Archives for A.J. Foyt Racing PR

AJ Foyt Racing Practice Report: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. April 15–The ABC Supply Hondas of Jack Hawksworth and Takuma Sato rolled off the truck to post the third and fifth quickest times in the opening practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. In practice 1, Hawksworth clocked a lap of 1 minute, 8.48 seconds while Sato wasn’t far behind…

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AJ Foyt Racing Notes – Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

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Notes & Quotes: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Takuma Sato: No. 14 ABC Supply Honda
Jack Hawksworth: No. 41 ABC Supply Honda

This race will be Takuma  Sato’s 105th start and Jack Hawksworth’s 36th in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Driving for Foyt, Sato won this event in 2013 to become the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race. 

TAKUMA SATO ON:

  • Long Beach circuit:“Long Beach is always a special place for me. I simply love the venue, atmosphere, great restaurants, enthusiastic fans, and of course, I enjoy driving the track so much—it holds an incredible memory for me. So I am looking forward to going back there very much.”
  • How the off-season changes to the aero kit will affect how he drives there: “There shouldn’t be much difference but if anything, it would be to go faster! The aero kit gives us the consistency we need and with good performance from the engine, we should be faster. Still, to optimize the set-up is not an easy task but we had a productive winter test and the opening race was good so I expect that we will be competitive.”
  • Whether car will be as strong as it was at St. Pete?  “Yes I believe so. The characteristics between the two tracks are not hugely different, I mean there are differences but at the end of the day they’re in the same street course category so we know what we need to apply for that. However, the new package could be extra work and we still need to go on the journey of finding a sweet spot in the car set-up. But again, as were very competitive at St. Pete, I can’t wait get back in the car at Long Beach.”
  • Key factor to success at Long Beach: “Long beach is a low grip track and it has the tightest hairpin in the series and a bumpier surface than St. Pete so it needs more force for the mechanical grip than the opening round. Also we will use a much lower downforce setting in order to reduce drag for the long straight and have more chance to overtake. So the key is finding the balance with the right level of downforce but you need to keep a good amount of downforce for the tires to stay in a good working range.”
  • What he learned from testing at Indianapolis this week:  “It was a cold day with gusty winds. We shook down our “Indy” Car and it was important check everything functioned well. Also the main purpose of that test was an experiment for the safety aero configuration using the domed skid which requires quite a different ride height and we collected valuable data for the league. Because of the weather conditions, we were able to run only a very short time and we were very limited in what we could do, but it was still nice to be back at IMS. I am really looking forward to coming back in May.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH ON:

  • Long Beach Grand Prix: “I love this event, it is probably my favorite alongside Toronto. The track is technical and has a fantastic flow to it, putting the car on the edge here really is a lot of fun. On top of this the weather is usually great and California is a fantastic location for such an historic race.”
  • What he will look for in his Track Walk on Thursday:“Small changes to the track, mainly changes to the curbing and walls. I doubt there will be too much to look at during the track walk though as this track usually stays pretty consistent and we will have already done our homework prior to arriving on Thursday.”
  • Why he’s excited to get back on the streets: “We were very strong at St. Petersburg but shot ourselves in the foot a little bit during qualifying. I expect that our St Petersburg form will carry over to Long Beach, in fact, I believe we should be stronger than we were in St. Pete. It will just be a case of executing when it matters this weekend.”
  • What he learned from racing at St. Pete that can help at Long Beach: “We confirmed that the work the whole ABC Supply team had done over the winter was good in St. Petersburg and we will carry that philosophy over to Long Beach. There are a couple of key areas that cost us during qualifying at St. Pete, we have analyzed it and addressed it moving into Long Beach. All of the ingredients are there, now we need to execute and go get some big results, there can be no excuses. This starts in Long Beach and I can’t wait.”

Past Performance at Long Beach: Takuma Sato’s best start and finish came in the 2013 race where he qualified fourth and won; that race was also the best performance for AJ Foyt Racing at Long Beach. Jack Hawksworth’s best IndyCar start there came in 2014 when he qualified fifth and finished 15th after being involved in an accident triggered by the leaders.

