SATO MAKES INDY 500 FIELD ON LATE DAY DASH; TRACY MISSED THE 33-DRIVER LINEUP IN THE GEICO KVRT CAR Temperatures in the 90s Play Havoc With Track Conditions SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 23, 2010) -- It was another up and down day for KV Racing ...
SATO MAKES INDY 500 FIELD ON LATE DAY DASH; TRACY MISSED THE 33-DRIVER LINEUP IN THE GEICO KVRT CAR
Temperatures in the 90s Play Havoc With Track Conditions
SPEEDWAY, Ind. (May 23, 2010) -- It was another up and down day for KV Racing Technology at the Indianapolis 500 Bump Day.
With temperatures in the 90s, the track conditions were the worst of the week and the final qualifications proved to be wild and eventful for the Indy-based racing organization.
Rookie Takuma Sato, in the No. 5 Lotus -- KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry, returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday morning after a hard practice on Saturday. Sato, a podium finish at Indy in the U.S. Grand Prix, will start his first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race after qualifying in the 31st position with just 17 minutes remaining in time trials Sunday.
Sato, who recorded a 225 mile per hour lap in practice, recorded a four-lap average of 224.178 m.p.h. to bump his way into the 33-driver field. The personable Japanese racer was subjected to the wild "final hour" on Bump Day that saw several drivers miss the coveted starting lineup including his KV Racing Technology teammate Paul Tracy.
Tracy, who ran a blistering 226 m.p.h. lap in colder conditions Thursday afternoon, qualified earlier in the day with a 223.892 m.p.h. and looked solidly in the field before the final hour of action. The Canadian star took his final run with six minutes remaining in the day but could only manage two 223 m.p.h. laps before pulling back in the qualifying line. Unfortunately, Tracy didn't get a chance for a final run when the gun went off to end the qualifying session.
An emotional Tracy talked with media following qualifications and thanked his GEICO crew and sponsors for their great effort during the week. The Las Vegas resident stood patiently and answered questions about missing the biggest race in the world.
During the middle of the day, Mario Moraes and E.J. Viso, who both qualified for the field Saturday, worked on race setup with their respectively machines. Moraes turned a 224.304 m.p.h. best lap with 35 laps in the No. 32 KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone car, while Viso, in the No. 8 PDVSA -- KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine, drove 43 laps Sunday with a top speed of 221.769 m.p.h.
TAKUMA SATO -- #5 LOTUS -- KV RACING TECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE: "It has been amazing, especially after such a difficult day yesterday. The Lotus -- KV Racing Technology team did an outstanding job, putting everything back into one piece. When I got back in the car this morning, everything felt comfortable. At lunch time, it was difficult because of the warmer temperatures, and we really didn't get up to speeds we had earlier. The last half hour was chaos to be honest but we made it. The team did a great job, and I'm really proud of them."
PAUL TRACY -- #15 GEICO -- KV RACING TECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE: "The decision to withdraw our time and re-qualify was a team decision. We win as a team and lose as a team. I just feel bad for the whole team. They worked so hard and I feel bad for my sponsors, GEICO, Monster and everyone. It is heartbreaking. The frustrating part is that was quick in the cold temperatures. I was second fastest on Thursday with a 226 and ran 225 this morning. But when it heated up, we just lost the handling and could never get the speed back. It wasn't for a lack of trying. The team tried everything. We just could not get the balance on my car when we really needed it."
MARIO MORAES -- #32 KV RACING TECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE: "We were able to run some pretty good laps in the heat today. The car felt comfortable in traffic. I worked with my engineer Iain (Watt) and I want to thank the crew again for getting everything together after our crash yesterday (Saturday) in the first qualifying attempt. We were able to get the car ready for a late run and it was good. I look forward to competing in this year's Indianapolis 500."
E.J. VISO -- #8 PDVSA -- KV RACING TECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE: "It was a hot day today. I feel badly for Paul (Tracy) and the GEICO team. They had the speed all week to qualifying for this race. But it shows how hard things can be when the temperature gets hot. We ran a good number of laps today in race trim and the conditions were pretty tricky. I am glad I was able to qualify on Saturday. It was very difficult out there today. We learned about our race car today and I feel good going into the race next Sunday."