The Milwaukee Mile
KV Racing Technology – Lotus Driver E. J. Viso Ninth On Speed Charts After First Day Of Practice For Milwaukee 225; Kanaan 14th, Sato 16th
KV Racing Technology – Lotus driver E. J. Viso was ninth on the speed charts while teammates Tony Kanaan and Takuma Sato were 14th and 16th respectively after the first day of practice for Sunday’s Milwaukee 225 on the Milwaukee Mile in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Viso, #59 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, following up on his best performance of the season last week in Texas, had a fast lap of 165.197 mph (22.1191 seconds) on the challenging and slightly banked one-mile oval. Kanaan, #82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus posted a fast lap of 164.638 mph (22.1942 seconds), while Sato, #5 KV Racing Technology – Lotus, came in at 163.897 mph (22.2945 seconds).
Viso finished seventh in the first race in Texas and 10th in the second, earning consecutive top-10 showings for the first time in his IndyCar career. He also led two laps, his first of the season. For his effort, the 26-year-old Venezuelan won the Firestone Tire-ific Award, which is voted on by the fans for both races. Viso will be making his third start in Milwaukee having previously competed here in 2008 and 2009. He recorded a best qualifying position of 10th and a best finish of eighth both in his Milwaukee debut in 2008.
"We had a limited amount of practice time today because of an electronic problem,” Viso said. “We will continue to work our way through our program tomorrow and I’m curious to see how some of the changes will affect the car. I am sure that once we have been through our worksheet we will have a good conclusion to set up the car in the right direction for the race."
Viso, the victim of bad luck at the start the 2011 season, has now had three strong finishes in the last four races (finished 13th in Brazil). Although 20th in the standings with 88 points, Viso is just 20 points out of 10th place.
Kanaan, who finished 11th in the first event, fifth in the nightcap at Texas and led 39 laps, his first of the season, will be making his 12th appearance on the Milwaukee Mile (five starts in CART sanctioned events and six in the IndyCar Series). In 11 races, he has qualified in the top-10 eight times with a best starting position of second in 2004. He has finished in the top-10 seven times including five top-five performances with two wins, 2006 and 2007.
"The car felt good today,” Kanaan said. “We worked on the race setup a lot and made some improvements. I didn't run my second set of tires during the session and a lot of people did so that will help us. The car felt consistent through the run. All-in-all it was a good day for the GEICO - KV Racing - Lotus guys."
Kanaan has finished in the top-10 in five of the seven races this year (counting Texas as two races) with three top-five placements and a podium performance (third at St. Petersburg). The 36-year-old Brazilian, who is looking to establish a new IndyCar record for consecutive starts, at 139 (all-time record held by KVRT – Lotus co-owner Jimmy Vasser with 211), this weekend currently sits fifth in the championship race with 159 points and is just 10 points out of third.
Sato started an IZOD IndyCar career oval high fourth and finished a career oval high fifth in the first race in Texas, which also tied his career best IndyCar finish (first achieved this year in St. Petersburg). In the second race he placed 12th. The 34-year-old from Japan is making his first start on the Milwaukee Mile,
Commenting on today Sato said, “The conditions were quite a bit different from the last time we were here for the test. It was better today than when we tested so were able to try a few things and step-by-step we made a good progression with the setup. However, we still have a lot of work to do tomorrow.”
Sato, who will be contesting just his 25th IndyCar race and 12th on an oval, has opened the 2011 season strong. In addition to the fifth and 12th place finishes in Texas and the fifth at St. Petersburg, he finished eighth in Brazil where he led 23 laps (his first in an IndyCar). Sato is currently 10th in the championship standings with 118 points.