AFS Racing announced that driver Raphael Matos will be in the driver’s seat of its Honda powered Dallara for the Streets of St. Petersburg IndyCar Race. Matos, the 2008 Firestone Indy Lights, 2007 Formula Atlantic and 2005 Star Mazda Champion, has repeatedly shown himself to be of world-class ability.
"I would like to thank Gary Peterson for giving me another opportunity to drive for him," said Matos. "We had great success in the past. Winning the Firestone Indy Lights championship was the first championship for AFS Racing, so there's some great memories from that time. To have Gary believing in me now, as he brings his team into Indy Cars, is huge for my career and a fabulous sign of his confidence in me. I lost my ride with De Ferran Dragon Racing and my father on the same day. 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.
"I'm the only driver in the league that has won every step of the ladder system to get to Indy Cars (2003 Formula Dodge National Championship, 2005 Star Mazda Championship, 2007 Champ Car Atlantics and 2008 Indy Lights). I feel that I deserve to be here. I have won 3 times in St. Pete in Indy Lights. The track suits my style of driving, so I'm confident that I will feel comfortable right away I can't wait to get to St. Pete and go out for the first practice session."
"I'm excited about signing Raphael Matos to drive for us in St. Pete," said Gary Peterson, owner of AFS Racing. "This is our first entry as a stand-alone IndyCar team and I’m glad to be reuniting AFS and Rafa. He's a great driver who has proven himself by working up through the ranks of the ladder series, which I respect. I think he has shown his abilities as a driver, winning the 2008 FIL Championship with AFS Racing, and we’ve watched his talent mature during his experience in IndyCar. He knows the St. Pete course well. This will all benefit us as we build this IndyCar team."