Last race: At Phoenix, Takuma Sato escaped with minor bruises when his car spun and hit the Turn 1 SAFER barrier in Friday morning practice. Heavily damaged, the car wasn’t repairable in time for qualifying later that day but the team did fix it for the race, Sato started 20th and finished 15th. Jack Hawksworth started 17th and finished 19th after several issues during the race which affected the car’s performance.

ABC Supply Co. enters its 12th season as marketing partner of AJ Foyt Racing: ABC Supply began sponsoring the AJ Foyt Racing team with the 2005 Indianapolis 500, and is the second longest active team sponsor in the Verizon IndyCar Series. With this season, the company ties U.S. Tobacco’s Copenhagen brand in length of sponsorship of Foyt’s team.  ABC Supply has leveraged its involvement by sponsoring races at Milwaukee and now at Pocono with the ABC Supply 500, and by entertaining over 75,000 associates and customers during the past 11 racing seasons. At Long Beach, the company will entertain over 500 guests.

ABC Supply roofing customer, Roof Construction, located in Escondido, Calif., won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. 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 600 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 a nine-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 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be televised live on NBC Sports Network Sunday, April 17th at 4:00pm 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.

A.J. Foyt Racing – Race report – Phoenix Grand Prix

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Race Report: Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix

PHOENIX April 2, 2016—Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth weathered a difficult weekend as the Verizon IndyCar Series returned to Phoenix International Raceway’s one mile oval for the first time since 2005.

Sato, who crashed hard in the beginning of Friday’s practice, sat out the rest of the day as the ABC Supply crew worked into the night repairing the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda which was heavily damaged in the accident. Sato wasn’t injured, but he was unable to qualify and also missed the final practice Friday evening. He was given a five minute practice session Saturday afternoon so the team could check out the car at speed.

Starting 20th, Sato gained a couple of spots on restarts but for the most part, he found it difficult to pass cars because the track had just a single racing line. Through solid pit stops—and a bit of attrition, he finished 15th.

“It was a tough weekend for all of us” Sato said. “The ABC boys did a great job putting the car back together. We had just a couple hot laps before the race. They did a good job of keeping everything under control. In the race we were hanging on but it was a long tough night. It’s a weekend we want to forget but it was still a good job by everyone on the team.”

Hawksworth dropped back from his 17th place grid slot at the start but he ran a solid pace during his first fuel stint in the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda. A problem with the car’s handling in the second stint forced an early pit stop but the team was able to improve the car’s handling. Hawksworth wasn’t able to benefit from being on a different pit strategy in the race which was slowed by five caution periods; he soldiered home in 19th position.
“It was a very tough weekend,” Hawksworth said. “I didn’t make a very good start but the car was ok in the first stint. We were able to hang in and run the pace even though we couldn’t get close to the cars ahead so couldn’t make up much ground. We had an issue in the second stint so we had to pit early. We tried to fight back but then we had an issue on the last stop. It was just a tough, tough weekend. We made the car better but we just have to put this one behind us and learn from it. We go to two circuits that we know we have a good car and we’re strong at so we’ll focus on Long Beach and Barber and be competitive there.”

Defending IndyCar series champion Scott Dixon won the 250-lap race and was presented the A.J. Foyt Champions Trophy by Foyt himself in Victory Lane Saturday night. The track management named the perpetual trophy after Foyt who won the track’s inaugural race in 1964.

Second through fifth were Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Tony Kanaan and Graham Rahal. The teams are heading to Indianapolis Motor Speedway April 6 for an open test before making the long haul to southern California for the Long Beach Grand Prix on April 17th.

AJ Foyt Racing Qualifying Report – Phoenix Grand Prix

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Qualifying Report: Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix

PHOENIX April 1, 2016—Jack Hawksworth will start 17th and Takuma Sato will start 21st in tomorrow evening’s Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix as the Verizon IndyCar Series returns to Phoenix International Raceway for the first time since 2005.

