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IndyCar Season Preview: E.J. Viso

Photo credit: Ned Leone

#5 Citgo Dallara-Chevrolet, KV Racing Technology

Born: March 19, 1985

Home: Caracas, Venezuela

2011 HIGHLIGHTS: At Texas, Viso scored a pair of top 10 finishes – seventh in the first race and 10th in the second. He also added a pair of ninth place finishes at Toronto and Sonoma, and finished every race after the Iowa round.

2011 LOWLIGHTS: Viso scored only 241 points, the fewest in his IndyCar career, as he matched the 18th place championship finishes of his first two seasons. He also had five DNFs, as many as he did in 2010, and could not match his career-best third place finish, scored at Iowa in 2010.

SEASON OUTLOOK: Viso enters his fifth IndyCar season in 2012, his third in a row with Jimmy Vasser’s KV Racing Technology team. But thanks to the departure of Takuma Sato, for the first time (arguably) with KV, he’ll be looked at as the team’s second driver, rather than the third, following the team’s plans to promote an Indy Lights or junior European formula driver to Sato’s former team. This means that Viso may be looked at to perform much more than he ever has in the series, and it’s not an opportunity that he should take lightly.

While Viso is far and away a better driver than Milka Duno, the other Venezuelan state oil-sponsored IndyCar driver from a few years ago, his rank in the standings (best finish: 17th in 2010) has always suggested “pay driver” in a less than subtle way. The good news is that Viso’s problem is not for lack of speed, but lack of control, as he has never had fewer than four DNFs in a season (in 2008, his rookie year). While you can’t teach speed, you can teach control, and perhaps with another year alongside teammate and legend Tony Kanaan, Viso can break out in the way that Sato did last year.

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