Notes & Quotes: ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee Mile Indyfest
Takuma Sato: No. 14 ABC Supply Honda
Jack Hawksworth: No. 41 ABC Supply Honda
This year marks the 50th anniversary of A.J. Foyt’s 1965 pole-winning run at Milwaukee: Although Foyt won many poles in his career (53), including the pole for the Rex Mays Classic at Milwaukee in June, 1965, his pole-winning run for the Tony Bettenhausen 200 in August was incredible! Not because of the speed (107.881 mph) which was 3 mph slower than his previous pole in June (110.756 mph), but because he turned it in the Sheraton-Thompson Meskowski/Offy, i.e. an upright dirt car against a field of low-slung rear-engine cars! Indeed the next closest upright car started in row 10–Bobby Unser in Gordon Van Liew’s Vita Fresh Orange Juice No. 88. As Foyt tells it, “When my crew warmed up the oil to start the motor on the Lotus, it blew out the tank and they couldn’t fix it in time. I had gone there anyway from Springfield [Ill.], and was waiting for them. When they didn’t show up, I called and found out what happened. So I unloaded my dirt car which I had won Springfield with the day before, and figured I’d at least try to make the race. I had nobody there to help me but Steve Stapp. They gave me two laps of practice because I had to mount tires and all. And Stapp said, “You’re a second faster than the field!” and I said, “You don’t even know how to read a stopwatch.” Then I went out and qualified and set on the pole. I couldn’t believe it. Lining up I felt like I was in a Greyhound bus against a bunch of sports cars. Normally you didn’t make pit stops in the dirt track races because you carried enough fuel for 100 miles but I had to pit since this was a 200-mile race–and he had to change my right rear tire. It took more time. With the dirt car, you had dump cans like those used with a stock car, and with the rear engine cars you plugged in. I finished second. It’s one of the highlights of my career.” Gordon Johncock won the race–his first of 25.
Takuma Sato On:
* The key to a competitive car: “I like Milwaukee because you really have to DRIVE the car. It demands a lot of mechanical grip, as does everywhere, but it is important to have a stable car and good drivability. The driver has to do a lot of control with the throttle pedal and the steering wheel because this flat oval doesn’t have banking support, so the car is always very grip-limited, and it’s easy for it to slide or snap around.”
* What makes the Mile a difficult track regarding car’s set-up: “It’s straightforward as we can focus only on flat, high-speed cornering, but of course, to get the balance right is not easy at all. If you have a stiff car, you get good response but not very good grip. If you have a soft car, you don’t get the feeling of the car very much, but you have more grip. On top of that we have to think about the aero effect too, so the softer car has a better mechanical grip but it doesn’t control the platform well, meaning it is generating the downforce a little too inconsistently compared to the stiffer car… so we need to find a good meeting point.”
* Additional pressure knowing so many ABC Supply guests are attending: “It’s a good thing. I like their support and it’s a great feeling to race in front of a huge amount of our guests.”
* Having to practice/qualify/race in one day: “We have had qualifying and a race in one day at some of the doubleheaders but I don’t think with a practice session thrown in too. It will be a very busy day!”
* The city of Milwaukee: “I think Milwaukee is a good fun place. It’s a beautiful city with the waterfront and lots of great restaurants and bars! The Beer and Cheese? Awesome! I went to a couple of breweries and really enjoyed it.”
Jack Hawksworth On:
* His first impression of the Mile: “It was a bit of an eye opener the first time I turned up here! The track is very old but it has a ton of character. It’s the only oval we go to with almost no banking and it was like nothing I’d raced on before or since.”
* What makes the Mile difficult to set up for and the difference of the new aero kit: “The Mile has a few different types of asphalt and seams so having a car with good balance and compliance on different types of asphalt is crucial. I’m not sure the new aero kit will be any different in terms of how easy it is to drive. That will largely depend on the actual set up of the car and how good the balance is.”
* Feeling pressure with 1800 ABC Supply guests in attendance: “I don’t really feel any more pressure but it will certainly be an extra motivation and a real lift to know we have 1800 ABC guests behind us! Hopefully we can do a great job and put on a good show for them!”
* Having to practice/qualify/race in one day: “I can’t ever remember a schedule this packed! It’ll certainly be interesting, hard work for the team and drivers but great value for the fans at the track! With the limited time on track and the small amount of time between sessions it’ll be critical to roll off the truck on the right foot.
* His first Milwaukee “Summerfest”: “It was fun! Lots of people and good music. There was a really good buzz around the place and I hope we can recreate that kind of atmosphere this weekend at the Indyfest!”
* The city of Milwaukee: “I like the city, it’s not very big but there’s always plenty going on. The track itself has so much history and is a place where every driver wants to win.”
This season’s performance: Takuma Sato’s best performance to date has come at Detroit with his best start of fourth in Race 1 and his best finish of second in Race 2. It was his first podium finish since his runner-up finish in Brazil in 2103. For Jack Hawksworth this year, his best finish of seventh came in both races in Detroit, while his best start of eighth came in New Orleans. Hawksworth has been plagued by red flags (for others) during his qualifying sessions this year. The ABC Supply 250 will be Sato’s 98th IndyCar race and Hawksworth’s 29th race.
Past Performance at the Milwaukee Mile: In 2013, Takuma Sato led 109 laps but an untimely caution negated their advantage in pit strategy and he placed seventh. Last year, the car jumped sideways on the start and he dropped from 10th to 19th by Turn 1; he went down a lap early and by the time the track came to him in the middle stint, he was passing cars but not for position. He never got a wave-around on the race’s only caution so he finished 15th.
Jack Hawksworth started 17th and finished 10th in his first appearance at the Mile, saying: “We were one of the quickest cars in the first few stints and drove through to the top-10. After that Marco clipped my front wing when he tried to pit from the outside of the track, we lost a little front aero and then just maintained around 10th for the rest of the race. It was a really solid race, the guys did a really good job.”
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. This weekend the company will entertain a record 1,870 guests.
ABC Supply national account American Dream Home Improvement, based in Downers Grove, Ill., will be featured on the engine cover of the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda. Guests will receive the VIP treatment this weekend along with a Meet and Greet with Takuma Sato.
ABC Supply roofing customer, Infinity Exteriors, LLC, located in Waukesha, Wis., won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest for this weekend. 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 ABC Supply 250 will be televised live on NBC Sports Network Sunday, July 12th starting at 5:00pm ET. The qualifying show will air at 4:00 p.m. 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.