Notes & Quotes: Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana
Takuma Sato: No. 14 ABC Supply Honda
Jack Hawksworth: No. 41 ABC Supply Honda
TAKUMA SATO ON:
* NOLA Motorsports Park: “It’s a new track for us, so to optimize the set-up will be a one of the challenges. Also, there are a few fast corners around this track so that’ll be challenging for the driver. Turns 1 and 3 are probably the most popular places for to pass at NOLA and at the end of the back straight could be another one. There will be slight modification for Turn 1 from when we tested there so we will see, but it seemed very bumpy on the inside of the braking area toward Turn 1 so that will be a bit of a concern when overtaking.”
* NOLA’s similarity to other tracks: “Everyone says it feels like the Indy road course. That’s because the track is very flat and has a couple of high-speed chicanes. To me, there are some bumpy, tricky corners which remind me a little bit of Edmonton’s airport circuit. It’s in a big, open field and you can see pretty much everything from the grandstands. There is not much of a real run-off area and that field is a little rough if you go off, so that’s similar to Edmonton too. However, NOLA will be installing some new gravel areas so that will improve the safety of the track. I look forward to going there.”
* New Orleans: “I’ve been to New Orleans for an appearance for our sponsor ABC Supply but it was just in and out the same day, so it wasn’t a real city visit. Downtown sounds a lot of fun: great food, Jazz music and many events around the historical Jackson Square. I don’t know how much time I can spend there on the race weekend this time, but I am certainly very interested to visit a new place!”
* The St. Petersburg race: “We are very concerned about the fragility of the new aero kits, and increased possibility of pieces coming off the car. There were some long yellows because of that at St. Pete. However, the new aero kit brings excitement to: the cars go faster, there is great competition and the engine improvement definitely boosts our chances for good results. There are many elements we could improve and the race result could have been better, but generally speaking we were satisfied with our performance. I feel we will be building a good season ahead.”
JACK HAWKSWORTH ON:
* The 8th place finish at St. Petersburg: “St. Pete was a very good race in the circumstances. Starting at the back puts you in a tricky position but fortunately the team was able to run a really good strategy and get me into clean air. Even more importantly, we had a very fast car which allowed us to set the necessary lap times to vault up the field once all the pit stops had shaken themselves out. There’s certainly a very positive atmosphere in the team at the moment and we are very excited about the speed of both cars. Hopefully we can have a clean weekend at NOLA, qualify at the front and make things a little bit more straight forward for ourselves in the race!”
* What he learned at St. Pete: “There is a lot of turbulence when following other cars in comparison to last year due to the new aerodynamic kits, plus the front wings are also a little more fragile. I don’t think it’ll take long for the drivers to adjust, but certainly the style of racing is going to change a little this year as car preservation is more critical than with the old DW12 aero kit. From the team’s perspective, we were able to continue our development and understanding of the new aero package as well as continue to smooth out the operational side of expanding to two cars.”
* Going to new venues: “I really enjoy going to new circuits. It’s always exciting to see which teams and drivers can understand the circuit quickly with the limited track time we get over the course of a race weekend. The strategy is always very interesting as well due to the fact we have no previous race data to call on. It makes for some interesting races!”
* NOLA Motorsports Park: “It reminds me of a slightly quicker version of the IMS (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) road course as they’re both very flat with a couple of quick corners and some long straights with big braking zones. Hopefully this should open up a lot of overtaking opportunities in the race.”
* Drivers giving more room at NOLA: “I certainly don’t think you’ll see quite as much bumping and banging as we have seen in recent years because the front wing structure is just not as strong as previously. Having said that, this is IndyCar racing and it is always furious, fast and aggressive. I think they’ll be a lot of action this weekend.”
* ABC Supply roofing customer, Sunrise Homes, located in Slidell, LA won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana. 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.
* A. J. Foyt makes cameo appearance at Foyt Wine Vault. A.J. Foyt made his first public appearance at an event held in the Foyt Wine Vault in Speedway, Ind. last Friday evening. Foyt and his family flew up and back the same day to see the renovation of the Main Street building which he bought last October. Overseen by Larry and A.J. Foyt IV, the most striking transformation was the Foyt Wine Vault, a 3,000 square foot tasting room which will open to the public in May. In addition to featuring premium Foyt Family Wines, the room is a tribute to Foyt, and houses the last IndyCar he drove in the Indianapolis 500 as well as many photographs and artifacts from his illustrious career. Foyt is expected to return to racing action with the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May.
* ABC Supply celebrates 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 NOLA, the company has provided race tickets for 100 guests.
* 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 Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana will be televised live on NBC Sports Network Sunday, April 12th starting at 2:30pm 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.