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Q&A: Raphael Matos (Luczo Dragon Racing)


Raphael Matos has graduated strongly to the IndyCar Series after winning the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights title, and is currently the leader in the season-long chase for rookie of the year honours after debuting in the #2 Luczo Dragon car on the streets of St Petersburg.

Q:
Rafa, you've had a pretty strong rookie season so far. What has been the highlight of your season?

Raphael Matos:
Well, I think the highlight was leading the race in Long Beach, qualifying third on the grid Long Beach. I think that's the highlight of the season, I believe.

Q:
What are your goals for the remaining eleven races of the season?

Raphael Matos:
My goal is to win a race. I really believe we're capable of winning a race this year if we get everything right. I think performance-wise on road courses we have what it takes. It's going to take a lot of effort from me, a lot of effort from the team. There's a lot of work to be done. But I think I truly believe in the people we have on our team, and I think we can do it.

Q:
Talk about the transition going from the Firestone Indy Lights to the IndyCar Series this year. Do you think you could have made the jump last year without the experience of racing on ovals?

Raphael Matos:
I think would be possible, but certainly much more difficult for me. [Racing in] Indy Lights, it's been a very smooth transition because I'm more acclimated with the ovals. I know how the dynamics of the car work on ovals, I know how to translate things to the engineers better today than two years ago, for sure. I think if you ask me if there was only road course in the schedule, I believe I was ready last year to make this step. But since we have many ovals, I think it was necessary [to have] a year in Indy Lights, for sure.

Q:
What about your team? I know you have a lot of good, experienced people on the team. Are they doing a good job of teaching you about the IndyCars, how to drive them in the IndyCar Series?

Raphael Matos:
Oh, yeah, for sure. I mean, the engineering group has tons of experience. The mechanics are top-class guys. They've been around for a long time with top teams and they have a lot of experience. And I feel, especially on oval racing, I'm getting a lot more information out of them. I feel in the road course that I'm able to naturally give them a lot more information about the car and about how to make the car fast.

Q:
Next week starts off a stretch of four in a row for the IndyCar Series. You have the short oval at Iowa, followed by Richmond where you are testing tomorrow, then the road course at Watkins Glen and the street course at Toronto. How do you mentally and physically prepare yourself for that stretch of racing?

Raphael Matos:
You know, I went back home (to Miami) for one day. I may go back to Brazil for two days just to see my family and recharge the batteries. Working out physically, making sure I'm healthy and I'm the best shape so I can be mentally prepared. I think the approach will be the same as far as, you know, taking it race by race, practice by practice, qualify, taking the same approach every race, and not letting things upset our performance, be 100 per cent focused on the car and on the engineering group and on my health.

Q:


Related Pictures

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Raphael Matos - Luczo Dragon Racing   [pic credit: IRL/Haines]
Dragon Racing`s Sebastien Bourdais. (Photo Credit: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Dragon Racing`s Sebastien Bourdais. (Photo Credit: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra, driver of the #6 TrueCar Dragon Racing Chevrolet IndyCar finished 8th and Marco Andretti,, driver of the #25 Dr Pepper Andretti Autosport Chevrolet IndyCar finished 10th Sunday, September 1, 2013 at the Grand Prix of Baltimore on the street circuit in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Michael L. Levitt for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #7 McAfee Dragon Racing Chevrolet IndyCar, stands on the podium after finishing 3rd Sunday, September 1, 2013 at the Grand Prix of Baltimore on the street circuit in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #7 McAfee Dragon Racing Chevrolet, races to a third-place finish Sunday, July 14, 2013 during the IZOD IndyCar Series Race Two in the Streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #7 McAfee Dragon Racing Chevrolet, raced to a second-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2013 during the IZOD IndyCar Series Race One in the Streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.. (Photo by Phillip Abbott for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #7 McAfee Dragon Racing Chevrolet, races to a second-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2013 during the IZOD IndyCar Series Race One in the Streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #7 McAfee Dragon Racing Chevrolet, finishes second during qualifying Friday, July 12, 2013 for Saturday’s IZOD IndyCar Series Race One in the Streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Bourdais will start in the front row for the first standing start in Toronto IndyCar racing history. (Photo by Phillip Abbott for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais, driver of the #7 McAfee Dragon Racing Chevrolet, finished second during qualifying Friday, July 12, 2013 for Saturday’s IZOD IndyCar Series Race One in the Streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Bourdais will start in the front row for the first standing start in Toronto IndyCar racing history. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt for Chevy Racing)
Sebastien Bourdais during practice at St Peterburg, Flodica - March 2013, (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais on the second day of pre-season testing at Barber Motorsport Park. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media.)
Dragon team co-owner Jay Penske [Photo credit: IndyCar Media]
Dragon team co-owner Jay Penske [Photo credit: IndyCar Media]
Ho-Pin Tung makes his debut for Schmidt Dragon Racing at Infineon Raceway. [Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Ho-Pin Tung makes his debut for Schmidt Dragon Racing. [Photo by Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Patrick Carpentier crashes the #20 Dragon Racing car in Sunday morning practice ahead of Indy 500 Bump Day qualification activity on Sunday, May 22 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Patrick Carpentier takes over the #20 car previously driven by Scott Speed, for a practice run on Bump Day at Indianapolis - Sunday, May 22. [Picture credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]

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