HVM RACING FINISHES 4th AT ST. PETE St. Petersburg, FL (April 6, 2008) - In their only 2nd start in the IndyCar Series, HVM and EJ Viso finished today's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in a strong 4th place, having climbed up though the ...
HVM RACING FINISHES 4th AT ST. PETE
St. Petersburg, FL (April 6, 2008) - In their only 2nd start in the IndyCar Series, HVM and EJ Viso finished today's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in a strong 4th place, having climbed up though the field from the 15th position, and leading 11 laps along the way.
The race started dramatically, as the skies opened up while sitting on the pre-grid, and the first 10 laps of the race were spent under caution as the track cleaners tried to clear the large puddles forming on the course. EJ drove a clean, consistent race, which is imperative when racing in the rain. He quickly moved up 5 spots to 10th after only 8 laps under green. On lap 34, the team decided to make a gamble with tires, as the racing line was getting dry. EJ pitted for slick tires and fuel under caution, and this proved to be a brilliant strategy. As the rest of the field made their pit stops under green flag conditions, EJ moved up to 3rd place. He was fighting with Vitor Meira and Enrique Bernoldi in a tight pack, but EJ ultimately passed both cars and took the lead on lap 48.
He led from lap 48 to 59, and was pulling away from the cars behind. When the caution flag came out on lap 60, EJ pitted, along with most of the other cars. The HVM crew had a beautiful stop, sending EJ out ahead of all the cars that had stopped. Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan got by EJ on two consecutive re-starts following more full-course yellows, and EJ was running in the 5th position. He moved up to 4th place as Ryan Hunter-Reay ran out of fuel with one lap remaining in the 2 hour race, moving EJ up to the 4th position to take the checkered flag. EJ turned the 6th fastest time on lap 55, while he was leading the race.
He was the 2nd Rookie to cross the finish line, and the 2nd of the new teams transitioning from the Champ Car World Series. Even though it is not a victory, the entire HVM crew celebrated their hard work spent these past two weeks since joining the newly unified IndyCar Series.
EJ Viso is currently 8th in IndyCar Series driver points (2nd of the Champ Car drivers) and 2nd in Bombardier LearJet Rookie of the Year standings.
Up next is the Grand Prix of Long Beach April 20.
"We had a great race strategy and a great car, and it almost paid out for us in the end. It was an enjoyable race, as I really like racing in the rain. We took a gamble when we put the slick tires on, but it paid off for us. Had it not been for the last two yellows, we would have been on the podium for sure. I'm really happy for the team, and proud of my crew who gave me a great car and amazing pit stops. We proved today that we can run with the big boys. I do think we will make it on the podium this year. Now we are going to Long Beach, back in the cars we know well, and we'll try to carry this momentum with us there and get us up there in the Championship and keep us in the Rookie chase."
Keith Wiggins, Team Owner:
"I am happy today that we showed the speed we had yesterday, but weren't able to take advantage of in qualifying. EJ is still a Rookie here in the U.S. and in the IndyCar Series, so we think he did an excellent job today. The crew equally did a magnificent job with strategy and pit stops. We had a good shot for the win, and we know that without the last yellow we would have at least been on the podium. But, it is a good outcome for our 2nd IndyCar Series race with a Rookie driver."