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The fight for first (and to finish) continues

by
Zach Houghton
| Jun 20, 2011

 

The weekend started about as well as one could ask for KV Racing Technology. Their drivers qualified P4-P6 for the IZOD IndyCar Series Milwaukee 225. They were what we'd term “racy”, with Takuma Sato, Tony Kanaan, and EJ Viso all taking turns in the Top 5. It was perhaps shaping up to be the best all-around team result of the weekend.

And that's when we were reminded just how quickly fortunes can turn in racing:

-EJ Viso was fighting his way to the front, continually in the Top 5, when he lost the car and crashed, ending his day. Outside of Texas, Viso has had some manner of incident in every race this season, and Milwaukee proved to be no different in that regard.

-Tony Kanaan had led for two stints in the race already when he spun and crashed while running a strong P2. He had appeared to have the strongest car out there on the day, and would have at least been in contention for the win.

-Even Takuma Sato, who seemed nearly as strong as Kanaan, ended up being sent backwards after hitting a crew member in the pits. He fought his way back to a P8, but it was only consolation for a team that had started the day with such bright hopes.

It's become a theme for INDYCAR's hard-luck team; great efforts, only to be undone by mistakes or poor fortune. Sato was leading in Brazil, but lost on fuel strategy. Viso's generally fast, but seems doomed to have a bad, almost soul-crushing lapse or incident every weekend. Of course, Kanaan was the car to beat at Milwaukee, but the opportunity to take the checkered ended in almost the blink of an eye.

KV Racing serves as a reminder, in some ways. It's not enough in this series to be fast; you've got to be fast, consistent, and lucky if you want to win. KV seems to be able to nail any one or two of the three in 2011, but never the third.

Despite, the rough season, it's not all bad for KV Racing. Kanaan remains well-situated in overall series championship points, in P6 just behind Graham Rahal. Takuma Sato has ensconced himself in P9 in the standings, and should have some prime opportunities to move up if he can keep running well on both road and oval courses. For Viso, he needs to hope that his flashes of excellence finally come together in a sustained effort, not unlike his P3 at Iowa last year.

Of course, there's Kanaan's veteran leadership. He's worked especially well with Sato in setup and data-sharing, and there's every sign that having his presence is bringing a stabilizing influence to a team eager to erase memories of a nightmarish 2010 season.

Kanaan won at Iowa last year. Viso, as mentioned was on the podium. Sato's consistency seems to be gelling. For KV Racing, however, it will be at least one more week of frustration and unanswered questions. They have talented crews, with some of the best folks in the business working behind the scenes. They'll have more opportunities. Yes, KV Racing Technology can win this year, be it on an oval or twisty course. The only question is when the breaks will turn their way.

Zachary Houghton runs www.indycaradvocate.com, which features regularly-updated INDYCAR, IZOD IndyCar Series, and Mazda Road to Indy interviews, commentary, and more. You can find him on Twitter at @indycaradvocate.

 

6 Comments

  1. 1 Jane 04 Nov
    Umm, are you really just givnig this info out for nothing?
  2. 2 Zachary 21 Jun
    That's true, this is still a relatively young team, and they're still a threat to win. I do think they can take the checkered this year, and I'm excited to see what they have for the rest of the year. It's also been exciting to see a driver like Sato really come along this year.
  3. 3 Sole 20 Jun

    I guess that they need to organize themselves yet. They´re a young team that are very strong, but a young team anyway. There´s lot of things to learn. Ganassi and Penske, for name someone, doesn't became champions from night to day. I'm disappointed too, obviously, but is not to say that the drivers should be replaced. Tony makes a fantastic job, and he apologized for the mistake. They're very close time by time. Now we have to wait a little bit more, but the victory is going arrive this year. I've no  doubt about it.

  4. 4 Ken 20 Jun
    I think it's time to replace Terry.  EJ has had a string of bad luck this year... and not all of his doing.  Are you going to replace every driver who has a bad stint?  RHR is right up there this year also as far as having 'issues', are you going to replace him as well?  Everyone makes mistakes.  And everyone can have bad luck.  Let's just fire everyone who has a bad race or two... then we'll be left with... ummm... Nobody...
  5. 5 Zachary 20 Jun
    I think a lot of fans share the frustration right now, Terry. Not an easy thing to watch week after week. Let's see what Iowa holds.
  6. 6 Terry 20 Jun

     Time to replace EJ.

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