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Race Report: Grand Prix of Portland

Matheus Leist captured an eighth place finish in his No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet after starting deep in pack in the Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway Sunday afternoon.

A strategy twist to capitalize on a late race caution saw Leist pit with five laps to go for a fresh set of Firestone alternate (red) tires. Armed with fresh rubber, the young Brazilian passed both Charlie Kimball and Sebastien Bourdais in one lap to move into eighth. He put heavy pressure on seventh-running Simon Pagenaud, weathered a few blocks by the wily veteran before settling in for his second top-10 of the season.

Leist started the race in 21st, just behind teammate Tony Kanaan who qualified 19th in his No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet. In a repeat of last year’s race, there was a multi-car crash in Turn 1 on the start– this time triggered by contact between Graham Rahal and Zach Veach.

Both Kanaan and Leist managed to snake their way through for the second straight year. Veach and Rahal were out and so were the Arrow team cars with James Hinchcliffe and Conor Daly. Takuma Sato lost laps in the pits with his repairs.

Leist ducked into the pits on lap 11 to top off his fuel as his team re-thought the two-stop strategy in favor of more flexibility. The race restarted on lap 12 but contact between Jack Harvey and Ryan Hunter-Reay on lap 14 brought out the second caution. By the time they restarted on lap 17, Kanaan was sixth and Leist was 11th.

Kanaan, on a three stop strategy, pitted on lap 30 with the team thinking he could gain track position (if not spots) by running in clean air. Unfortunately the car didn’t have the pace he needed to take advantage of it. By lap 62, he lost a lap to the leaders. He regained it when they pitted on lap 73 but lost it again when he pitted on lap 82.

After Leist’s initial stop under caution, he was essentially on the cycle of pitting with the leaders, who were doing a two-stop strategy.

A bit of good fortune played into his hands with the final caution on lap 98 as he was the last car on the lead lap. Race strategist George Klotz made the call to pit for fresh tires and the team performed it quickly to get him in and out. Kanaan also made a final stop on the same lap 99 but the cars around him (also a lap down) pitted too so he didn’t gain the advantage Leist did. However, Kanaan’s stopping likely helped him to maintain his 12th position in the final five laps of green.

“Tough but pretty good race for us here at Portland,” said Leist. “Since the beginning we decided to do a different strategy and we went for a two stop strategy and I think it worked pretty well for us. We had to save fuel for most of the race and we were consistently running in the top 10 or 11. On the last yellow, as we were the last car on the lead lap, we decided to come in and put new alternate tires on. We went out tenth and finished eighth so I think decent job, another top-10 for me and a good job for the team too. The guys did a pretty good strategy, and a pretty good job in the pits so I’m proud of everybody. Let’s go for the last one.”

Kanaan soldiered through in his record 316th consecutive IndyCar start—a streak which began here in Portland in 2001—to finish 12th.

“Good start, awesome start actually,” said Kanaan whose career tallies 376 IndyCar total starts. “It’s a shame on the strategy, we missed the boat on that and I have no control over that, so after that I just hung in there. Good job for the team though, two cars in the top-12, that was always the goal so it looks like we’re getting stronger towards the end of the season which is good. I’m happy for Matt, he drove a great race. They got the strategy right and got him in the top eight. Let’s move on to Laguna and see what we can do.”

Will Power won his second race of the year, assuming the lead when Scott Dixon stopped unexpectedly due to electrical issues. Power then had to fend off Dixon’s teammate Felix Rosenqvist in the closing laps after the field packed up following the final caution on lap 98 of the 105-lap race.

Trailing Power and Rosenqvist across the line were Alexander Rossi, Colton Herta and Josef Newgarden. Just 42 points separate the top three NTT IndyCar Series championship contenders Newgarden, Rossi and Pagenaud.

With double points up for grabs in the season finale at Laguna Seca’s WeatherTech Raceway, the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey will decide the champion. The race will be broadcast live on NBC on Sunday, Sept. 22nd starting at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Qualifying Report: Grand Prix of Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. – Tony Kanaan and Matheus Leist will start 19th and 21st in the Grand Prix of Portland Sunday afternoon.

Despite his starting position, Kanaan is enthused about his chances tomorrow in the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet.

“It’s kind of bittersweet because if you look at the lap times we’re only a tenth and a half from the top 12,” said Kanaan, who posted a lap time of 58.10 seconds (121.68mph). “That’s the closest we’ve been all year. We improved the car a lot but it’s that little bit (still needed). I’m happy because the boys did everything right, we timed qualifying right to have the right tire choice. We went quicker than we went in the morning so it was a step in the right direction. I’m excited. I think we’re coming from a great momentum, everybody’s uplifted (from his third place finish at Gateway) and I’m excited for tomorrow.”

