KV RACING TECHNOLOGY DRIVER RUBENS BARRICHELLO QUALIFIES SEASON-HIGH FIFTH, BUT WILL START THIRD IN MILWAUKEE INDYFEST
KVRT TRIO ALL QUALIFY IN TOP-10, ALL WILL START IN TOP-SIX
WEST ALLIS, WI – June 15, 2012 – KV Racing Technology driver Rubens Barrichello qualified a season-high fifth, but will start third, in tomorrow’s Milwaukee IndyFest on the fabled Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin.
In addition to Barrichello, teammates E. J. Viso and Tony Kanaan qualified eighth and 10th respectively, but will start fifth and sixth after penalties for an unauthorized engine change were assessed to seven drivers including Justin Wilson, and Will Power, who qualified ahead of Barrichello, plus Josef Newgarden, who was also ahead of Viso and Ryan Briscoe, who was one spot in front of Kanaan.
Barrichello in the No. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone entry had a two-lap average speed of 166.899 mph and will start on the inside of row two. Viso driving the No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone car, had an average speed of 166.066 mph and will grid on the inside of row three. Kanaan posted an average speed of 165.915 mph mph in the No. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine and will lineup alongside Viso on the outside of row three.
Barrichello, who will contest just his second career oval race (he did not start in Texas because of a non-team related component failure) and first at Milwaukee, was the 15th of 25 drivers to make a qualifying attempt and. despite qualifying on a 1-mile oval for the first time, ran two very consistent Barrichello is 17th in the championship standings laps with the first faster than the second by only two hundredths of a second. Barrichello previously tested in Milwaukee at the end of May.
"I am extremely happy with today's qualifying,” Barrichello said. “As soon as we rolled the car out on track it felt good and it's a great feeling to be able to go flat. I have been to Milwaukee a few times as a spectator and tested here a couple of weeks ago, but everything felt much better today. I have to thank my engineers and crew guys for giving me a good car and hope we can have a good race tomorrow."
Prior to today Barrichello had qualified in the top-10 just once this year, a 10th place qualifying spot in his debut on the Indianapolis Superspeedway oval. The 40-year-old Brazilian and Formula One veteran, finished the first five races of the season earning three top-10 placements (Barber, eighth; Long Beach, ninth; Brazil, 10th) and an 11th place finish in his Indy 500 debut which earned him the Chase Rookie of the Year honors. In his last two events, non-team related component failures have ended his races early, first at Detroit, after just 11 laps and again in Texas where he never even got off the starting grid. Barrichello is currently17th in the championship standings with 118 points.
Viso, who will be contesting his fourth race on the Milwaukee Mile, was the second car to make a qualifying run and set the tone for the team. He was the fastest of the KVRT trio in both practice sessions, but had a fast lap of only 164.021 mph before his qualifying run. His first qualifying lap was slower than his second, but it varied by only four hundredths of a second. Viso’s career best oval qualifying position of sixth came here at Milwaukee last year. The fifth place starting spot is his best here in four tries. In three previous starts his best finish is eighth in 2008.
“The performance we have shown at this track up to now has been strong,” Viso said. “What makes me even more excited is that I feel we have a good race car. There are going to be a lot of cars dropping back in this race because the hot weather temperatures will have a big effect. Hopefully, our strategy and the car development we have done will take us to the front and we can stay there.’
Viso has qualified well this season. He has earned five top-10 qualifying spots in eight attempts this season including making the Firestone Fast Six, the final round of street/road course qualifying twice and on an oval twice (a Indy 500 career high ninth along with today’s eighth). Viso has qualified a season-high fifth twice, first at Long Beach (started 15th due to a penalty assessed to all Chevy powered and some Lotus powered cars for an unauthorized engine change) and at Detroit (qualified seventh at Barber). This will be only the second time he has actually started fifth (Detroit and here). The 27-year-old Venezuelan was having one of his best races of the season last week in Texas getting as high as sixth when a non-team related component failed ending his race. It was the first time this season he did not finish a race. Viso has earned two top-10 finishes in the first seven races of the 2012 season (eighth at St. Petersburg and 10th at Brazil) and is 16th in the standings with 118 points.
Kanaan, who is making his 13th appearance at Milwaukee (ran five races in CART), went out eighth for qualifying. Like his teammates his first lap was slower than his second however, the differential was only eight hundredths of a second. Kanaan has now qualified in the top-10 a total of 10 times in 13 attempts here at Milwaukee with a best starting spot of second in 2004. In 12 previous races he has finished in the top-10 six times with two wins (2006 and 2007) and has not finished worse than fourth in five of his last seven starts.
"I have to thank the team for giving me a good car today,” Kanaan said. “I spent the morning working on my qualifying setup and felt pretty comfortable. This afternoon I concentrated on the race and how the car reacted in traffic and I feel that we have a solid race car. Tomorrow will be an interesting day and hopefully we can bring a home a good result."
Kanaan has qualified in the top-10 a team-high six times in the eight events this season including top-10 qualifying spots on all three ovals contested this year. In addition to today’s 10th place qualifying spot, he qualified ninth and started eighth at St. Petersburg, a season-high sixth at Barber, 10th at Long Beach, but started 19th as a result of the penalty, eighth at Indy and seventh last week at Texas. The 37-year old Brazilian has finished six of the seven races this year falling out only in the season opener at St. Petersburg due to a non-team related component failure. He has earned three top-six finishes (sixth in, Detroit, third at Indy, fourth in Long Beach) and was in contention for a top-three finish in Texas, but while attempting to pass for the lead was hit by Will Power late in the race. Power was penalized, but Kanaan’s front wing was damaged forcing him to pit and dropping him to 11th. Kanaan is ninth in the championship race with 160 points. There were two practice sessions prior to qualifying. In the first session, Viso lead the team with the third fastest lap posting a speed of 164.021 mph. Barrichello was sixth on the speed charts with a lap of 162.285 mph while Kanaan was 16th with a speed of 160.418 mph. Viso was again was the leader of the KVRT trio logging the fourth fastest lap of the session at 163.370 mph. Barrichello was again sixth overall with a lap of 162.990 with Kanaan recording the 15th fastest speed at 160.586 mph.