FONTANA, CA – September 15, 2012 – KV Racing Technology drivers Tony Kanaan, Rubens Barrichello and E. J. Viso finished 18th, 22nd and 25th respectively in tonight’s 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season ending MAVTV 500 on the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. However, the results are just part of the story as both Kanaan and Barrichello were having outstanding races when misfortune brought an end to their evenings.
Kanaan, No. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone car, qualified seventh, but started third after penalties were accessed to other teams for unauthorized engine changes. He hovered in the top-five during the first stint as he got a feel for the track conditions, which changed dramatically as the 102 degree heat from the day began to dissipate. Kanaan was still in the top-five, when on lap 80 he had a non-team related software issue which the team was able fix while the car was still on track, but the problem dropped Kanaan to 12th. Demonstrating his usual determination he fought back and was running in second place just prior to his fourth pit stop. Kanaan rejoined the race still in second and took over the lead on lap 134. He led all but five of the next 50 laps dropping out of the lead only during his fifth pit stop. Then, with approximately 65 laps remaining in the 250 lap contest and Kanaan still in the lead, the team noticed that the engine cover was loose. Kanaan drove with the problem until pitting for the sixth time at which point the crew affected repairs, but the effort took a little extra time and Kanaan came out in seventh place. He mustered all his considerable skill and made several attempts to charge back to the front, but in the end an incident with just 10 laps remaining ended his race.
“I was trying to go for it,” Kanaan said. ‘I had nothing to lose. I was trying to win the Oval championship. I got caught in the middle of traffic and just lost it. It’s a shame. We had a strong car when I was in front. It is what it is. Let’s move on and get ready for next year.”
Kanaan earned 12 points today and finished ninth in the championship race with 351 points. The 37-year-old Brazilian also finished second to Ryan Hunter-Reay in the A. J. Foyt oval championship, which goes to the driver with the most points in the five oval races this year. Kanaan, who ran to the end of 12 of the 15 races this year, scored eight top-10 finishes including seven top-six showings with three podium performances all on ovals, a season-high second at Milwaukee and thirds at Iowa and Indy (finished 11th at Texas). The ever popular, Kanaan contested his ninth race at Fontana. He has now finished in the top-10 six times including five top-five showings with three podiums and a best showing of second in his last two events here (2004 and 2005). He clinched both the 1997 Indy Lights title and the 2004 IndyCar championship here at Fontana.
Barrichello, No. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine, who made just his fifth start on an oval and first at Fontana, qualified 13th, but started sixth after the penalties. He was having a fantastic race running in the top-10 the entire time and getting as high a third. However, while working lap 108 he headed into turn one and had a non-team related mechanical failure which ended his night.
“I enjoyed myself a lot out there. I had a good car at the beginning and it was all going really well, but unfortunately it ended literally in fumes. I enjoyed being back on ovals and at Fontana. I need to thank my crew for their hard work this year and look forward to next year.”
Barrichello, 40, a veteran of 19 Formula One seasons, completed his first IndyCar season earning 12 points today and finished 12th in the standings with 289 points earning. The Brazilian super-star finished his rookie season with seven top-10 performances including two top-five showings (a season-high fourth at Sonoma and fifth at Baltimore) in 14 races this year (DNS on the oval at Texas and had a DNF at Detroit and Fontana all due to non-team related mechanical problems). More expressively, Barrichello, who had never competed on an oval prior to this year adapted quickly to oval racing. In addition to today’s solid if unrewarding performance and the DNS at Texas he finished seventh at Iowa, a 10th at Milwaukee and 11th in the Indianapolis 500, started 10th, where he earned the Chase Rookie of the Year Award.
Viso, in the No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone entry, who also made his first appearance at the Auto Club Speedway, qualified 22nd and started 11th after the penalties. He struggled with the car as he had all weekend and quickly dropped to the back of the field. During his second stint he made slight contact with the wall damaging the car and after trying to work through it came into the pits for good.
“This was one of the most frustrating weekends of my career. Starting with testing on Wednesday I had a car that was extremely difficult to drive because it lacked grip. I believed at the time it was because the track was very slick especially with the downforce levels we were running. Today I had the same feeling in the car, but I was really looking forward to the last race of the season. I was focused and I thought we had a chance to make it into the top-six. However, in the race I had to stop because I was lacking both front and rear grip. We aren’t sure what caused it, but we definitely need to investigate that.”
Viso earned 10 points today and finished 20th in the standings with 244 points. The talented young Venezuelan finished 13 of 15 events this year with neither DNF being his fault earning four top-10 finishes including a season-high fifth on the oval at Milwaukee. Viso was the victim of bad luck in several races this season, including having a mechanical problem at Indy, where he qualified ninth, a non-team related component failure while running in the top-five at Texas and getting taken out by Will Power at Iowa when he clearly had a car that could contend for the victory.
Source: KV Racing Technology