy Japan 300 Official Site] Languageicon|jpn|Japanese
* [http://www.champcarstats.com http://www.champcarstats.com]

Indycar next race
Previous_race = Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Next_race = Long Beach Grand Prix


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