Today, we got confirmation that Viso and Mutoh were confirmed full-time drivers in the IZOD IndyCar Series for the 2010 season. E.J. Viso was announced today as the second full-time driver at KV Racing Technologies joining their other full-time driver, Takuma Sato, and part-time driver, Paul Tracy. Hideki Mutoh was announced as Newman-Haas-Lanigan Racing sole full-time entry for 2010. We had been expecting Mutoh’s confirmation for some time, but Viso’s confirmation is good news for a series that has really struggled for good news lately.
KVRT Announces EJ Viso As Their 2nd Driver
no images were found“We are very excited to have E. J. join our driver line-up for 2010,” said General Manager Mark Johnson. “We have been in talks with E. J. for quite some time now and successfully tested him at Sebring. Over the last two seasons he has impressed both Jimmy (KVRT co-owner Jimmy Vasser) and I with his race craft and growth as a driver. E. J. brings IndyCar and oval experience to our team, which will be extremely valuable as we progress through the season. I would also like to welcome commercial partners PDVSA, Herbalife, CANTV and SBA Airlines to the KVRT organization. We look forward to working with all of them.”
EJ Viso came to the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2008 with HVM as a part of blendification. In that 2008 season, EJ showed some serious speed, but he also had a propensity for tearing up race cars, especially on the ovals. In 2009, his second year with the team, it was obvious that his racecraft had improved, but his results certainly hadn’t. At the end of the season, it was clear to all that HVM and Viso were not a good fit. KVRT in 2009 showed with their sole pilot Mario Moraes that they could be a serious contender and had strong gains in speed and consistency. Viso could be exactly the type of driver KVRT needs to put them on the podium this season.
NHL Announces Hideki Mutoh As Their Sole Driver
no images were found“Hideki has shown he is able to adapt quickly to new challenges by finishing second overall in the Firestone Indy Lights series in 2007 when he competed on an oval for the first time,” said Carl Haas on behalf of the team. “The 2008 battle for the IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year in the newly-unified series was very close with Hideki emerging as the winner. In his two years in the IndyCar Series he has earned several podium finishes and we are looking forward to adding more.”
Hideki Mutoh, Honda’s Formula Dream driver, came to American Open-Wheel Racing in 2007 and competed in the Firestone IndyLights Series. He won two races that year, one on the road course at IMS and one on the Kentucky Speedway oval. Those two wins combined with five other podium finishes put him second in the 2007 championship behind Alex Lloyd who dominated the season. Mutoh made his debut with Panther Racing in the last race of the year in Chicago. His strong 2007 season in Lights and an impressive performance with Panther Racing at Chicago landed him a ride with the incumbent championship team, Andretti Green Racing. His 2008 season was very lack-luster, having only one top-five finish at Iowa where he finished 2nd. 2009 was a little better for Mutoh. He scored four top-five finishes in a year that was less than stellar for the once dominant AGR. Unlike the Viso/KVRT paring which has so many obvious positives, its hard to tell if the Mutoh/NHLR paring will be fruitful or not. NHL certainly has the historical pedigree for being a top contender, but their performance in 2009 was a significant step backwards from what they showed in 2008.
Both of these drivers have shown that they have the skills to perform at the highest level, although both have some challenges to overcome. We’re excited for both drivers and wish them luck in 2010. The best news is that we have two more confirmed participants for a series that is really struggling right now.