Raphael Matos Will Race in Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

No NameAnalyst IMarch 18, 2011

It looks like Raphael Matos will get to start the season off behind the wheel in the INDYCAR Series after all.

It was announced today that Matos has been signed to race for Gary Peterson of AFS Racing. If that name sounds familiar, it should. Peterson and Matos teamed up in 2008 to win the Firestone Indy Lights championship.

Next weekend at the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Matos will be driving for him again, this time for the INDYCAR Series.

It has been a difficult past five months for Raphael Matos. He lost his father and his seat with de Ferran Dragon Racing within days of each other. Obviously, losing his father hurts more, but along with that came a promise that he decided he was going to stick with.

"My father was my biggest supporter and I promised myself that from that day on I was racing for me and for him. I have to say that was a very emotional time for me and still is."

The 29-year old Brazilian will make this upcoming race his 35th IZOD INDYCAR Series race. There couldn't be a better place for him to kick things off either. Matos has won three times on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn St. Pete street circuit in Firestone Indy Lights Series.

"The track suits my style of driving, so I'm confident that I will feel comfortable right away," said Matos. "I can't wait to get to St. Pete and go out for the first practice session."

The team haulers will make their way into the track on Tuesday of next week, officially beginning the start of the 2011 IZOD INDYCAR Series Season.