A driver since the age of five, Viso began his racing career at age five driving go-karts in his native Venezuela. Piloting the No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA CITGO Chevrolet, the 28-year-old Viso enters his sixth IZOD IndyCar season and first with Andretti Autosport.
In our ongoing series of learning about the life, thoughts and behind-the-scenes of auto racing, Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver E.J. Viso has consistently made time to answer our questions. Along with asking him questions about the races, we’ve also been able to have a better understanding of the world of auto racing.
Even though our series with Viso is still in it’s early stages, we’re happy to report that NBC Sports.com, MotorSportsTalk mentioned one of our articles in their article, “Viso looks for “lucky seven” mentally.”
You can follow Viso on twitter at @EJVISO.
What are your thoughts regarding the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach?
Every race we’ve done, we’ve been progressing. I’m not talking about results, but I’m talking about performance, teamwork, the way we were able to progress and to resolve from problems we have earlier in the week.
Long Beach was a very difficult weekend for us, especially in the beginning of the weekend. I can honestly say that I was lost. We were lost as a crew. We had some big issues during the first three practices, and we ended up just making a decision and it took us in the right direction for qualifying.
Since then we kept getting better. We ended up having the fastest lap of the race – I was able to take good care of my tires, save a lot of fuel. At that point I had two more laps of fuel than my competitors. That said, I believe that we could have finished easily on the podium.
I had very fast pace and good pit stops up until I was taken out.
Where do you need to place in order to financially break even?
This is not a relative question to answer. It’s different in many aspects. Every race pays differently, and I don’t do this job or this sport for the money. To be honest I haven’t even checked how much they pay.
How difficult is it to obtain sponsorship? Who does the outreach?
It’s extremely difficult. This is probably my only fear in racing – that I’m not going to be able to race in the future. We all depend on funding. We all depend on sponsorships. It’s probably the only thing that is completely out of my hands.
As of now, me and my close work crew back home have been doing all the hard work to find the funds for me to continue racing in IndyCar. I have to say that since I joined Andretti Autosport, it’s been extremely refreshing in this matter. So far they have been a great contribution to this project.
They have a lot of trust in me, and as of now, I can already tell that all the projects that we have started for my sponsorship are beginning to be successful.
How many tires do you go through in a race?
Normally seven to nine sets of tires. In Indy I believe we go through about 35 sets for the entire month of May.
Tell me a little bit about your pit crew?
So far we can only compare our pit crew with the other three in the team. The other three have been together for years and my crew is the only one that is all new. We are all coming from different teams, and there is only one or two guys that have been in the team for a long time.
With that said, it’s very nice how my crew have been interacting with each other. I think we are very close – to a point we are able to produce the same performance as the other crews that have been together for years. I can tell that my crew works extremely hard and I am very proud to be working with each one of them.
About Andretti Autosport
Based in Indianapolis and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Andretti Autosport also campaigns multiple cars in Firestone Indy Lights, the Pro Mazda Championship and in the USF2000 National Championship. The company boasts four IZOD IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2012), two Firestone Indy Lights titles (2008 and 2009), one USF2000 championship (2010) and has won the Indianapolis 500 twice (2005 and 2007). For more information, please visit www.AndrettiAutosport.com.