The IndyCar Series champion was crowned during Sunday's PEAK Indy 300 at the Chicagoland Speedway, but it was the PDVSA HVM Racing team stealing the show before a punctured tire ended their run finishing 23rd.
After a disappointing qualifying run, driver E.J. Viso lined up 26th at the start of the 200-lap season finale. Any concerns, however, were quickly dissolved once the green flag dropped. The team made a quick march to the front after Viso moved to the 15th position by lap 10. They didn't stop there, and by the first caution of the event on lap 37, Viso was running 10th. He had passed more cars than any other driver besides eventual race winner Helio Castroneves, and after a fast pit stop, the PDVSA HVM Racing team was in ninth.
Running in the top-10, Viso moved into the top-five on lap 95 and moved to fourth two laps later. The team was running fifth at the halfway mark as the third yellow waved on lap 107. Taking four tires and fuel, the team had Viso in great position for the final half of the race.
The day ended on lap 137 after a punctured tire sent the #33 PDVSA HVM Racing Honda into a half-spin in Turn 4 and into the wall. Viso was not hurt in the accident, but the 200th start for HVM Racing and great run was over.
Comments from PDVSA HVM Racing Owner Keith Wiggins after Sunday's PEAK Indy 300 at Chicagoland:
"It's unfortunate that there are times when bad luck end great races, but that is a part of the sport that nobody can control. The team and driver were doing everything right today. The car was fast and we were happy with where we were running. We made a lot of progress on ovals this season, but the result just doesn't reflect the performance today."
Comments from PDVSA HVM Racing Driver E.J. Viso after Sunday's PEAK Indy 300 at Chicagoland:
"We had a punctured tire, but it was a fantastic car. It's just a shame. Our pace was incredible, we kept passing guys. The team did a great job as well on pit road and everything was going smooth until the accident."