Qualifying Report: MAVTV 500

FONTANA, Calif. June 26, 2015–Under hot, sunny skies, Takuma Sato qualified ninth in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda at Auto Club Speedway this afternoon. Teammate Jack Hawksworth will start 17th in the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda for the MAVTV 500.

“I’m very pleased – it was a good performance from the team,” Sato said, after posting a two-lap average speed of 217.109mph which made him the second fastest Honda driver in qualifying. “In practice we weren’t able to optimize the car but they put everything together in qualifying and I was able to run on the bottom of the lane which is difficult to hold the line because it’s bumpier. The first lap was good but on the second one it naturally started sliding so I lost a little bit of speed. To be in the top-10 is a good place to start.”

“We had a little too much downforce in the car, we should have trimmed out a little more,” Hawksworth said, whose average speed of 215.346mph put him on the inside of row nine. “It was one of those deals where we didn’t know. We thought the pace might be slower than it was but it wasn’t, the track was very quick and had a lot of grip so we got caught out by that a little bit. But the car was good in practice today so we think we can have a good race tomorrow.”

Simon Pagenaud won the pole with his average speed of 218.952mph in his Team Penske Chevrolet.

The 250-lap race around the two-mile track will be broadcast live starting at 4 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.