Leo Maia To Race in Menards Infiniti Pro Series INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, March 16, 2004 -- Leo Maia, a 23-year-old American, will drive for Brian Stewart Racing in the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro SeriesTM beginning with the Phoenix 100 on March ...
Leo Maia To Race in Menards Infiniti Pro Series
INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, March 16, 2004 -- Leo Maia, a 23-year-old American, will drive for Brian Stewart Racing in the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro SeriesTM beginning with the Phoenix 100 on March 20.
Maia, the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series champion, tested a Menards Infiniti Pro Series car at Texas Motor Speedway in front of three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford on March 15. Maia topped out at 183 mph, within 3 mph of last year's pole speed at that track.
"We took a very conservative approach," team owner Brian Stewart said. "We set the car up with a lot of downforce, and he still turned some very fast laps. We'll start off the same way in competition, but hopefully by the end of the season we'll be in the hunt for some wins."
"I'm really excited and kind of nervous," Maia said about moving over to the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. "I've only raced one oval before in my life so there will be a steep learning curve. I couldn't ask for a better situation. Brian Stewart has been around racing so long, it's a perfect team to make this step with."
Brian Stewart Racing has fielded cars in open-wheel racing for many years. The team has developed drivers such as Paul Tracy, Cristiano da Matta, Bryan Herta and IndyCar Series race winner Jacques Lazier.
Maia, who was born in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, but grew up in Oakland, Calif., joins four other drivers on the circuit who are 23 years of age or younger, including teammate Jesse Mason, 19.
The second race of the 12-race Menards Infiniti Pro Series season is the Phoenix 100 on March 20 at 4:45 EST. The race will be broadcast by ESPN2 at 3:30 p.m. EST on March 25.