“It was no April Fool’s for us this morning, unfortunately, it was the real deal,” said team owner A.J. Foyt about the incident where Sato did a quarter spin and hit the Turn 2 SAFER barrier hard in practice. Sato is bruised but feels ready to run tonight’s final practice. However, his No. 14 ABC Supply Honda which sustained heavy right side and rear end damage, is looking doubtful despite the crew’s feverish efforts to repair it in time for the evening session.

“I feel okay,” Sato said after emerging from the infield care center. “It was quite a big impact and I have a little bit of a headache, but I’m good. It was a quick spin, I lost it simply with a little bit of oversteer. We were doing a run in qualifying trim; unfortunately we lost the back end and it caused pretty good damage, but hopefully we can come back.”

Hawksworth, whose morning practice was incident free, dealt with some gearing issues that limited his track time. He posted a two-lap average speed of 185.046 mph in his qualifying run.

“It was a tricky qualifying run,” Hawksworth said. “The car was a little bit loose. It’s been a difficult day so far because we had some issues in practice and we didn’t run very much. So we have to get our heads together and understand what happened in qualifying. We have to keep focused and keep digging and put on a good show for the ABC folks tomorrow night.”

James Hinchcliffe also hit the SAFER barrier in nearly the same spot when the action resumed in practice after Sato’s incident. Hinchcliffe emerged unscathed. Neither driver was able to qualify so they will start in the final row. Carlos Munoz spun and hit the Turn 1 SAFER barrier during his qualifying run. Munoz was released from the infield care center.

Helio Castroneves won the pole by setting a new track record of 192.324mph. Second through fifth were Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya, Charlie Kimball and Ed Carpenter. Teams will have a 30-minute practice session this evening. The race will be televised live tomorrow evening on the NBC Sports Network starting at 8 p.m. ET.

Notes & Quotes: Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix

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TAKUMA SATO ON:

·         The return of INDYCAR to Phoenix Int’l Raceway: “I’ve never been to Phoenix but I’ve seen some exciting races so it’s great to have this venue back in the series.”

·         His first impression of PIR: “Very fast! It’s well-known that this track is unique as it has different banking for each corner–very impressive. The track has such a high level of grip and the cornering speed is incredibly fast, so the sensation of turning into Turn 1 is quite amazing. I also felt we received such a warm welcome from the fans. They came to see us at the Open Test Day and they were very enthusiastic. I thought it was very nice atmosphere.”

·         The trickiest part of the track: “As it has different banking and different kinds of corners, there is a balance shift between them which makes car setup tricky to have it right for both ends of the track. Also I found it quite tricky to follow the cars and there are not many lines available, i.e. it’s pretty much a single racing line, so I think it will be very difficult to go two-wide and overtaking will be tough.”

·         The secret to getting around at PIR: “We must minimize the balance shift between the corners. Also, you will lose significant downforce when following a car but you cannot really choose different lines for finding clean air, so it’s crucial to have a good mechanical grip and be strong in traffic.”

·         Whether PIR is more physically or mentally demanding: “I think it’s both. It’s definitely one of the most physically demanding tracks as we pulled close to 5Gs and it was pretty tough over the long runs in testing. Because of that, it’s mentally demanding too. Also the line is very limited so you need to be focused a lot. It’s less than 20sec a lap, so there is no relax time at all for the whole race!”

·         Visiting PIR before test: “The test was my first time to Phoenix.”

 

JACK HAWKSWORTH ON:

·         The return of INDYCAR to Phoenix Int’l Raceway: “From what I understand, it is a circuit that has a huge open wheel history and has produced some great races in the past. It’s always good to visit tracks that are steeped in history as it gives the place a certain aura. Judging by the turnout at the pre-season test, we should get a good crowd and it seems like the fans are looking forward to INDYCAR’s return.  

·         His first impression of the track: “Short and quick spring to mind, it kind of reminded me of a mini Pocono with the banked Turn 1 and the long duration flat Turn 3. It is good fun to drive but how it will race in terms of overtaking and passing opportunities is a question mark. Hopefully we put on a good show!”

