Race Report: Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS May 9, 2015—Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team claimed their first top-10 of the season with a ninth place finish in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis. They did it with A.J. Foyt sitting in the pit stand for the first time this season.
It was a long time coming for a team that ended 2014 with three top-6 finishes in the last five races. Sato, who started 22nd, was able to avoid the carnage in a first turn accident on the opening lap which caught his teammate Jack Hawksworth among others. Sato vaulted from 22nd to 12th on the first lap.
Meanwhile Hawksworth, who started 11th, was caught in the accordion effect of Helio Castroneves, who started third, tangling with Scott Dixon, who had started second. Hawksworth, with nowhere to go, hit Luca Filippi but also spun to avoid hitting Dixon. He had to pit to replace his front wing and hope for a yellow which never came.
Sato, who started on black tires, pitted early in the fuel window on lap 16 while running 11th. He slipped to 20th initially but was back to 11th by the time of his second stop. Before his third and final stop, he was tenth. Slipping to 12th, Sato climbed back into the top 10 as the pit stops cycled out.
As Sato moved into ninth with six laps to go, team strategist Larry Foyt radioed, “Good job Taku, bring the car home.”
“A very good day,” said a jubilant Sato afterwards. “I enjoyed the race. We were fortunate to avoid the first lap incident. I was very calm to see everything happening in front of me and I was able to make a good jump because of it. After the restart I was gradually losing a little position because the car was sliding a little bit. As the track got better because there was more rubber on it, our car was reacting better so our lap times came back. The boys did a fantastic job to get me out with very quick pit stops and I had a couple of fun overtakes on track and we came back strong for our first top 10 finish—finally! We had a trouble-free, no mistake race so our ABC Supply team did a great job.”
Hawksworth, who was optimistic about his chances in this race since he led 31 laps last year, had to make several pit stops when a vibration developed in the right rear by lap 44. The crew changed tires but a lap later, Hawksworth was back in the pits. The team took the car to the garage when they realized camber shims had fallen out of the right rear. If Hawksworth had any hopes of repeating his performance in the season opener in St. Petersburg when he finished eighth, they were dashed when he rejoined the race 13 laps down. He was credited with 23rd.
“I misjudged the front of the field, there was a tangle at the front and there was a concertina effect,” said Hawksworth. “I tried to go left and there was a car there and we obviously touched and then I spun the car to avoid Dixon. We were praying for a caution all the way through to bunch the field back up but then the right rear camber shims fell out so we were done anyway. It’s a disappointing day really.”
Will Power won the race with a dominating performance which included winning the pole yesterday. Second through fifth were: Graham Rahal, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sebastien Bourdais and Charlie Kimball.
The teams will be busy prepping the cars on Mother’s Day—switching them from the road course aero kit to the superspeedway oval kit. Indianapolis 500 practice on the 2.5-mile oval track begins on Monday.
That race will be broadcast live on May 24 on ABC-TV starting at 11 a.m. ET