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Viso doesn't think Chavez' death will hurt funding

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm •  Published: March 11, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — IndyCar driver E.J. Viso isn't worried the death of Hugo Chavez will affect state sponsorship of Venezuelan drivers, including himself.

Most of Viso's sponsorship money comes from PDVSA, the Venezuelan state-owned oil and natural gas company. His primary logo is CITGO.

"I am not nervous, and I really need to thank the president because one of the things he did was focus on the sport and there is nobody out there that can say the opposite," Viso said Monday at IndyCar's annual media day. "That was one of his priorities to expand this sport in the world, which he did. Racing became bigger, motorsports, soccer, baseball, you now see many Venezuelan sportsman in many disciplines around the world. Me as an athlete, as a sportsman, I have to thank him for what he did.

"I now believe that the people who are in charge will follow his ideas because we've only done good things for the country, and they will want to keep the strength he put together and keep it going."

PDVSA also sponsors Formula One driver Pastor Maldonado, and Milka Duno is sponsored in the ARCA Series by CANTV, a telecommunications provider in Venezuela.

Viso said Chavez, who died last week after battling cancer, was a staunch supporter of promoting Venezuelan athletes.

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