Today's IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and Mazda Road to Indy headlines:
1. Viso confirmed by KV Racing Technology
2. Rettich to compete in USF2000
3. Afterburner Autosport joins USF2000 grid
1. Viso confirmed by KV Racing Technology: KV Racing Technology co-owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser announced that E. J. Viso will return to the team for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
Viso, 26, will drive the No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA - KV Racing Technology Chevrolet with additional support from Herbalife, Mindeporte CANTV and SBA Airlines.
"We are delighted to welcome E. J. back for his third season with KVRT," said Kalkhoven. "He has shown speed in his previous two years and this year we expect many more successful finishes from him."
Added Vasser: "We are very excited to have E. J. back with us for 2012. Over the last two years he has shown the determination and desire to compete at the highest level and we look forward to him having a very successful 2012 season."
The personable Venezuelan-born driver will be contesting his fifth IZOD IndyCar season and third with KVRT. In 2011, Viso scored four top-10 finishes with a season-best seventh place showing in Texas Race No. 2. In 67 career starts, Viso has earned 13 top-10 finishes with a career-high third place on the oval at Iowa in 2010 and a street/road course best of fourth at St. Petersburg in 2008 in just his second IndyCar start.
He expects 2012 to be his breakout year.
"I am really happy to be back with KV Racing Technology," Viso said. "Last year was very successful even if the results don't necessarily reflect what we wanted. We worked very hard and we proved we were competitive. The progress we made over the last two years will be a key to our success in 2012.
"I want to thank all my sponsors for their support over the years. I look forward to rewarding them with many strong performances this season."
2. Rettich to compete in USF2000: SCCA Formula Enterprise standout Scott Rettich will compete in the 2012 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda's national class with Alliance Autosport, team officials announced.
Rettich will drive the No. 71 Formula Enterprises Alliance Autosport entry, the same car that he has established a strong record of success in Formula Enterprises competition.
Rettich has won two Formula Enterprises SCCA National Championships, the SCCA Pro Racing Formula Enterprises Championship in 2011, the Formula Enterprises SCCA Triple Crown in 2010, and the Formula Enterprises SCCA Super Sweep in 2010 and 2011.
Rettich has also won multiple championships in sports racers and has been competing in Grand-Am Rolex GT events as well.
"I am very excited to enter the USF2000 Series," Rettich said. "The series has many great venues on the schedule and I am really looking forward to competing at INDYCAR and ALMS events. I really enjoy racing in front of large crowds. We have a few new things to learn with the Cooper tires, but I am confident that the Alliance Autosport crew can continue to give me a winning car. I would like to thank Mazda, Dan Anderson, and SCCA Enterprises for allowing Formula Enterprises into the USF2000 National class. I would also like to thank PDI Communication Systems, Springboro Car Wash, and Red Line Oil for their continual support of my racing career."
3. Afterburner Autosport joins USF2000 grid: Minnesota-based Afterburner Autosport announced plans to contest the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda.
As part of an expansion of race operations, the Minnesota-based squad will field a multi-car effort in the Mazda Road to Indy series this season.
Under the guidance of team principal Tim Walsh and team manager Brian Tomasi, Afterburner Autosport has quickly evolved into a premier Formula 2000-based team. Building on the success of two SCCA Formula Continental National Championship titles and several pro F2000 podium finishes, Afterburner will take the next step toward its goal of becoming one of the leading junior formula car squads in North America by competing in the 2012 edition of the USF2000 Championship.
The squad is not only focused on challenging for championship honors, but also helping train and develop the next stars of the sport, and will run three Van Diemen Mazda entries throughout the 13-race campaign.
"We are very excited about racing in the USF2000 Championship in 2012 and joining the Mazda Road to Indy program," Walsh said. "The goal right from day one will be to challenge for top honors, and we believe have all the tools to do that."
The driver line-up is currently in final negotiations and an experienced crew of engineers and mechanics is being assembled to position this program as a player in the series beginning with the season opener at Sebring in March.
"Afterburner Autosport is ready to take the next step this season," added Tomasi. "With the drivers and equipment that we have assembled this year we should come out fighting."