Last year at this 12-turn, 1.964-mile road course, Kanaan started 24th and finished 11th.

Kanaan’s team will start the race on Firestone’s primary compound tires. Leist, who will start the 105-lap race on the Firestone alternate compound (red) tires, felt he was stronger on the primary tires in qualifying his No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet.

“Practice 3 was actually decent and gave us some direction and some things to think about,” said the Brazilian who will turn 21 a week from tomorrow (Sept. 8). “In qualifying I think my black tire pace was pretty good but we didn’t have a good run on the reds and that was it. We’re going to work on the reds (setup) for tomorrow and see if we can have a good race.”

Leist, who started 19th last year, ran in the top 10 for much of the race until an untimely caution ruined his fuel strategy. He placed 14th.

Rookie Colton Herta won his second pole of the season with a lap time of 57.81 seconds (122.3mph) beating veterans Will Power and Scott Dixon in the final seconds of the session. Rounding out the Firestone Fast Six were Jack Harvey, rookie Felix Rosenqvist and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

The Grand Prix of Portland will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 3 p.m. ET.

Notes & Quotes: Grand Prix of Portland

August 29, 2019

Phil Long joined AJ Foyt Racing as a driver of the No. 4 ABC Supply transporter in January 2016. Along with his co-driver Rodney Klausmeyer, Long departed from Indianapolis for the 2250-mile trek to Portland which will take about 38 hours. We asked him a few questions…

Where were you born and raised?

PL: “Hialeah, Florida—a suburb of Miami.”

How did you get involved in racing? Where did it start for you?

PL: “I went to ‘help’ Champion Racing out of Pompano Beach, Fla. in 2000, and went to Sebring in March of 2001. Stayed with them until the end of 2008.”

What is your job and what does it entail?

PL: “Primarily I’m one of the two drivers of the No. 4 car transporter out of the Waller, Texas shop. Apart from that, I’m responsible for pit set-up and breakdown for the 4 car. I also rebuild all the pit guns a couple times a year and as needed. I was doing the air jack on the 4 car but lacerated my arm hours before having to drive to Toronto. I missed the race but mechanic Joe Pontin, [one of the 20-somethings on the team], stepped up and is doing a great job on the air jack. So now I am the super sub. Should someone go down for any reason, I can jump over the wall. I also have a vinyl plotter and have digitized nearly all of the graphics on the car and trucks and will help with car wraps.”

What do you do on race day?

PL: “I get the pits prepared so that no one wants for anything and be as certain as I can that everything functions smoothly. Pre-load trucks, help in pit stops (if needed), load up and go to the next one.”

What did you do before joining the Foyt team?

PL: “I have an art degree, and I have all my pre-requisites completed and was doing clinical rotations for an R.N. Was working hemodialysis at that time and got burned out on it. I did sports car with Champion Racing (Audi), ESM out of Stuart, Fla. (Ferrari and Honda prototypes). Also did some freelance stuff with Gunnar Racing/Restorations out of Riviera Beach, Fla. Then I got an offer with Foyt and moved our family to Magnolia, Texas.”

Greatest thrill of your career (to date)?

PL: “Being on the overall winning prototype at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2005. Changed the inside tires for that with crew chief Bobby Green. Brought the big trophy back to the United States for the first time in 38 years. Ironically our Audi R8 was no. 38 for all stateside races. The last time that trophy was in America? Gurney – Foyt…straaange.”

Tell us something that may surprise people about you.

PL: “I love new home construction, design and architecture. I’m especially interested in ‘high performance homes’ where things function at a far more efficient level, the net gain being better function at lower operating costs. Matt Risinger, a builder out of Austin, Texas has YouTube videos that are fascinating.”

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

PL: “Staying awake on the overnight drives. I’m more nocturnal by nature but it can still be pretty tough.”

How do you prepare for a race?

PL: “Relax. Don’t let anything wind you up.”

What’s your favorite track and why?

PL: “I think Road America. It’s very picturesque and it has a good vibe to it. All the campsites and the different vistas they afford is cool. Plus, it has run-off areas so if the unthinkable happens, with hope, it won’t be too critical. A.J. might differ with me on that.”

Do you have a motto/favorite saying?

PL: “Not really. I don’t say a lot for the most part, but try to make it count when I do.”

Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

PL: “Probably uncles. Not taking anything away from my father, but uncles have less skin in the game. One uncle in particular was Pat Santello who was from Syracuse, N.Y. and was a car owner. He fielded several cars at Indy and took me to Pocono and Mosport races many moons ago. He probably planted the racing seed and it was just dormant for many years.”

Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of racing?

PL: “Guitar, bass guitar (I have a lot of guitars), drums, and waging jihad on my house [renovating and repairing].”

Why is your email philsartdorcom? Are you an artist?

PL: “Yes. Have a degree (for what that’s worth) in commercial design but gravitated to custom car and motorcycle painting, pin-striping and air brush.”

TONY KANAAN on Portland: “Coming from a great weekend in St. Louis, I’m looking forward to going to Portland which is a race I’ve always enjoyed. I raced many years there. It’s a fun race track. We were almost in the top 10 there last year so it’s another race where I hope I can put the ABC Supply car in the top 10.”

MATHEUS LEIST on Portland: “I can’t wait to get back to Portland. Since my first lap there last year I fell in love with the track. I feel like we had a pretty good car there last year, we ran in the top-12 most of the race but due to a yellow we ended up falling down a couple places. Anyway, I’m looking forward to working with my team, setting up a good car and getting the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet a great finish on Sunday, that’s what it’s all about.”

Last Race: At World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Kanaan started 20th and finished third to post his best result since joining AJ Foyt Racing last year. It was the best result for AJ Foyt Racing since Takuma Sato finished second at Detroit in 2015. Matheus Leist started 21st and finished in 17th as the five caution periods in the race did not fall his way.

Past Performance at Portland: In five races here, Tony Kanaan’s best start and finish came in 1998: he started fourth and placed eighth. Last year, Kanaan started 24th and finished 11th. Matheus Leist made his first start at Portland last year when he started 19th. He ran most of the race in the top 10, but the yellow brought out by Zach Veach’s spin ruined Leist’s race strategy. He finished 14th having gained four spots in the final 25 laps. In seven starts here, the Foyt team’s best start is 10th with Robby Gordon who also posted the team’s best finish of eighth, both in 1993. A.J. Foyt had the team’s second best finish of 10th in 1990.

ABC Supply is in its 15th season as primary sponsor of A.J. Foyt’s IndyCar team, making it the longest running team sponsor in the NTT IndyCar Series. The company was founded in 1982 by Ken and Diane Hendricks with just three stores. The company now has over 700 stores and topped $10.5 billion in sales in 2018. ABC Supply began sponsoring the AJ Foyt Racing team with the 2005 Indianapolis 500. The company has leveraged its involvement by entertaining well over 110,000 associates and customers over the past 14 racing seasons. This weekend the company will entertain over 150 guests.

ABC Supply national account Franklin Roofing Enterprises, Inc., located in Puyallup, Wash., will be featured on the engine cover of the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet. Guests will receive the VIP treatment this weekend along with a Meet and Greet with Tony Kanaan.

L&W local account Plumbline Drywall, based in Tigard, Ore., won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest. The company name will be on the engine cover of the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet. Guests will receive the VIP treatment plus a Meet and Greet with Matheus “Matt” Leist.

The Grand Prix of Portland will be televised live on NBC on Sunday, Sept. 1, starting at 3:00 p.m. ET. Qualifying will be broadcast Saturday on NBC Sports Network from 6:00 – 7:15 PM ET. All of the practices will be available on NBC’s subscription-based service, INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold.

Qualifying Report: Bommarito Automotive Group 500

MADISON, Ill. – Tony Kanaan and Matheus Leist were both on the same page when it came to describing their qualifying runs here at Worldwide Technology Raceway at Gateway this afternoon.

 

Oversteer. Too much of it.

 

It didn’t help that they were third and fourth to go out on the 1.25-mile oval which is always a disadvantage in qualifying as the track grip improves as each car lays down more Firestone rubber.

 

Kanaan qualified the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet at a speed of 178.974mph and will start 20th in the Bommarito Automotive Group 500.

 

“It wasn’t a good run for us, the car had a lot of oversteer which was the opposite of what we had in practice and that slowed the car quite a lot,” Kanaan said. “We’ll have to work on the race setup this next session and see what we can come up with for the race.”

 

Matheus Leist was right behind him with a speed of 178.290mph and will start 21st.

 

“I thought we had a better pace but we just struggled with oversteer in both turns and I don’t think it was because the track was a little bit dirty, I think overall we were more to the oversteer side,” Leist explained. “We’ll work on the car to make some changes for the last practice and try to get a good baseline car for the race tomorrow.”

 

NTT IndyCar Series points leader Josef Newgarden won the pole with a speed of 186.508mph. Second through fifth were Sebastien Bourdais, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and Takuma Sato.

