KV RACING TECHNOLOGY – LOTUS LOOKING FOR ANOTHER STRONG OVAL PERFORMANCE
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – AUGUST 11, 2011 – KV Racing Technology – Lotus will be looking to have another strong performance on an oval this weekend in the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225, August 11-14, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire.
KVRT – Lotus drivers Tony Kanaan, #82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, Takuma Sato, #5 KV Racing Technology – Lotus and E. J. Viso, #59 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, have been extremely competitive on ovals this year particularly on the two short ovals contested so far this season where they have been in contention for victories. All three drivers will be making their first career starts on the tricky one-mile New Hampshire traditional oval.
In the five oval races this year, counting Texas as two starts, the KVRT – Lotus trio has amassed a record that includes seven top-10 finishes, including four top-five showings and one podium performance (not including Tomas Scheckter’s eighth place finish at the Indianapolis 500). They have qualified in the top-10 nine times including six top-five starting positions and two poles (Kanaan got the pole in Texas race No. 2 by virtue of a draw). In the two short oval events, Milwaukee and Iowa, the team has been exceptionally strong vying for the win in both races, but falling slightly short. They qualified in the top-six five times in six attempts, the top-five four times and put all three cars in the top-six at Milwaukee. In both races they led laps, 33 at Milwaukee and 32 at Iowa, and at Milwaukee all three drivers ran in the top-four, however late race accidents or mishaps have foiled their chances at a victory and limited their results to an eighth at Milwaukee and a second at Iowa.
Kanaan, fourth in the championship race with 283 points, is having his best season in three years. The veteran of 14 seasons (10 in the IndyCar series) and perennial championship contender has been the model of consistency in leading the team with eight top-10 finishes including six top-five showings and two podiums (the second at Iowa and third at St. Petersburg) in 12 races (Texas two starts). On ovals, the 36-year-old Brazilian has earned three top-five finishes with one podium (Indianapolis, fourth; Texas race No. 2, fifth and Iowa, second). Kanaan has qualified in top-six four times (including the pole in Texas 2), Texas race No. 1, sixth, Milwaukee, fourth and Iowa, third. He has led 58 laps on ovals (Milwaukee, 33 and Iowa, 25).
Commenting on the race in New Hampshire, Kanaan said, "Loudon is a new race for us but I am very excited about going there. I've tested tires for Firestone last year with Dixon when it was announced that we would return to that venue, and I have to say that being a short oval it's a good opportunity for us to get that win that we have been chasing since the beginning of the year. I love short ovals and we did well at Milwaukee and Iowa, so I'm looking forward for this weekend."
Sato, picked up four positions in the championship race with his IndyCar career-high fourth place finish in Mid-Ohio last week and is now 12th in the standings with 212 points, just 10 points out of 10th. The 34-year-old from Japan, in just his second IndyCar season is having a breakout year. He as finished in the top-10 five times including scoring his first three IndyCar top-five finishes (fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifths at St. Petersburg and Texas). In addition, he has captured his first pole, at Iowa, (got his second at Edmonton) and led his first IndyCar race at Brazil (subsequently led two more races, Iowa and Edmonton). Sato has shown vast improvement on ovals since his rookie season. He has earned two top-10 finishes (oval career-high fifth at Texas race No. 1 and eighth at Milwaukee) and qualified in top-10, four times including three top-five starting spots and one pole (Texas race No. 1, fourth; Milwaukee, fifth and IndyCar career first pole at Iowa) in four attempts. His also led his first oval laps, seven, at Iowa.
“I have never been to the New Hampshire Speedway, but so many people have given it a big thumbs-up,” Sato said. “The track looks quite challenging but we have been performing very strongly on short ovals so I am very much looking forward to it.”
Viso is 20th in the standings with 162 points. The 26-year-old Venezuelan has finished in the top-10 three times this year including a season-high seventh in the first race in Texas and 10th (finished 10th in the second ) and a road/street course season-high ninth in Toronto. Viso has had several strong efforts this yearn negated by a string of misfortune that including a very strong performance at Milwaukee where he was running in fourth place late in the race when he had an accident. In addition to the two top-10 finishes Viso has qualified an oval career-high sixth at Milwaukee (second highest of the season) His best oval finishes came last year at Iowa where he placed third.
“As a team we have been very competitive on ovals this year, especially the short ovals,” Viso said. “I have had some very good races, Texas and Milwaukee and am looking forward to my first race at New Hampshire. I think we can have another strong performance even though this is our first time on this track.”