Takuma Sato: No. 14 ABC Supply Honda
Jack Hawksworth: No. 41 ABC Supply Honda
TAKUMA SATO ON:
· Physicality of Barber track: “Barber is one of the toughest tracks physically in the calendar, simply because it’s a high-speed track, and has lots of long high-G corners compared to the other road courses. It’ll be really physically demanding. With the new aero kits generating more downforce, as you witness we have been quicker at all of the tracks we visit, I’m sure we will see this race is a seriously physical one.”
· Passing Zones: “Probably not much has changed there. Even though you have more downforce now, following the other cars is not necessarily easy. In fact it’s pretty hard because all the wings and bodywork are more aero-efficient so any turbulence upsets the airflow which means you lose downforce. Having said that, Honda designed the bodywork which minimizes the effect of losing downforce when you follow a car, so let’s hope we will be in good shape in traffic.”
· Most enjoyable part going to Barber: “The high-speed corners with good elevation changes. This is really a beautiful track and it’s dynamic so I enjoy going fast there. And don’t forget to go to the museum! It’s also another one of the best car and motorbike museums in the country. It is very impressive especially as it’s privately owned.”
· Focusing on aero or mechanical grip: “You will always need a good mechanical grip but at Barber there is more weight on aero. The track surface is smooth and very fast so it is quite an aero-dominant track. Barber is the type of track that you go fast with a more aero-efficient car.”
· Key to success at Barber: “As described above, you need to get the aero right without sacrificing mechanical grip too much, and then it’s really important to have a good qualifying run as it’s very difficult to overtake.”
JACK HAWKSWORTH ON:
· His feelings about Barber: “I have a love/hate relationship with this track. I have won and been on the podium here three times in the junior formula but I’ve also had some pretty tough days where I’ve just not been on the pace. It’s one of the trickiest circuits on the calendar for drivers and engineers. Nailing the set-up is a big challenge, if you hit it right then there are not many more enjoyable circuits to drive, but if you are out to lunch, it’ll be a long afternoon!”
· Key to a competitive car at Barber: “We had a positive test here prior to the opening race of the year and we learned a lot at the recent NOLA race which was the last permanent road course we went to. Understanding why we were competitive at the test and also why we weren’t competitive at NOLA should give us a good understanding of where we need to go with the set up and the best way to react to the changing track conditions throughout the weekend.”
· Best place to pass: “Turn 5 is the prime overtaking spot at Barber. It’s not easy and you need to have a good car off Turns 2 and 3 to allow for a good run through the kink and into the braking zone in 5. It’s possible to pass in other places but it’s very difficult and it usually involves the car ahead making a mistake.”
· Physicality of Barber: “Barber has some quick turns with a lot of compression so it will certainly be tougher than the tracks we’ve been to so far this year. The Turns 12, 13, 14, and 15 works the drivers pretty hard.”
· Texas or ‘Bama Barbecue: “Texas, purely on the basis I’ve not tried Barbecue in Alabama! Maybe I’ll give it a go if we have a good weekend!”
• Kinnucan’s, Specialty Outfitter, headquartered in Auburn, Ala. has signed as an associate team sponsor for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana. Started in 1987 by Charles Anthony Kinnucan as a running footwear company, Kinnucan’s expanded its product selection over the past 20 years to include cold and warm weather apparel, sunglasses, collegiate goods and women’s fashion. Kinnucan’s now has 13 locations across four states: Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee.
• Past Performance at Barber: Takuma Sato’s best start is 6th (2010) and his best finish is 13th (2014). Jack Hawksworth’s only start was 22nd last year and he finished 12th. AJ Foyt Racing’s best start and finish—fourth and seventh respectively—came in 2012 with driver Mike Conway.
• Takuma Sato will visit the Honda Manufacturing of Alabama auto assembly plant in nearby Lincoln, Ala. on Thursday along with fellow Honda IndyCar drivers Marco Andretti and rookie Gabby Chavez. With approximately 4,000 associates, HMA has the capacity to build up to 300,000 Honda cars and trucks annually.
• ABC Supply celebrates its 10th anniversary of AJ Foyt Racing sponsorship: ABC Supply began sponsoring the AJ Foyt Racing team with the 2005 Indianapolis 500. The company has leveraged its involvement by entertaining nearly 70,000 associates and customers over the past 10 racing seasons. At Barber, the company will entertain nearly 400 guests.
• ABC Supply national account Response Team 1, with locations in 11 states, will be featured on the engine cover of Takuma Sato’s no. 14 ABC Supply Honda. Guests will receive the VIP treatment this weekend along with a Meet and Greet with Sato.
• ABC Supply roofing customer, Quality Architectural Metal & Roofing, located in Birmingham, Ala., won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest for the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama. The company name will be atop the sidepods of the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda. Guests will receive the VIP treatment plus a Meet and Greet with Jack Hawksworth.
• Headquartered in Beloit, Wis., ABC Supply was founded by Ken and Diane Hendricks in 1982. The company has more than 490 branches in 49 states and is dedicated exclusively to serving professional contractors. ABC Supply has distinguished itself by following a simple guiding principle – take care of contractors better than any other distributor. It remains an “employee-first” company that treats its associates with respect and gives them the tools they need to succeed. As an eight-time winner of the Gallup Great Workplace Award, which recognizes the best-performing workforces in the world, ABC Supply is one of only three companies in the world to have earned this honor every year since its inception in 2007. More information is available at www.abcsupply.com.
• The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be televised live on NBC Sports Network Sunday, April 26th starting at 3:00pm ET.
• For more information on the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing program, please check our web site: www.foytracing.com. To follow us on Twitter: @AJFoytRacing, @TakumaSatoRacer, @JackHawk41, @LarryFoyt14. On Facebook, we have the AJ Foyt Racing fan page.