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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

IndyCar Season Review: E.J. Viso

2010 may not have been the breakout season that E.J. Viso hoped for, but he certainly moved up a rung or two on the IZOD IndyCar Series ladder.

After spending two years with the underfunded HVM Racing, including a horrid 2009 sidetracked by seven consecutive DNFs to start the year, Viso moved to KV Racing Technology, widely accepted as one of the best ex-Champ Car teams in IndyCar. Joining ex-Formula 1 pilot Takuma Sato and the returning Mario Moraes, Viso looked to have a strong 2010.

In reality, it was anything but, as accidents and bad luck kept the Venezuelan driver 17th in points despite a handful of shining performances.

The first instance of bad luck came at St. Petersburg, where Viso briefly led due to clever pit strategy. Unfortunately, transmission issues knocked him three laps down and he finished a disappointing 17th. Either way, Viso carried the team's banner through the first few road course races of the season with his consistency and lack of DNFs, a far cry from his 2009 struggles.

When the series began its oval slate, Viso's luck briefly changed, as wrecks at Kansas and Indianapolis marked his first two of the year. But he rebounded with a respectable 11th place at Texas, before scoring his best career IndyCar finish at Iowa, coming home third.

The next five races were a mixed bag; decent finishes at Watkins Glen and Edmonton were juxtaposed against crashes in Glen practice and during the race at Mid-Ohio. Combined with the frequent accidents of his teammates, Viso and KVRT were hanging on a thread by the end of the season, which saw Viso finish no better than 15th in any of the final six races.

When the smoke cleared (in the case of KVRT, quite literally), Viso had his best career points position (17th) and had scored 262 points, improving on his 2009 total by 14. However, he was still 24 off his 2008 total, which remains his career best. After a year together, though, Viso and KVRT, who will likely pair up again next year, should be able to ascend the standings further in 2011.

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