KANAAN AND VISO WILL BE PENALIZED 10 GRID POSITIONS FOR UNAUTHORIZED ENGINE; BARRICHELLO TO START 11TH
[media-credit name=”iowacorn.org” align=”alignright” width=”168″][/media-credit]NEWTON, IA – June 22, 2012 – KV Racing Technology driversTony Kanaan, Rubens Barrichello and E. J. Viso technically qualified ninth, 13th and 16th respectively for tomorrow’s Iowa Corn 250 on the .875-mile Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. However, after penalties are assessed for unauthorized engine changes, it is predicted that Barrichello will start 11th, Kanaan 19th and Viso, last.
In a departure from normal single-car oval qualifications, three 30-lap heat races were held today to set the starting grid for tomorrow’s race. Qualification groups were determined by lap times recorded in today’s second (45-minute) practice session.
- Heat race No. 1 consisted of even-numbered positions, starting with the 10th-quickest practice time overall, and determine the even-numbered positions in the starting field from 10th down.
- Heat race No. 2 consisted of the odd-numbered positions, starting with the ninth-quickest practice time overall, and determine the odd-numbered positions in the starting field from ninth down.
- · Heat race No. 3 consisted of drivers ranked one through eight by combined practice times. Results of Race 3 determined the first four rows, with the winner taking the pole position.
Barrichello in the No. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone entry, was ninth after the second practice session with a fast lap of 17.4353 seconds (184.591 mph) just missing a chance to compete for the pole. He therefore ran in heat race No. 2. He started in the pole position, but dropped to third on lap six when both Alex Tagliani and teammate Tony Kanaan slipped past. Barrichello held station for the remaining 24 laps holding off Justin Wilson who made several attempts at passing. The third place finish in the odd-numbered heat race initially put Barrichello 13th on the grid, however after the penalties are assessed to other drivers, he will move up at least two positions putting him 11th tomorrow on the inside of row six.
“For a rookie it was a great day because I could do a 30 lap mini race,” Barrichello said. “I wasn’t sure whether I had a car to win, but it was good to race Tagliani and Kanaan and learn the high and low lines. My car was a little loose in places, but I feel more confident now for the race tomorrow.”
Kanaan, in the No. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV Racing Technology Chevrolet/Firestone machine, was 15th on the speed charts following the second practice with a lap of 17.5121 seconds (183.781 mph), so he also ran in heat race No. 2 which he won after going by Barrichello on lap six, then passing Tagliani on lap 20 and running away from the field over the final 10 laps of the race. The win would have put him ninth on the starting grid however, due to a 10 grid spot penalty he will receive for an unauthorized engine change, which was necessary due to high mileage, it is estimated that Kanaan will start 19th tomorrow on the inside of row 10.
“Great job by the GEICO | Mouser guys,” Kanaan said. “It’s doesn’t help getting a 10 grid penalty, but we will just have to battle from the back. We have a good car. It was nice having the 30 lap race so I can see how my car will react in the race tomorrow and I’m pleased with how it felt.”
Viso, driving the No. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV Racing TechnologyChevrolet/Firestone car, was 14th on the second practice reportposting a fast lap of 17.4940 seconds (183.972 mph) putting him in heat race
No. 1 where after starting third he finished fourth, which would have put him 16th on the grid. However, Viso was also penalized for an unauthorized engine change and will lineup near the back of the field.
“Iowa is a place that has provided me with a lot of satisfaction by giving me my first podium finish back in 2010,” Viso said. “This race is going to be very challenging. I am startingfrom the back of the field as a result of a penalty given to us by IndyCar because we changed the engine under the minimum mileage. This will also be a difficult race because of the change in the downforce rules. We are running a lot less downforce than in the past. Looking ahead, I have a lot of faith in the car that my crew is going to give me. So far I have had strong cars that have allowed me to fight hard in the races. That is what I am looking forward to doing tomorrow.”
Barrichello, who will contest just his third career oval race (he did not start in Texas because of a non-team related component failure) and first at Iowa, has qualified in the top-10 twice in nine races this year, both times on ovals, (10th in his Indianapolis 500 and a season-high fifth last weekend at Milwaukee, started third due to penalties). The 40-year-old Brazilian and Formula One veteran has fared well on ovals in his rookie IndyCar season In two starts, he has notched his first top-10 oval performance placing 10th last weekend in Milwaukee and finished 11th, earning the Chase Rookie of the Year Award, at Indy. Barrichello has had four top-10 performances in the first eight races this season and currently sits 16th in the championship standings with 138 points, just 35 points out of 10th.
Kanaan, who will be contesting his sixth race at Iowa, has qualified in the top-10 five times in six attempts here although because of the penalty he will only have four top-10 starts at Iowa. Kanaan’s best starting position here is third which he achieved last year. In five previous races he has finished on the podium twice including a win in 2010 (the 15th and most recent of his 15-year career) and a second last year. Kanaan has qualified in the top-10 a team-high seven times this season (season-high sixths at Barber and Milwaukee), but a penalty in Long Beach and the one here means he has only started five of nine races in the top-10. Kanaan has qualified in the top-10 for all four oval events this year. This will be the first time he won’t start in the top-10 on an oval. The 37-year-old Brazilian, who has been strong in the oval races, has earned four top-six finishes this season including a season-high second at Milwaukee (third at Indy). He is eighth in the championship race with 200 points, 74 points out of first and second in the A. J. Foyt Oval Championship with 101 points just seven points behind the leader.
Viso, who will be contesting his fifth race at Iowa, has a best qualifying position of 13th in 2008 and a best finish of third, his IndyCar career-high in 2010. He has qualified in the top-10 five times this season including making the Firestone Fast Six, the final round of street/road course qualifying twice and twice on ovals (an Indy 500 career high ninth, eighth at Milwaukee, started fifth due to penalties). His career best oval qualifying effort is a sixth at Milwaukee last year. Viso has qualified a season-high fifth twice, first at Long Beach (started 15th due to a penalty assessed an unauthorized engine change) and at Detroit. The 27-year-old Venezuelan has scored three top10 finishes including a season-high fifth last weekend at Milwaukee (the third top-five performance ofhis career) and is 14th in the standings with 148 points, just 25 points out of 10th place.
In the first practice session, Kanaan led the team with the 11th fastest lap posting a speed of 182.422 mph. Viso was 13th on the speed charts with a lap of 181.984 mph while Barrichello was 24th with a speed of 178.001 mph.
The Iowa Corn Indy 250 will be broadcast live on Saturday, June 23 on NBC starting at 9:00 p.m. ET.
KV Racing Technology was founded in January 2003 and joined the IndyCar Series in 2008. The Indianapolis based team is owned by successful venture capitalist Kevin Kalkhoven and 1996 IndyCar Champion Jimmy Vasser. Veteran Motorsports manager, Mark Johnson, is the team’s General Manager. Johnson is assisted by Team Manager Tom Wurtz, Technical Director Eric Cowdin and Operations Manager Steve Moore.