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Lotus Looking To Finish 2011 Izod Indycar Series Season With Strong S

Mark H

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Lotus will be looking to finish the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season with strong showings and two-cars in the top-10 in the final standings at this weekend’s IZOD IndyCar World Championships at Las Vegas Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Although all three KVRT – Lotus drivers will be making their first appearance on the 1.5-mile D-shaped oval, the team has been exceptionally competitive on ovals this year.  In the seven oval races contested this year, counting Texas as two starts, KVRT – Lotus has finished in the top-10 eight times, including four top-five showings and one podium performance. The team has earned one pole and led laps at Texas, Milwaukee, Iowa and New Hampshire.


Tony Kanaan, No. 82 GEICO – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, currently fifth in the championship race with 366 points, is having his best season in three years and is looking to become the first KVRT driver to finish in the top-five in the standings.  Team co-owner Jimmy Vasser holds the team’s season high finish placing sixth in the standings in 2005.  Kanaan leads KVRT – Lotus with nine top-10 finishes including seven top-five showings and three podiums (second at Iowa, thirds at St. Petersburg and Baltimore).  In six oval events this year the 36-year-old Brazilian has earned three top-five finishes with one podium (Indy 500, fourth; Texas race No. 2, fifth and Iowa, second) and led 97 laps (Texas No. 2 , 39, Milwaukee, 33 and Iowa, 25). 


"I'm excited to go to Vegas for the season finale,” Kanaan said. “Although I've never raced there I have been to the track in the past for some sponsor commitments and I think it's the perfect place for the championship race.  IndyCar did a great job promoting this weekend and I'm confident that we'll have a good race for our fans.  Everyone at the GEICO - KV - Lotus team worked hard all year and I want to reward them by having a good race and securing the 5th spot in the championship."


Takuma Sato, No. 5 MGM Grand – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, is having a solid year in his second IndyCar season.  He has been in and out of the top-10 in the points all year and is currently 13th in the standings with 297 points, just 17 out of 10th.  The 34-year-old from Japan has finished in the top-10 seven times this year including his first three IndyCar top-five finishes (career-high fourth at Mid-Ohio, fifths at St. Petersburg and Texas). He has also earned his first two IndyCar poles (Iowa, oval and Edmonton, street circuit) becoming the first Japanese driver to do this and led his first IndyCar race (Brazil) and subsequently three others.  On ovals, Sato has earned three top-10 finishes (oval career-high fifth at Texas race No. 1, seventh at New Hampshire and an eighth at Milwaukee) and earned his first career IndyCar pole and led his first oval laps, seven, at Iowa (also led 13 laps at New Hampshire).


“Hard to believe it is already the final round of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar series,” Sato said.  “Las Vegas will be a major big event as the League has planned many promotions and lots of events. I have a final school visit for With you Japan campaign there and look forward to seeing all the students and to inviting a hundred of them to the race - so a big thank you for the special support from the League. The track should be straightforward but after our difficult last race, we will have a different approach and it should be bring us back on the pace.


E. J. Viso, No. 59 PDVSA – KV Racing Technology – Lotus, is currently 18th in the standings with 241 points.  The 26-year-old Venezuelan has finished in the top-10 four times this year, twice on ovals, a season-high seventh in race one at Texas and 10th in the second plus road-course season-high ninths at Toronto and Sonoma.  He has led two laps on an oval this year both at Texas No. 2.


The season ending IZOD IndyCar World Championships will be held October 13-16, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The race will be broadcast live on October 16 on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET.


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