MORAES EARNS FIRST INDYCAR CAREER FRONT ROW STARTING POSITION WILL START SECOND IN TOMORROW'S BRIDGESTONE INDY JAPAN 300 MILE MOTEGI, JAPAN - - SEPTEMBER 18, 2009 - - Round ...
MORAES EARNS FIRST INDYCAR CAREER FRONT ROW STARTING POSITION
WILL START SECOND IN TOMORROW'S BRIDGESTONE INDY JAPAN 300 MILE
MOTEGI, JAPAN - - SEPTEMBER 18, 2009 - - Round #16 2009 IndyCar Series season - - KV Racing Technology driver Mario Moraes earned the first front row starting position of his young IndyCar career qualifying second today for tomorrow's Bridgestone Indy Japan 300 Mile at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan.
Both Moraes and KVRT made their debut on the unique1.5-mile eggplant-shaped TRM oval, which requires drivers to shift gears each lap, a success. The talented Brazilian, who went out 13th of the 23 cars making an attempt, qualified with a four-lap average of 201.504 mph running four very consistent laps that varied by only .1379 of a second (1.021 mph) between the fastest and slowest lap. The qualifying run put Moraes at the top of the grid until the very end when Scott Dixon, going out last, snatched the pole. Moraes will grid the #5 Azul -- Votorantim - KV Racing Technology Honda/Dallara/Firestone car on the outside of Row #1.
"This is my first time here in Japan and at Motegi and I am so happy to have earned my first front row starting position," Moraes said. "The KV Racing Technology team has worked so hard all season and I really want to thank them. It is going to be a long race, but we will change a few things tonight and I feel confident because we already have a fast car, so hopefully we can have a good result tomorrow."
Moraes began the day by recording the sixth fastest lap in morning practice with a speed of 199.046 mph. In the afternoon session, he practiced with the second group and improved both his time and position despite the fact the team worked extensively on their race setup while running in traffic. Moraes recorded the second fastest speed in his group, 200.332 mph, which also placed him fifth on the combined practice report.
Moraes has now qualified in the top-eight six times out of seven on ovals (Iowa and Kentucky qualifying cancelled) and eight times in 13 total attempts (missed Mid-Ohio) this year. He has earned three top-five starting spots, including today's career high second and a road/street course career high fourth at Watkins Glen. Prior to joining KVRT for the 2009 season, Moraes had qualified in the top-10 in just one IndyCar event and never higher than 20th on an oval.
Moraes, 20, in his second IndyCar season, will be making just his 19th career oval start tomorrow. The talented and personable Brazilian is working on a streak of consecutive top-four finishes after earning the first podium of his career on the Chicagoland oval following a fourth place finish on the road course in Sonoma. Moraes has scored 67 points in the last two races and picked up three spots in the standings. He is currently 16th in the points with 248.
Tomorrow's race will be broadcast live on Versus on September 18 at 10:30 p.m. ET on Versus.