·         The trickiest part of the track: “Turn 1 is the trickiest corner and also presents the best passing opportunity during the race. Look for most of the action to happen down at this end of the circuit.”

·         The secret to getting around PIR:  “A good balance at both ends of the circuit and a predictable car in traffic. The lap is so short that there will be very little single car running during the race. Being quick in traffic will be critical.”

·         Whether PIR is more physically or mentally demanding: “Like most ovals, it is more mentally demanding than anything else. G-loads are quite high but the drivers can rest their heads on the pads inside the cockpit so physically this isn’t an issue. Mental concentration will be critical though and staying alert and on top of the car for 250 laps with 22 cars out there will make a big difference.”

·         Visiting Phoenix before the test: “I tested at the Firebird road course during my year in Pro Mazda back in 2012 so I stayed in Phoenix then. I do like Arizona, the weather’s good and the dry heat is nice.” 

 

A.J. Foyt will participate in the unveiling of the A.J. Foyt Trophy on Wednesday, March 30th at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. The perpetual trophy will be presented to the PIR race winner each year. A.J. Foyt won four races at PIR: 1964 (the inaugural race), 1965, 1971, and 1975; he won a pole in 1965.  He also won a race in 1960 at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, a one mile dirt track in Phoenix.

Team’s past performance at PIR (since 1996): The team’s best finish was second which is where they finished in 1996 with Scott Sharp and again in 2001 with Eliseo Salazar. Their best start was also second in 1998 with Billy Boat. Neither Takuma Sato nor Jack Hawksworth has raced at PIR.

Last race: In St. Petersburg, Takuma Sato started 10th and finished sixth while Jack Hawksworth started ninth and finished 11th, which is where they currently rank in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings.

ABC Supply Co. is in its 12th season as marketing partner of AJ Foyt Racing: ABC Supply began sponsoring the AJ Foyt Racing team with the 2005 Indianapolis 500, and is the second longest active team sponsor in the Verizon IndyCar Series. With this season, the company ties U.S. Tobacco’s Copenhagen brand in length of sponsorship of Foyt’s team.  ABC Supply has leveraged its involvement by sponsoring races at Milwaukee, and now at Pocono with the ABC Supply 500. The company has entertained over 75,000 associates and customers during the past 11 racing seasons. At Phoenix, the company will entertain 620 guests.

 ABC Supply national account Restoration Specialties, LLC 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 America Roofing, with offices in Phoenix, won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest for the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix. 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.

The Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix will be televised live on NBC Sports Network Saturday, April 2 starting at 8:00pm 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.

AJ Foyt Racing Report: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

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Race Report: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. March 13, 2016—The Firestone Grand Prix got off to a rocky start for Takuma Sato and his No. 14 ABC Supply team but their “Never give up” attitude paid off with a sixth place finish today after starting tenth. Jack Hawksworth, who started ninth, battled back from a mid-race incident and a drive-through penalty to finish 11thin his No. 41 ABC Supply Honda.

Sato’s woes began on the first lap when he sustained a cut right rear tire from a competitor’s front wing. He had to pit for new tires which dropped him to 21st on the 22-car grid. Then it was a matter of fuel and tire strategy to keep him in the hunt; he had one of the fastest cars on the track.

A bold move on a lap 56 restart saw Sato vault from 14th to 11th entering Turn 1. However, a multi-car melee up ahead resulted in a blocked track in turn 4. Sato nearly squeezed through unscathed but clipped Graham Rahal who had spun in the multi-car incident. Sato damaged his front wing and cut a tire, so he had to pit for a new nose and tires despite emerging in eighth.

Hawksworth, who was taken wide on that restart and lost several positions, came upon the incident in turn 4 but had nowhere to go. The track was blocked with at least eight cars involved, making the track look like an IndyCar parking lot. Hawksworth sustained a damaged right rear bumper and rear wing which needed to be replaced. He pitted for repairs–he couldn’t make another lap–when the pits were closed and received a drive-through penalty under green for the infraction.