 

The 248-lap race will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network Saturday night starting at 8 p.m. ET

Notes & Quotes: Bommarito Automotive Group 500

August 21, 2019  Steve Gaddis joined AJ Foyt Racing earlier this year as a driver of the No. 14 ABC Supply Racing transporter. His previous racing experience came when he joined Chip Ganassi Racing in 2016 after a career as an over-the-road truck driver. We asked him a few questions… Where were you born and…

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Practice Report: ABC Supply 500

LONG POND, Pa.—Weather dampened Pocono Raceway but not the spirits of A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply team as Tony Kanaan topped the two hour practice session today as 22 drivers dialed in their cars in preparation for Sunday’s ABC Supply 500. Kanaan posted a top speed of 216.354 mph in his No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet with about 45 minutes left to go in the session.

Due to the inclement weather in the morning, qualifying was cancelled to allow the race teams ample time to sort out their cars on the 2.5-mile tri-oval dubbed the “The Tricky Triangle.” The downside was that Kanaan and Leist will be starting 19th and 20th respectively because the grid will be set according to the entrant point standings.

“Decent day, obviously not being able to qualify hurt us a bit but we can’t control the weather so I think we have a pretty decent car,” Kanaan said. “Our biggest challenge is that we will be starting in the back and this track is not an easy track to overtake on especially in traffic. I’m excited, it was a good day, the boys are happy. We needed that today. So we’ll take one day at a time.”

“Solid session here at Pocono,” the 20-year-old said. “I think we managed to go through the program very well. Of course we didn’t have qualifying so we will have to start from the back tomorrow. I think we had a pretty good baseline car which is good and from thereon we worked on little issues the car had. After that we started working on traffic, so overall, I think it was a very nice session. I think it was one of the best sessions I had the whole year. It will be a hard race tomorrow, 500 miles, this race is not easy so we just have to concentrate on the right moves to move up on the grid.”

Second through fifth in the practice session were: Scott Dixon (215.761), rookie Santino Ferrucci (215.377), last year’s winner Alexander Rossi (215.373) and Simon Pagenaud (215.368).

The ABC Supply 500 will be broadcast live tomorrow on NBC Sports Network starting at 2 p.m. ET.

Notes & Quotes: ABC Supply 500

August 13, 2019  Doug Barnes has worked with AJ Foyt Racing several different times throughout his career which began in 1983. He rejoined the team this year and currently works as a mechanic on the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet driven by Tony Kanaan. We asked him a few questions… Where were you born and…

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Race Report: Honda Indy 200

July 28, 2019  LEXINGTON, Ohio—Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a challenging course when you start at the sharp end of the grid because it is so difficult to pass. Starting in the back, A.J. Foyt’s team knew they had their work cut out for them. Matheus Leist and Tony Kanaan slipped through a mid-pack tangle…

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Qualifying Report: Honda Indy 200

LEXINGTON, Ohio—Disappointment and frustration summed up the feelings in the Foyt camp after qualifying today at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the picturesque, 13-turn, 2.258-mile permanent road course, nestled halfway between Cleveland and Columbus.

 

It was particularly frustrating for Matheus Leist whose No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet seemed to improve over the course of the weekend from where he started Friday morning. Leist was 19th in the first practice and seventh in the second practice– a bit misleading since not all drivers got the opportunity to run the quicker red tires due to a red flag incident. In the third practice, Leist was a solid 14th.

 

“Disappointing qualifying today,” said Leist, who will start 21st. “Very disappointing, considering we were running in or near the top 12 most of the time here. The car felt pretty good for most of the run but we are lacking getting the speed out of the car. We have one more practice tomorrow to figure it out before the race.”

 

“Too many things happening but I don’t think we found the setup. I thought we did,” Kanaan said after his qualifying run. “We were planning to do three laps (on the red alternate tires), we got caught in traffic – but that’s nobody’s fault – and we ended up only doing two. It was not a good day. We only have one way to go and that’s moving to the front. We have a warm-up (final practice) tomorrow and hopefully we’ll do a better job tomorrow than we did today.”

 

Will Power won the pole with a lap time of 1 minute, 5.1569 seconds (124.757mph). Completing the Firestone Fast Six were: Alexander Rossi, Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud, Sebastien Bourdais and Felix Rosenqvist.

 

There will be a 30-minute warm-up at 12 noon tomorrow providing a final opportunity for the teams to fine-tune their cars. The Honda Indy 200 will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 4 p.m. ET. It will also be available on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Radio, Channel 209.

Notes & Quotes: Honda Indy 200

July 24, 2019  Mark Stewart joined AJ Foyt Racing in January of this year. He currently works on the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet driven by Tony Kanaan. We asked him a few questions… Where were you born and raised? MS: “North side of beautiful Phoenix, Arizona.” How did you get involved in racing? Where did…

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