Mutoh Preparing For Debut

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Hideki Mutoh buried his face in a towel after an exhausting race at Kentucky Speedway to absorb perspiration and collect his composure. This victory meant more to the first-year Indy Pro Series driver than the winner's check.

Mutoh will share bonus testing days this week with Vitor Meira in the No. 4 Delphi Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone at Chicagoland Speedway in advance of his IndyCar Series debut on the 1.5-mile oval Sept. 9.

Mutoh, 24, had won the first of the Liberty Challenge races on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in June and resides in second place in the standings. But the Tokyo native believes winning on an oval validated his abilities with the express interest of driving in the IndyCar Series.

"This win means quite a lot to me," said Mutoh, who has finished in the top five in 10 of 13 races. "It's my first win on an oval track and that makes it very special for me. I'm excited about my debut in a big (IndyCar Series) car at Chicagoland. I have a test there and I want to do my best.

"It's very good experience that before I drive IndyCar race, I can win an (Indy Pro Series) race. That means quite a lot; more confidence."

Race Center

Auto Club 500

@ Auto Club Speedway
Saturday, October 19, 2013
TV Start:
NBCSN

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