KV RACING TECHNOLOGY HAS PRODUCTIVE FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE FOR 96TH RUNNING OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
SPEEDWAY, IN. – May 12, 2012 – KV Racing Technology had a productive first day of practice in preparation for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.
On a day when it was more important to shake the new cars down and get a feel for the track than to produce the fastest speeds, Tony Kanaan, in the No. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone car, led the team with a fast lap of 217.741 mph on the historic 2.5-mile speedway oval putting him fifth on the speed charts E. J. Viso, who pilots the No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine, posted a quick lap of 216.490 mph placing him 15th on the practice report. Rubens Barrichello, behind the wheel of the No. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone entry, who is attempting to qualify for his first Indy 500, recorded a fast lap of 215.340 giving him the 20th fastest lap of the day.
Kanaan, who is making his 11th appearance at the Brickyard, ran 20 laps today all in the backup car (11T). The 37-year-old Brazilian has qualified in the top-six in eight of his 10 previous races at the Speedway with one pole, in 2005. He has finished in the top-10 five times with a best showing of second in 2004 (placed third in 2003, fourth in 2011 and fifth in 2008). Kanaan, who has led a total of 214 laps at the speedway and is the only driver in history to lead laps in his first seven Indy 500 starts, is 14th in the championship race with 71 points with a season high fourth place finish in Long Beach.
“It was a good day,” said Kanaan. “We were just trying to get everybody into the Indy 500 mood. We ran the T-car (backup car) today to make sure everything was alright and we have no concerns there. It was a smooth day.”
Viso,completed 29 laps today steadily making his way through the program for the day and consistently putting sets of laps together as he patiently worked his way up to the 216 mph mark. The 27-year-old Venezuelan is competing at IMS for the fifth time. In four previous races he has a best qualifying position of 18th in 2011 and a best finish off 24th in 2009. Viso has had a good start to the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season. He has earned two top-10 finishes (eighth at St. Petersburg and ninth at Brazil) along with a 12th place showing in Long Beach in the first four races and is currently13th in the championship standings with 76 points.
Commenting on his practice session today, Viso said, “The Indianapolis 500 mile race is the most famous and respected race in the world, so you always look forward to first day of practice and running laps on this track. We had a good, productive day and I am very happy and excited that our first day went exactly as we planned. We achieved everything we needed to today. The setup on the car was pretty stable, so I am looking forward to trying some new things tomorrow.”
Barrichello, who ran 83 laps with a fast time of 214.083 mph on Thursday May 10 when he completed the Indy 500 Rookie Orientation Program (ROP), logged another 35 laps today, the most of the KVRT trio. The 39-year-old Brazilian, a veteran of 19 Formula One seasons, is the only “rookie” to have won at the Brickyard taking the checkered flag here in the United States Grand Prix Formula One race in 2002 (a road course race that incorporated part of the IMS oval). Barrichello, who is looking to compete in his first Indy 500 and in fact first oval race, has very limited oval track time. In addition to the ROP and today’s laps his experience is limited to a test session on the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway oval earlier this week. Barrichello is 11th in the standings on the strength of three consecutive top-10 finishes (eighth at Barber, ninth at Long Beach and 10th in Brazil) after placing 17th in his IndyCar debut in St. Petersburg.
"My day was very straight forward,” Barrichello said. “We didn’t' have the speed for some reason as I had the same setup as my teammates. However, it is very good we have had this at the beginning of the week, so we can analyze and see what’s wrong. I felt comfortable in the car and improved my speed from ROP on Thursday, but it is not as fast as what we had expected. We have a lot of work to do for tomorrow and the rest of the week."
Practice began promptly at 12 noon with the first KVRT car taking to the track at 12:30 p.m. when Kanaan turned one “installation” lap. All three cars ran laps in the first hour before heading to the garage for setup changes. Kanaan and Viso ran a second shift, but both returned to the garage before 4:00 (third and 11th on the speed charts at the time). Barrichello, who is trying to get as much track time as possible, ran until the checkered flag ended the day at 6:00 p.m. A total of 26 cars turned a total of 693 laps today. Josef Newgarden posted the fastest speed at 220.250 mph.