Working fast, his crew replaced the rear wing on the No. 41 car without losing a lap. Sato’s crew replaced the nose assembly during that caution period too but he could wait until the pits were open to do so. The cars emerged in 12th (No. 14) and 16th (no. 41) positions. Sato was able to move up through the ranks passing several cars and then benefitting from a couple cars having mechanical issues.

“I have good memories from St. Pete,” said Sato afterwards. “We had a difficult time in qualifying but the boys and the engineers did a fantastic job to bring the car back and we had a very strong race pace. The ABC Supply team did a great job in the pits and I’m happy we were able to come back twice.”

Hawksworth climbed from 16th to 11th despite having to make seven pit stops.

“We struggled for pace throughout the race but we were in the ballpark on strategy,” the 25-year-old Brit said. “On that one restart, I lost some positions with the congestion in Turn 1 and then it stacked up in front of me in Turn 4 and I had nowhere to go. We had to replace the rear wing but I’m glad we were able to finish 11th.”

“It was a tough day for a lot of people, including us,” said Team President Larry Foyt, who is also the race strategist on Sato’s car. “On Takuma’s car, to have a puncture on the first lap and drop back to nearly last, that’s a lot to come back from but he hung in there and the team did a great job in the pits. He had a really fast car so that helped too. Getting up to sixth made it a really good day; it was a long day and a tough day but that’s how you finish well in a championship, if on the bad days we can keep it in the top 10, I think we’ll be in good shape. I don’t know everything that happened with Jack’s car because I haven’t talked to them yet but he came back to finish 11th. Having two cars come out and run pretty decent is a good start to our 2016 campaign.”

Juan Pablo Montoya won the race. He was followed by teammate Simon Pagenaud. Ryan Hunter-Reay passed Helio Castroneves with four laps to go, robbing Team Penske of a podium sweep. Mikhail Aleshin finished fifth in his return to IndyCar after a year’s absence.

Pole winner Will Power was replaced by veteran Oriol Servia when it was determined that Power had sustained a mild concussion from an accident on Friday. Servia started in the rear of the field which moved everyone up one spot on the grid. INDYCAR released the following statement: “Following his on-track incident on Friday Will Power displayed no signs of injury and was evaluated and cleared by the INDYCAR Medical team. Per INDYCAR protocol we also evaluated the data collected from his ear accelerometers, which provides data specific to the impact on a driver’s head, and nothing gathered from that data indicated further evaluation was required. After learning of Will’s symptoms following qualifications Saturdayhe was required to submit to another evaluation by INDYCAR Medical Director Geoffery Billows, at which point he was diagnosed with a mild concussion. Power has been entered into INDYCAR’s concussion protocol and will need to be re-evaluated prior to being cleared to drive.”

The ABC Supply team heads to Barber Motorsports Course tomorrow for a one day test on the picturesque circuit on Tuesday. There will be a three week break until the April 2 Phoenix Grand Prix which marks the Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to Phoenix International Raceway.

AJ Foyt Racing Qualifying Report: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Qualifying Report: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

ST> PETERSBURG, Fla.  March 12—Jack Hawksworth and Takuma Sato qualified 10thand 11threspectively in their ABC Supply Hondas today but they feel their cars will carry them to the front in tomorrow’sFirestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Both drivers made it out of the first round of qualifying only to have unexpected problems in the second round with the red-rimmed, softer compound tires.  Trying a more aggressive approach with the tires backfired but the team learned from the experience which will help them in the future. The good news is that the drivers are confident in their cars and believe that they will be contenders in the race.

Hawksworth, who was second quickest in today’s morning practice, was quite confident going into today’s qualifying. Although it didn’t work out quite the way he envisioned, he is happy with his No. 41 ABC Supply Honda.

