Apr 28, 2012
SÃO PAULO, Brazil – Raphael Matos isn’t competing in the Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestle but he is busy promoting Indy car racing in his home country.
Matos, the 2009 IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year who hopes to secure sponsorship to return to the series, represented the Mazda Road to Indy during a news conference at the Anhembi circuit. The Mazda Road to Indy is comprised of Firestone Indy Lights, Star Mazda and USF2000.
“I am working with Mazda to help promote the Mazda Road to Indy here in Brazil,” said Matos, the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights champion. “I am the only driver to win on every step of the ladder, and I think having me speak on behalf of ladder and INDYCAR can help bring more Brazilian drivers to Star Mazda, Indy Lights and USF2000.”
Matos, who has competed in sports car races earlier this year, was joined by Firestone Indy Lights driver J.V. Horto of Juncos Racing, who has been in his home country promoting the event.
“It’s a big thing to be involved in this event,” Horto said. “I want to help the (Mazda Road to Indy) and hopefully helping the series will help me and other Brazilian drivers. The more we can get the media and sponsors interested in the ladder series, the better it can be.”
Legge endures torn ligament, back-row start: Katherine Legge suffered a torn ligament in her left thumb in an on-track incident at Long Beach two weeks ago.
“It’s OK. The adrenaline of being in the car masks the pain,” she said.
Because of an unapproved change of the Lotus engine at Long Beach, Legge’s No. 6 TrueCar Dragon Racing will incur a 10-grid spot penalty for the 75-lap race April 29. She'll share the last row with Takuma Sato, whose No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car also received a 10-position penalty for an unapproved engine change following the morning practice session.
Chevy seeks to make strong impression: Chevrolet’s Agile and Prisma are favorites of taxi operators in São Paulo. It’s no coincidence as Brazil boasts one of the strongest global retail markets for the General Motors brand.
The race weekend on the street circuit will be the first for the IZOD IndyCar Series engine manufacturer.
"With Chevrolet's strong presence in Brazil, we have a tremendous opportunity to showcase the relevant technology in the Chevrolet IndyCar V-6 engine in front of thousands of fans,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing IZOD IndyCar Series Program Manager. “We are looking forward to giving them something to cheer about as our teams and drivers take to the streets of São Paulo."
Of note: Team Penske has won six of the past seven street course races. Will Power has won the past two races on the São Paulo circuit and the past two races of the season. ... Formula One driver Felipe Massa visited the KV Racing Technology pit stand of Rubens Barrichello. … This is the 200th Indy car race for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. … There were three Hondas and three Chevrolets represented in the Firestone Fast Six. ... The top 11 cars in Round 2 (with the top six advancing to the Firestone Fast Six) were separated by 0.5780 of a second. ... INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard will speak at the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce meeting and have lunch with local media on May 2. The Edmonton Indy is July 20-22. TICKETS