HVM Racing collected their fourth top-10 finish of the season during Saturday night's SunTrust Indy Challenge at the .75-mile Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. An untimely caution cost the team a chance of a lead-lap finish, but driver E.J.
HVM Racing collected their fourth top-10 finish of the season during Saturday night's SunTrust Indy Challenge at the .75-mile Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. An untimely caution cost the team a chance of a lead-lap finish, but driver E.J. Viso missed the nine cautions that plagued the event and finished in the 10th position. It's the team's fourth top-10 finish of the season.
Viso, piloting the No. 33 PDVSA HVM Racing Honda Dallara, started the evening in the 19th spot. It didn't take long for the caution flag to fly. An accident on lap one set the tone for the rest of the evening. A total of 10 cars were eliminated from the race because of contact. A total of 102 laps of the 300-lap race were run under caution, second most in IndyCar Series history.
The team took advantage of the seven cautions before the halfway point to position themselves in the second position by lap 141- a remarkable improvement from their starting position. On the next stint, with the car not quite to his liking, Viso slipped back to the seventh position, but was running ahead of most IndyCar veterans. In fact, many drivers who wrecked have more starts at Richmond than HVM Racing has in their short IndyCar Series career.
The team made their final visit down pit lane on lap 215 for fuel and tires. Three laps later a caution came out allowing everyone else to pit under caution and the team was sent one lap down. The result, Viso and the team were left in the 10th position to finish the race on a lap of their own. That is where Viso finished the evening.
"The first part of race was tough to find a rhythm," said Viso. "There were accidents right in front of me. There was one on the straightaway and one in Turn 3. I had to dive off the banking and onto pit road to avoid the later one. After that, the car was loose. We made our pit stop, and the car improved a lot. We were running as fast as the leaders."
"The yellow really ruined our strategy," explained Viso. "If it came out three or four laps earlier that would have been perfect for us. We will take this and move onto Watkins Glen."
HVM Racing earned 20 points in the IndyCar Series championship. They moved into the 12th position. HVM Racing is currently the second-highest "transition" team in championship standings behind only the two-car stable to KV Racing.
"We tried to make the best of what we could," said car owner Keith Wiggins after the race. "If that yellow didn't come out when it did, and losing a lap, it's just unfortunate. We would have been in a position to be higher up.
"I'm glad it came home in one piece," continued Wiggins. "We live to fight another day. It's our first time here, and we knew it was going to be 'busy' on the track. There were more cars here than previous years. There are only so many you can put in a ring. I expected to see cautions, but you never really know how it's going to pan out. We did well with all the circumstances tonight."
HVM Racing will next race at the Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International road course next Sunday.