“The day started off well; we had a good practice this morning,” said Hawksworth, who posted a time of 1 minute, 0.78 seconds (106.721mph). “The car feels really good, the guys have done a good job and it’s nice to see that all of the work over the winter is paying off and the fundamentals are getting better. In the qualifying rounds, I think we misunderstood the red tires, so we missed it a little bit there but it’s [the information] certainly something we banked and will take to Long Beach. I think car-wise we have really good cars, both of us.  I believe we’ll have a good day tomorrow.”

Last year Hawksworth started 21st and climbed through the field to finish eighth.

“Tough day for us,” said Sato, who posted a lap time of 1 minute, 0.97 seconds (106.274mph), “The first round was exciting, we had a good feeling on the black tires and had no problem with the red tires in the first segment although the field was very tight. We went for more performance in the second round and it didn’t work, so we lost speed unfortunately. We have always been strong in qualifying here so it’s a shame to miss the Firestone Fast Six but we’re looking to finish strong.”

Sato had qualified in the Firestone Fast Six the past three years in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda but his best finish was seventh, which is where he finished after starting from the pole in 2014.

Will Power won the pole for the sixth time here with a time of 1 minute, 0.24 seconds (107.561mph). Second through fourth were his teammates Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya. Scott Dixon was fifth with Ryan Hunter-Reay completing the top six.

There will be a morning warmup before the race. The race will be broadcast on ABC-TV starting at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time.

Practice Report: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

ST.PETERSBURG, Fla. March 11 – The ABC Supply team got off to a good start on the opening day of practice for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. In the first session Jack Hawksworth topped the charts for most of the 75-minute practice session in the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda; he was only…

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A.J. Foyt Racing – Notes & Quotes: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

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TAKUMA SATO ON:

The season opener at a temporary circuit with concrete walls: “I’m not really affected by the concrete walls. Obviously with a new package, there is always a short supply of parts at the beginning of the season so we have to be careful that not to damage them. It is always exciting and fun starting a new season. The race can be rough and aggressive, but the course is fun to drive and race on.”

The testing at Sebring: “Our testing went well. The program was interrupted a few hours due to a minor technical problem, but that was good to have sooner rather than later so we could sort it out before the opening race. We were able to manage a number of good test items and successfully gathered very valuable data. I felt good about the car but it was equally important to work closely together with all of the engineers as we are now a larger, new group. It felt very positive so I am happy.”

How Sebring helps prepare for St. Pete: “Sebring is a good track for us because it is the closest circuit we run where we can replicate a street-course in terms of bumpiness and a couple of tight corners. However, Sebring’s grip level can be too high compared to a street-course so we have to be a little careful that we don’t chase the track too much. Also another important point is that Firestone provided street-course tires for this test which is a different construction and compound from road-course tires, so we can evaluate the car properly. Testing in Sebring is a good preparation for St. Pete.”

The differences in the new Honda package compared to the 2015 car: “The car feels more stable aerodynamically so the new aerokit gives better consistency. Ultimately the performance gain looks to come from the new engine. It’s a lot more powerful than last year’s engine, and it has improved a lot in its drivability.”

The best part of having the season opener in St. Pete: “It’s in Florida! Who could complain about that? I think St. Pete is a great venue for opening the season. The fans are very enthusiastic, the restaurants have great food, and normally it’s warm good weather. Also, the racing is very exciting, the street course is unique, technical, and has a few places with great overtaking opportunities.”

The testing at Sebring: “We had an extremely successful test in Sebring. The ABC Supply crew did a fantastic job with the car preparation and we had a problem-free day. This allowed us to work methodically through our test plan and we discovered some useful information heading into the 2016 season. The pace of the car came easy and for the first time we were able to accomplish everything we set out to do during the day.”

The key to setting up a fast car for St Pete: “As with all street circuits, their bumpy nature requires the car to be compliant, and it increases the amount of importance on tire contact patch. We have a good idea of what to expect and will aim to develop and fine tune throughout the weekend to optimize the car setup for both qualifying and the race.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH ON:

His impression of the new aerokit and if it affects how he drives the car: “The new aero kit is more consistent throughout the corner and seems to be easier to work with and predict. From a driving stand point it is pretty similar, the same principles and techniques for extracting lap time still apply.”

