FT. WORTH, Tx. – June 8, 2012 – KV Racing Technology driver Tony Kanaan qualified seventh for tomorrow’s Firestone 550 on the 1.5-mile D-shaped Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Texas. Teammates Rubens Barrichello and E. J. Viso qualified 14th and 16th respectively.
Kanaan piloted the No. 11 MOUSER ELECTRONICS | GEICO – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone car to a two-lap average speed of 214.701 mph and will start on the inside of row four. Barrichello, behind the wheel of the No. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine, had an average speed of 213.949 mph and will grid on the outside of row seven. Viso, in the No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone entry, recorded an average speed of 213.444 mph and will lineup on the outside of row eight.
Kanaan, who is making his 13th appearance at Texas, went out second of the 24 cars making a qualifying attempt. He ran two very consistent laps with the second lap just four hundreds of a second slower (.353 mph) than his first. Kanaan has now qualified in the top-10 a total nine times with a pole which he drew for race No. 2 last year (started second in 2008 and third in 2004 race No. 1) in 13 attempts at TMS. In 12 previous races he has finished in the top-10 nine times including a remarkable seven top-five showings with a win in 2004 (second in 2003 race No. 1; 2004 race No. 2 and 2007).
“I am fairly happy with where we qualified,” Kanaan said. “We will spend the next session working on race setup and seeing how the car reacts running in traffic ready for the race tomorrow. It will definitely be exciting for the fans and I just hope we have a safe and successful race.”
Kanaan has qualified in the top-10 a team-high five times in the seven events this season including both times on the two ovals this year (qualified eighth at Indy). 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 and eighth at Indy. The 37-year old Brazilian has earned three top-six finishes in the first six races this season (sixth in Detroit, third at Indy, fourth at Long Beach). He currently sits ninth in the championship race with 141 points.
Barrichello, who will contest just his second oval race and first at TMS, was the eighth driver to make a qualifying attempt and. despite qualifying on a 1.5-mile oval for the first time (he did test here in May), ran two very similar laps with just five hundreds of a second (.494 mph) separating the two.
Commenting on qualifying, Barrichello said, “I am happy with my qualifying laps. The track is very different from when I tested here in May, so I am pleased with where I’ll be starting tomorrow.”
Barrichello has qualified in the top-10 once this year, a 10th place starting spot in his only other oval race, the Indianapolis 500. The 40-year-old Brazilian, a veteran of 19 Formula One seasons, has finished five of the six races this year, has three top-10 performances (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. Barrichello is 14th in the championship standings with 112 points.
Viso, who will be contesting his sixth race at TMS, was the third car to make a qualifying run. He was even more consistent during his run than either of his teammates, if just slightly slower, running two laps that varied by just nine thousandths of a second and .086 mph (24.5354 seconds – 213.4876 mph vs. 24.54.53 seconds – 213.401 mph). Viso has a best qualifying spot of 14th in 2010 in six attempts. In five previous starts his best finish is seventh in race No. 1 last year (placed 10th in race No. 2).
“In my five years in the IndyCar Series, I am pretty sure this race will be different than all the ones before,” Viso said. “With all the aerodynamic changes that have taken place with the car for this race the downforce levels we will be running are going to be lower. That is going to make the drivers work very hard. In the past, this race was a pretty easy race because we could go flat (accelerated to the floor) because of the high downforce levels. In this morning’s practice we could not do more than a few laps flat out. On top of that we have the traffic factor, all the dirty air plus a full fuel tank all of which will increase the level of difficulty. However, I like the challenge, I’m excited and I am looking forward to the race. Starting 16th is not the best position, however it is where we are. We have raced from there before and we can do it again. Go from the back to the front. “
Viso has qualified well this season. He has earned four top-10 starting spots in seven attempts this season (including making the Firestone Fast Six, the final round of street/road course qualifying twice) and earning an Indy 500 career-high ninth place starting position. The 27-year-old Venezuelan, who has finished every race this year, has earned two top-10 finishes in the first five races (eighth at St. Petersburg and 10th at Brazil). He is 16th in the standings with 106 points.
In today’s practice session prior to qualifying Kanaan posted the team’s fastest lap with a speed of 213.599 mph placing him fifth on the practice report. Viso was seventh on the speed charts with a lap of 213.477 mph while Barrichello was 16th with a speed of 212.029 mph.