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Brian Stewart Racing signs Russian driver
Sergey Mokshantsev has watched plenty of oval racing on Russian television in the last few years. He'll get a new appreciation for it as a Firestone Indy Lights competitor.

The 26-year-old Russian has signed to drive for Brian Stewart Racing for the 2009 season. He'll drive team owner Brian Stewart's familiar No. 3 car this season and be the series' first driver from Russia.

"It takes a lot of desire to be a high-level racer, especially if you come from a country like Russia," said Stewart, whose teams won back-to-back Firestone Indy Lights entrants championships in 2005 and 2006. "Sergey has shown he has that desire and he has been successful in series he's raced in throughout Europe."

Mokshantsev has competed in Formula 3 in Russia and Italy as well as the International Formula Master and Italian Formula Masters.

He was a standout in the entry-level Formula Rus (Russian-build race cars similar to Star Mazda) after racing in karting series in home county.

"I looked at racing tracks and series in Europe but I'm intrigued about racing on ovals," Mokshantsev said. "NASCAR and IndyCar Series races are shown  a lot (in Russia) and so that's what brought me to test at Kentucky last year. It was a lot of fun."

Mokshantsev had a successful Firestone Indy Lights test with Brian Stewart Racing at Kentucky Speedway last fall and will be among the rookie drivers testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Feb. 23-24.

And he hopes to follow past Brian Stewart Racing drivers such as Paul Tracy, Bryan Herta and Cristiano da Matta  into the top levels of motorsports.

"The Indy 500 and the IndyCar Series is growing (in popularity) in Russia," he said. "I hope to be the first Russian to race there as well."

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