HIDEKI & NHR LOOK FORWARD TO RETURN TO ROAD / STREET COURSES After two months of racing on ovals, the IZOD IndyCar Series (IICS) will hold five consecutive road and street events beginning with this Sunday's Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen.
HIDEKI & NHR LOOK FORWARD TO RETURN TO ROAD / STREET COURSES
After two months of racing on ovals, the IZOD IndyCar Series (IICS) will hold five consecutive road and street events beginning with this Sunday's Camping World Grand Prix at the Glen. Hideki is looking forward to the change. "I'm looking forward to racing on road and street courses. It's good to change your focus to something different and have a fresh approach. We struggled on the ovals so it's good to refresh your mind. Newman/Haas qualified well last year at Watkins Glen. I am looking forward to racing there again."
THIRD IZOD INDYCAR SERIES EVENT FOR NHR AT WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL
This will mark the sixth event for the IICS on the 3.37-mile, 11-turn course since their first event here in 2005. It will be the third event for NHR here. In 2008, Justin Wilson lost pole by a mere four-hundredths of-a-second and started second for NHR Gear box oil was found to be leaking on his first stop on Lap 7 under caution and he later retired from the race in 25th place on Lap 22 with gearbox failure. Graham Rahal crashed in the Saturday morning practice which contributed to an 18th place qualifying position but he rebounded to finish eighth. In 2009, Rahal qualified fifth but failed the post qualifying tech inspection for being a few pounds underweight. He was penalized 10 positions and started 15th, ran as high as second on an alternate pit strategy but finished 13th. Robert Doornbos started 17th in the two-day event at Watkins Glen after mechanical problems on Saturday and matched his top finish of ninth place. The team has put one car in the Firestone Fast Six both of their events here to date and hopes to continue that.
NHR ON ROAD/STREET COURSES
Since being formed by Carl Haas and Paul Newman in the fall of 1982, the team has earned a total of 107 wins and 109 pole positions. x0 of their 107 wins and 90 of their 109 poles came on road and street courses. The team's previous win on a road/street course came at Detroit when Justin Wilson drove to victory in Round 16 of 17. Their previous pole on a road/street course came on 4-4-09 when Graham Rahal became the youngest pole winner in series history in St. Pete. Nine of the 17 races on the 2010 schedule are on road/street courses.
THIRD INDY CAR RACE FOR HIDEKI AT WATKINS GLEN
The 2010 race will be Mutoh's third IICS event at Watkins Glen. In his rookie season with Andretti Green Racing he started 20th and finished ninth in 2008. In 2009 he started 12th, ran as high as second and finished 18th after contact on L52 of 60 in Turn 5. He competed in two Indy Lights events here in 2007. In the first of the Twin 100's he started fourth and finished second. In the second race the following day, he started fifth and finished sixth. "I ran at Watkins Glen in Indy Lights but 2008 was my first time in an Indy car here and I had to learn how to maximize the car around the track," recalled Mutoh about his previous events at Watkins Glen International. "As a team, I don't think we had a good car setup for qualifying; we struggled big time. But in the race I think we had a great strategy and good pit stops so we gained positions there. In 2009 we started 12th and in the race I think we were good with the option tires and I passed many cars on the track on the first stint. At one point I was running third or fourth. Then we had a bad pit stop and dropped to ninth or tenth and were on primary tires and the balance was very bad; terrible. I had a lot of over steer and finally I lost the back end and hit the wall in Turn 5 and that was it."
MUTOH LOOKING TO BUILD MOMENTUM WITH GOOD RESULT AT THE GLEN
To date the highlight of Mutoh's season is a fourth place starting position on the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway oval. He ran fourth in the late stages of the race but an attempt to lap a car on a restart ended with contact. He is hoping for his first top-10 finish of the season at Watkins Glen. "For the race we need to finish in a single number (top-nine). All we need is a minimum result to be able to make a step forward and build some momentum. Having two hours of practice is the same for everyone but not enough time. We have been racing on ovals for two months so that is another reason it would be good to have more time to practice. The team has a lot of success on road and street courses and that will hopefully help us."
HIDEKI ON THE CHALLENGES OF WATKINS GLEN
"The course is very challenging," said Mutoh. "The combination of high-speed, mid-speed and low-speed turns makes this one of the most challenging race tracks, especially the area on the back straight and through the chicane. You have to carry a lot of momentum and need to make a lot of effort to drive into the corner. It's very bumpy and you need to get the most out of the car."
MUTOH RECHARGED AFTER HIS SECOND TRIP TO JAPAN SINCE THE SEASON STARTED
"I was able to go to Japan for six days since we had a weekend off," said Mutoh. "It always feels good to go home to see my family and friends. We just hung out and relaxed. I didn't go crazy, crazy."