KV Racing Technology's Mario Moraes Qualifies Seventh For 2009 Indianapolis 500; Paul Tracy Bumped from Top-11 in Final 15 Minutes SPEEDWAY, IN - - MAY 9, 2009 - - Round ...
KV Racing Technology's Mario Moraes Qualifies Seventh For 2009 Indianapolis 500; Paul Tracy Bumped from Top-11 in Final 15 Minutes
SPEEDWAY, IN - - MAY 9, 2009 - - Round #4 2009 IndyCar Series season - - KV Racing Technology's Mario Moraes qualified seventh today for the 2009 Indianapolis 500, May 24, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana. Teammate Paul Tracy was in the top-11 after his qualifying attempt, but was bumped and will attempt to get into the race tomorrow.
Moraes, #5 KV Racing Technology -- Votorantim Honda/Dallara/Firestone, made two qualifying runs. The first attempt occurred just after the start of qualifying at 12:00 noon with Moraes posting a four-lap average of 222.470 mph. His initial attempt put him squarely in the top-11 until the final 15 minutes of qualifying, which concluded at 6:00 p.m. After getting bumped out of the top-11, Moraes made a second qualifying attempt and had a fantastic run recording an average speed of 223.331 mph. He will start the 2009 Indy 500 on the inside of Row #3.
"I want to thank the whole KV Racing -- Votorantim team. They did a great job today and I am very happy with our qualifying position," said Moraes. "During the first qualifying run we were a little conservative because of the wind. We added a lot of downforce which slowed the car, but still had a good qualifying run and were in ninth going into the afternoon. We did some practice laps in the late afternoon, with less downforce and knew that we could run faster. Then we got bumped out of the top-11, so we went back out with the less downforce setup and had a really good second qualifying run."
The team employed a different strategy with Tracy's qualifying attempt. With strong winds blowing and times clearly slower than they had been during practice the past few days, the team decided to pass when Tracy's turn first came around in the hope of getting better track and weather conditions later in the day. He made his qualifying attempt in the #15 GEICO -- KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone machine at just after 5:00 p.m. with improved conditions logging an average speed of 221.915 mph temporarily placing him 11th on the grid. However, with time rapidly running out he was bumped from the top-11 at which point he and the team decided to forgo another qualifying attempt preferring to keep the bigger picture in mind, winning the race. Tracy will participate in tomorrow's second round of qualifying and based on his times today should easily make the field for this year's race were his proven talent will surely make him competitive.
"I am disappointed for the GEICO -- KV Racing Technology team," Tracy said. "We just missed a little bit on the setup because I was loose in Turn #2. I think we need to run in the 222 mph range tomorrow to get into the show, which I know we can do."
Moraes will be contesting his second Indianapolis 500 and 12th race on an oval. The 20-year-old Brazilian, the second youngest driver in the series, made his IMS debut last year qualifying 28th and finishing 18th. In 11 previous oval events, Moraes has a best finish of 10th last year in Nashville (career best finish is seventh on the Watkins Glen road course also in 2008).
Tracy, a native of Canada will be attempting to qualify for his sixth Indy 500 and first with KVRT. In five previous races at the IMS he has a best qualifying effort of seventh in 1993. His best finish is a controversial runner-up performance in 2002.