Roger Yasukawa parlayed a consistent run aboard the #55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara-Honda into a seventh-place finish in the Toyota Indy 400 at California Speedway, maintaining his slim advantage over rookie rival Dan Wheldon.

Yasukawa was the last finisher on the lead lap, but lost touch with the frontrunners during his third pit-stop, when he was beset with a refuelling equipment problem. Nevertheless, the 'local' driver's result equalled his career-best in the IRL, and was his seventh top-ten finish of the season.

"We were slow on our third stop with the fuelling and it wasn't a result of the plug-in because [refueller] David [Janquart] hit it quick, but it just wouldn't close," team MD Tom Anderson revealed, "I don't really like these IRL-supplied fuel tanks that we are required to use at long distance races, and I think we need to go back to look at our flow system to see if we can't help that a little bit, because somehow we are at a disadvantage on that with these bigger tanks."

Yasukawa has now closed to within ten points of the top ten in the championship standings, and maintains his lead in the Bombardier Rookie of the Year challenge with a four-point advantage over fellow Honda driver Wheldon.

"My car, in general, was okay when I was running by myself, but we struggled a little bit in traffic," the Californian reported, "I think, overall, we had a seventh-place finishing car and we accomplished what we could have today.

"From the rookie of the year standpoint, Dan is catching up to me and it is going to go down to the last race. I am going into Texas ahead, so I am not so much under pressure, but I just need to do my own job and try to finish ahead of him. Whoever finishes higher will probably win it, which should be the way."

 

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