Brazil a factory for talent

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

Brazil is more than sun, soccer and samba.

The country produces pretty good race car drivers, too - as evidenced by the seven Brazilians competing in this weekend's Rexall Edmonton Indy.

"It's the invasion of the Brazilians," said Andretti Green Racing driver Tony Kanaan.

"Auto racing is one of the more popular sports back home. We have a great volume of kids that want to be race car drivers. When you have that volume, you have a chance to develop more drivers."

Kanaan, Helio Castroneves, Vitor Meira, Bruno Junqueira, Mario Moraes, Jaime Camara and Enrique Bernoldi are flying Brazilian colours. Only the U.S., with eight drivers, is better represented here.

"By having so many drivers now, I think it proves that Brazilians have good race car drivers and that's all people care about," Kanaan said.

"The teams want the best guys and we have great talent. Now with the two series together, we have Brazilians in both."

Castroneves and Kanaan are in second and third place, respectively, in the driver points standings heading into the Edmonton event. Moraes, Bernoldi and Camara are promising rookies.

"I think the way the series works, even the smallest team can have the same car, the same tires and the same engine as the bigger teams," Castroneves said.

"If you have a good organization and the driver connects with the team, you can do as well as the bigger teams.

"It's fair and Brazilian-like when it's fair. When it's fair they role their sleeves up and go for it. Sometimes it's not the same in other series."

Kanaan said the trend bodes well for the future.

"We have a lot of kids back home that want to be race car drivers," he said.

"They don't want to be soccer players, they just want to drive race cars."


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