The Milwaukee Mile
KV Racing Technology – Lotus Has Best Izod Indycar Series Qualifying Result
Team Places All Three Cars In Top-Six Kanaan To Start Fourth, Sato Fifth, Viso Sixth
KV Racing Technology – Lotus had their best qualifying result since joining the IZOD IndyCar Series placing all three cars in the top-six for tomorrow’s Milwaukee 225 on the Milwaukee Mile in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Kanaan, #82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, qualified a team high fourth with a two-lap average of 169.365 mph on the challenging and slightly banked one-mile oval. Sato, #5 KV Racing Technology – Lotus, will start fifth after posting a qualifying speed of 169.308 mph while Viso, #59 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, will line-up sixth with an average speed of 169.082 mph.
Kanaan will be contesting his 12th race on the Milwaukee Mile (five previous starts in CART sanctioned events and six in the IndyCar Series). He has now qualified in the top-10 nine times in 12 tries here 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. This is Kanaan’s best qualifying effort of the 2011 season and the fourth time he will start in the top-10.
“It was a really great effort today by the boys and my KVRT teammates,” Kanaan said. “Amazingly, since we unloaded the GEICO - KV - Lotus car off the truck we've been quick. I will say I hadn't made this track all the way around flat out this weekend until qualifying, so I owe a 'thank you' to Viso and Sato because we mixed our setups together for quals and I think it paid well for all of us. I have to say that I am so happy to be back at Milwaukee, I have missed the butterfly in my stomach feeling and getting out of the car shaking a little after qualifying...it's a real race track. I'll tell you, not bad today for an old man and a young team.”
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). With tomorrow’s start, the 36-year-old Brazilian will establish a new IZOD IndyCar record for consecutive starts, at 139 (all-time record held by KVRT – Lotus co-owner Jimmy Vasser with 211). Kanaan currently sits fifth in the championship race with 159 points and is just 10 points out of third.
Sato, who is making his first appearance in Milwaukee, will start in the top-five for the second week in a row. He qualified an IndyCar career oval high fourth last week in Texas and has now qualified in the top-10 four times this season. Sato will be contesting just his 25th IndyCar race and 12th on an oval tomorrow.
Commenting on today’s result Sato said, “It has been a very successful day. Overnight we worked and made some very positive changes and the car was working well. As a result I was able to really commit during the qualifying run, which was very exciting. The whole team did a great job. We had a good day.
Sato’s 2011 season includes IndyCar career high fifth place finishes at St. Petersburg (street circuit) and Texas (oval) and an eighth in Brazil where he led 23 laps, his first in an IndyCar, but was forced to pit for a splash of fuel late in the race. The 34-year-old from Japan is currently 10th in the championship standings with 118 points.
Viso will be making his third start in Milwaukee having previously competed here in 2008 and 2009. The sixth place starting spot is his IndyCar career high oval qualifying position surpassing an eighth place starting spot in Motegi last year (his career high is a fourth at Long Beach in 2009). It is also his best qualifying position of the season, the first time he will start in the top-10 this year and his best starting spot in four attempts at Milwaukee. His best finish is eighth in his Milwaukee debut in 2008.
"We made a good progression over the weekend,” Viso said. “We came with a “mix and match” setup coming from a compilation of the three cars. It’s so nice to be working properly as a team. There are so many good things coming ahead if we keep this effort and momentum going. It also shows how strong we are getting as a team to put three cars in the top-six. My crew has done a great job after coming from a tough beginning. The key is to stay positive and it will all come together. I believe we have a very consistent race setup that is going to take me fast to the end of the race."
Viso is coming off his strongest performance of the season, a pair of top-10 finishes in the two races in Texas (seventh in the first race and 10th in the second). The 26-year-old Venezuelan appears to have turned the corner following a string of bad luck that plagued him at the start of the season. He has now had three strong showings 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.
In morning practice Kanaan led the team with a fast lap of 167.573 mph (21.8054 seconds) good for third on the speed charts. Sato was 11th at 166.636 mph (21.9280) and Viso 16th, 165.276 mph (22.1085 seconds). The afternoon practice prior to qualifying saw Sato post the team’s quickest lap at 169.086 mph (21.6103 seconds) good for second on the speed charts with Kanaan fourth, 168.914 mph (21.6323 seconds) and Viso seventh, 168.817 mph (21.6447 seconds). Both Kanaan and Sato were at the top of the speed chart when they stopped running and at one point in the closing minutes of the session KVRT – Lotus was second (Sato), third (Kanaan) and fourth (Viso).