KV Racing Technology – Lotus Looking To Continue Strong Effort On Ovals At Iowa Corn Indy 250
KV Racing Technology – Lotus will be looking to continue their strong performances on ovals this weekend in the Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.
All three KVRT – Lotus drivers, Tony Kanaan, No. 82 GEICO- KV Racing Technology – Lotus, Takuma Sato, No. 5 KV Racing Technology – Lotus and E. J. Viso, No. 59 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, have had strong performances in qualifying and/or the race beginning with the Indianapolis 500 and continuing through last weekend’s event in Milwaukee. Although, the final results have not always been what they wanted, all three are looking for strong races this weekend.
Kanaan, who will be making his fifth start in Iowa and is the defending champion, has been the strongest of the three drivers on the ovals. He qualified 22nd at Indy, but went on to drive a superb race and finished fourth. In Texas Kanaan qualified sixth for the first race and finished 11th then, through the luck of the draw, got the pole and finished fifth in the second race. At Milwaukee, the 36-year-old Brazilian, qualified a team-high fourth and ran with the leaders throughout the contest, challenging for the win and leading 33 laps, before a late race incident ended his day in 19th place. Kanaan has led a total of 72 laps this season, all on ovals. In four previous starts at Iowa, Kanaan has qualified in the top-10 three times with a best starting position of fourth in 2008. His victory last year is the only time he has finished in the top-10.
"Iowa is a great track to drive, but very challenging,” Kanaan said. “You've gotta find the speed but still be careful with the bumps and the tight races in the corners. It doesn't help that you often don't know what you're going to get with the weather, as well. I will tell you though that none of that takes away one bit from how much fun it is to race here; it feels the fastest of all the tracks that we race, even Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and every driver will tell you that they love the excitement that comes with driving this track. The GEICO - KVRT - Lotus guys are carrying a lot of momentum into this race, so that coupled with my experiences here, both good and bad, is hopefully going to put us in a position to be real contenders for the Iowa Corn trophy that my son wants me to bring home so badly!"
Kanaan has finished in the top-10 in five of the eight races this year (counting Texas as two races) with three top-five placements and a podium performance (third at St. Petersburg). He sits sixth in the championship race with 171 points, 17 points out of third.
Sato, making his second start at Iowa, qualified a team-high 10th at Indy, but went out early finishing 33rd. At Texas, he qualified at team-high and oval career-high fourth for the first race then finished an IndyCar career-high tying fifth (also finished fifth at the season opener in St. Petersburg). In the second race in Texas, he unfortunately drew the 25th grid position, but still managed to drive a strong race and finish 12th. At Milwaukee, Sato qualified fifth and was running strong until an incident in the pits dropped him well back in the field. However, the 34-year-old from Japan continued to battle and it paid off with an eighth place finish. In his only start in Iowa, Sato qualified seventh and was running strong until an incident late in the race ended his day in 19th place.
Commenting on the Iowa race Sato said, “Iowa is one of the races I most look forward to before the season start, simply because I so enjoyed this very exciting non-stop short oval race last year. Recently our performances were promising and very competitive so we should be expecting to have another strong package here too.”
So far this season, Sato has earned IndyCar career-high fifth place finishes at St. Petersburg and Texas plus eighth place showings in Milwaukee and Brazil. He is ninth in the championship standings with 142 points.
Viso, who will be making his fourth appearance in Iowa, qualified 18th at Indy (second best on the team), but was hit from behind early in the race and finished 32nd. At Texas, he started 19th in the first race then charged through the field to finish seventh. In the second race he had the misfortune to draw the 29th grid position, but undaunted again make a charge through the field to finish 10th. Viso picked up 31 total positions in the two races and finished in the top-10 in consecutive races for the first time in his four-year IndyCar career. For his effort in Texas the 26-year-old Venezuelan won the Firestone Tire-ific Award, voted on by the fans, in both race. At Milwaukee, Viso started sixth, but moved into fourth early in the race where he remained until the latter stages of the contest. However, on lap 163 he too was a victim of an incident while attempting to pass a lapped car and he finished 20th. In three previous events at Iowa, Viso has a best qualifying position of 13th in 2008 and a best finish of third (his IndyCar career high) last year. Viso currently sits 20th in the standings with 100 points, but a strong performance in Iowa could easily move him into the top-15.
“I am looking forward to returning to Iowa,” Viso said. “I had my best result for KV Racing Technology there last year and am hoping to repeat or better my third place finish this year. Milwaukee last weekend was a little disappointing for the team. From the beginning we showed we had a strong pace and I am sure that it will come together for Iowa this weekend. Progressively the team is getting stronger and we are working closer together as a team and it’s very nice how it’s been the last few races so things are only going to get better from here.”