MORAES DRIVES TO TOP FIVE AT WATKINS GLEN
FOR KV RACING TECHNOLOGY THREE-CAR EFFORT
Viso Passes 14 Cars For 11th, Sato Takes 15th Sunday
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 4, 2010) -- Mario Moraes, the youngest regular in the IZOD IndyCar Series, recorded his best 2010 finish Sunday in a grueling 60-lap feature event at the legendary Watkins Glen International Raceway with an impressive fifth place finish in the No. 32 KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone entry.
Moraes, the talented 21-year-old Brazilian, came from his ninth starting spot to pass Justin Wilson, Marco Andretti and Dan Wheldon late in the race and score his first Top Five finish since last year on the 17-race open-wheel campaign. Moraes, whose best finish previously this year was sixth at Long Beach, drove a similar race to the California run where he came from 14th to sixth. Moraes and his KVRT crew managed fuel strategy masterfully as Mario raced wheel-to-wheel with Wheldon, Rafael Matos, Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay to the finish.
Moraes' crew was also superb Sunday. The No. 32 KVRT squad picked up several positions for Moraes in pit lane with sensational pit stops that pushed the young driver into a battle with the leaders. His best road finish is fourth at Sonoma last year.
E.J. Viso, driver of the No. 8 PDVSA -- KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine, experienced an adventurous weekend after Saturday morning's frightening turn two crash that required the Venezuelan to move to a backup car and to the end of the 25-driver starting lineup. Viso was unable to qualify on Saturday as his crew built a new car for Sunday's feature. But like Iowa two weeks ago when he passed 16 cars to place third, Viso passed 14 drivers Sunday at Watkins Glen to produce a solid 11th place.
Rookie Takuma Sato, in the No. 5 Lotus -- KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine, turned in his best qualifying effort Saturday and started fifth on the grid. In the early portion of the race, Sato battled in the lead pack and moved to fourth in his debut at the famed Watkins Glen circuit. Unfortunately, Sato's charge to the front was halted later in the race when his car's performance wasn't similar to the earlier laps. After a late pit stop, Sato was able to collect the 15th place at the checkered flag.
The KVRT trio will be joined by Canadian star Paul Tracy in the next round of the IZOD IndyCar Series in the annual Honda Indy Toronto set for July 16-18. Tracy, driving the No. 15 Make A Wish/Honda Canada Honda/Dallara/Firestone car, is a past Toronto winner and huge favorite in his hometown.
MARIO MORAES, #32 KV RACING TECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE, Finished 5th:""I can tell you that the last two races were tough for the KV Racing Technology team with not finishing. I am happy with the team as they gave some position on pit lane today. I was able to gain some positions on the track. I worked really hard on fuel conservation today. We managed the fuel very well. I think I finished with nothing in the fuel tank. Overall, it was good day to get back into the Top Five again. And hopefully we can improve for the Toronto race. I love Toronto. It is a great track and I love to race there. I think we can get a strong run there and finish higher on today's finish."
E.J. VISO, #8 PDVSA - KV RACING TECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE, Finished 11th: ""It was a straight forward race for me. I just kept listening to my engineer, Bill Pappas, and driving as hard as I could. I was pretty much driving a blind race because we pitted early for a different strategy. I didn't have many people in front of me until the end when I was able to make several overtaking moves. It was difficult to keep the pace throughout the race because I lost the readings on my dashboard. I didn't get any lap times or sectors on my screen. I just listened to Bill all day and he is good at giving me information and strategy. It is a shame we didn't qualifying. Because, if I had been in the Top Ten in qualifying, I think I could have been in the Top Four today. We had a good car all weekend. Just the (Saturday practice) incident hurt our overall weekend. Again, I had to pass a lot of cars. I passed 14 cars today. We passed 16 at Iowa. It would be good to start further up the grid for Toronto."
TAKUMA SATO, #5 LOTUS - KV RACING TECHNOLOGY HONDA/DALLARA/FIRESTONE, Finished 15th: "I'm very disappointed. The race started very well, it was exciting and I was able to move up a position. In the first stint, I was running fourth and comfortably with the leaders. But after the first pit stop, we lost positions and speed and that then made it a very hard race to the end. I was hoping to have a very strong race, but we did still learn a lot today. I'm ready to get the Lotus car into a strong position at the next race in Toronto."