Japan Preview: Dreyer Reinbold Racing

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After a quick turn-around from the street circuit at St. Petersburg, Fla., followed by a 13-hour flight from Chicago O'Hare, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has arrived in Japan for this weekend's Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 from the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi circuit.

This is the sixth time the IndyCar Series has run in Japan and also the sixth time Dreyer & Reinbold has had a car entered in the race.

In 2007, drivers Buddy Rice and Sarah Fisher finished 10th and 14th, respectively.

Rice's 10th place tied the team's best finish at the track set by team co-owner Robbie Buhl in 2003.

Rice commented on the upcoming race saying, "Motegi will be interesting with only 18 cars running since all the other guys aren't here. It's a unique place, and it's always an exciting place to come to. It'd be nice if everybody was here, but they won't so we'll go on. I like Japan. It's always fun here. Being Honda's home race and home track, it's always nice to give back to Honda."

Rice and his wife, Michelle, welcomed their new daughter, Mina, to their family last week on April 9th.

This weekend, Rice returns with teammate Townsend Bell to contest the race on the final weekend in which open-wheel racing will be split.

Bell is optimistic going into the weekend with hopes of a great finish.

"This is my first time back racing in Japan for several years. I'm excited to be back here. It's nice to see another culture as well as help promote my sponsors William Rast and Emu Australia in a key market for them like this. The crew guys have worked really hard since St. Pete, and I hope to get a solid finish to reward them for their hard work."

Though a majority of the IndyCar Series is in Japan, the transitional teams from the Champ Car World Series are running their final race in that series at this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix in Long Beach, California.

The first practice for the Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 takes place Thursday afternoon from 10:30 a.m. until noon. A second practice, with split groups, will take place from 1:45 p.m. until 3:15 p.m.

On Friday, the final practice, again with split groups, will take place from 10:30 a.m. until noon. Qualifying will be 90 minutes later.

All times are local. The race itself will be Saturday at 1 p.m. Japan local time. Watch the event live in HD on ESPN2 at midnight ET on Saturday with a replay on ESPN at 3 p.m. ET.

Race Facts

  • William Rast crew member, Gary Rust, will have 10 Japanese in-laws visiting the race as his guests. They will be coming from Tokyo, Mito, Tochigi, and Chiba.

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