KVRT'S MARIO MORAES FINISHES SEVENTH IN FIRESTONE INDY 300 HOMESTEAD, FL - - OCTOBER 9, 2009 - - Round ...
KVRT'S MARIO MORAES FINISHES SEVENTH IN FIRESTONE INDY 300
HOMESTEAD, FL - - OCTOBER 9, 2009 - - Round #17 2009 IndyCar Series season - - KV Racing Technology driver Mario Moraes had his fourth consecutive strong performance finishing seventh today in the Firestone Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida.
Moraes, contesting his second race on the 1.5-mile oval, started 10th and ran just inside the top-10 for the first three quarters of the race. Then, just after his final pit stop, he moved into seventh place where the #5 Azul -- Votorantim -- KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone car remained until the checkered flag.
"The KV Racing Technology team didn't qualify the way we wanted then we lost some more ground during the first stint of the race," Moraes said. "But, for the last two stints the car was really good, and on the last stint I had one of the fastest cars on the track, so I was able to pick up some positions. Of course I am a little disappointed, but finishing seventh wasn't too bad."
Today's seventh place finish is Moraes' fourth straight top-seven showing and caps an outstanding last quarter of the season that has produced a series of impressive performances. Six weeks ago at Infineon Raceway Moraes scored the first top-five finish of his career placing fourth. Since then he has added his first career podium, a third at Chicagoland, followed by a hard fought fifth at Japan, where he qualified a career high second to earn his first front row starting spot, before finishing seventh here at Homestead. Moraes scored 26 points today. He has tallied 123 points in the last four races and picked up five spots in the standings. Moraes concludes his second IndyCar season 14th in the championship standings with 304 points. He finished 21st in the standings in his rookie season.
"This was a very tough season for a lot of reasons," said Moraes. "We had had a fast car all season especially in qualifying. But there were a lot of things going on and we had some bad luck, then things changed and started going our way. We had some good races at the end of the season finishing in the top-five and getting our first podium, so overall, because of the way we ended the season I am happy."
Moraes, 20, the second youngest driver in the series, made his 32nd IndyCar career start and 20th on an oval today. The talented and determined native of Brazil concludes his first season with KVRT, one that was emotionally charged by the illness and eventual passing of his father, having set a number of career marks. In route to his career high finish in the standings he earned six top-10 finishes in 16 starts (missed Mid-Ohio) including his first three top-five showings and his first career podium (had just three top-10 showings all last year). Moraes scored career high finishes on nine of the 16 tracks this year including career best performances on an oval, the third at Chicagoland, and on a road/street course, the fourth at Infineon Raceway.
Moraes went on to say, "I definitely learned a lot from last year to this year. Actually, I learned more this year than at any other time in my racing career. For that I have to thank Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser, Mark Johnson, all the KVRT engineers and mechanics. Everyone worked hard all season and did a great job."