T.O. track suits Matos

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

Raphael Matos is a rookie in the Indy Racing League but he's almost a veteran on the temporary street course of the Honda Indy Toronto.

The 27-year-old native of Brazil will be making his fourth start at the Exhibition Place track on Sunday after racing here in the Skip Barber Dodge series, the Star Mazda series and the Champ Car Atlantic series in 2007.

His most recent trip turned out to be the most memorable. Matos started from the pole and ended up third, one of a host of top finishes that year that propelled him to the head of graduating class of drivers ready for IndyCars.

"I love the street track in Toronto," he said yesterday. "I am excited and anxious to get back here. I hope I can have my best race so far this season."

Because of the 2008 merger of Champ Car and the IRL, Matos' climb to open wheel racing's top level in North America was delayed by one season, a season he used to win the Indy Lights championship.

This year, Matos was brought on board the Jay Penske-Stephen J. Luczo team, Luczo Dragon Racing, in the No. 2 Honda-powered Dallara. He has made every start on the 2009 IRL calendar.

And he is confident that he can win at this level as well, maybe even this week in Toronto.

"My goal is to win a race. I really believe we're capable of winning a race this year if we get everything right," he said.

"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."

Matos figures that from third place the last time in Toronto it's only two steps to the top and he says he's ready.


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