His preparation during the off-season: “My preparation has been relentless for this season. I have worked on every single aspect of my game and I will arrive not only in physically phenomenal shape for St. Petersburg but also mentally relaxed and focused on the key elements to executing every single race weekend. I have left no stone unturned and I am ready to pounce on any opportunity and take absolute advantage of the strides the team has taken over the winter immediately.”

What he likes about St. Pete: “St. Pete has been good to me in the past. I won there in both Star Mazda and Indy Lights consecutively and I have always been very comfortable at the circuit. The weather is good and the crowd is usually strong. I will look to stand in victory lane with the ABC Supply team under the Florida sun come the weekend!”

A.J. Foyt returns to the track: Foyt makes his first race appearance since the Iowa race July 18th. He missed the final three races of the season due to a staph infection in his artificial right knee. He required two surgeries two months apart to correct. Foyt missed the first four races of the 2015 while recovering from his triple bypass surgery in late 2014.

Alfe Heat Treating returns as a major associate sponsor for season 6: What began as a limited race sponsorship in 2011 has evolved into a season-long sponsorship of the team for the sixth straight year. Headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Alfe Heat Treating, Inc. is the largest commercial aluminum heat treating operation in the United States. The company operates plants throughout the Midwest and Southeast serving aerospace, automotive, military, and commercial customers with both ferrous and non-ferrous facilities.

Valspar signs on for second season: Valspar returns as an associate sponsor of the No. 14 and No. 41 ABC Supply Hondas this season. Founded in 1806 and headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, Valspar Corporation employs over 10,000 employees in more than 25 countries. It is the fifth largest paint and coatings company in the world.

 

ABC Supply Co. enters its 12th season as marketing partner of AJ Foyt Racing: ABC Supply began sponsoring the AJ Foyt Racing team with the 2005 Indianapolis 500, and is the second longest active team sponsor in the Verizon IndyCar Series. With this season, the company ties U.S. Tobacco’s Copenhagen brand in length of sponsorship of Foyt’s team.  ABC Supply has leveraged its involvement by sponsoring races at Milwaukee and now at Pocono with the ABC Supply 500, and by entertaining over 75,000 associates and customers during the past 11 racing seasons. At St. Petersburg, the company will entertain nearly 570 guests.

During the off season at AJ Foyt Racing: Team President Larry Foyt hired George Klotz as team director to manage the day-to-day operations of the team.  Foyt hired Dan Hobbs as chief engineer of the No. 41 car and moved chief engineer Raul Prados to the No. 14 car. He hired Matt Curry as performance engineer of the 14 car and reassigned Daniele Cucchiaroni to become the performance engineer of the No. 41 car, thus reuniting him with Jack Hawksworth with whom he worked at Bryan Herta Autosport. Foyt signed Don Halliday as technical director to oversee the engineering department. He hired ex-driver Roger Yasukawa as Takuma Sato’s spotter and moved longtime spotter Larry Arnold to be Jack Hawksworth’s spotter. Last but not least, Foyt married Kelly Curran, of Houston, on Nov. 7th at Houston Oaks, the private golf community where the couple resides northwest of Houston.

ABC Supply national account Paul Davis Restoration, Inc., with its main office in Jacksonville, Fla., will be featured on the engine cover of Takuma Sato’s no. 14 ABC Supply Honda. Guests will receive the VIP treatment this weekend along with a Meet and Greet with Sato.

ABC Supply roofing customer C. Sterling Quality Roofing, with offices in Tampa, Hernando Beach and Clermont, Fla. won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. 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.

The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be televised live on ABC-TV Sunday, March 13th starting at 12:30p 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.

A.J. Foyt Racing – Phoenix Open Test: Highs and Lows

A.J. Foyt Racing logo

PHOENIX Feb. 27, 2016—The Verizon IndyCar Series returned to Phoenix International Raceway with an Open Test this weekend. For the ABC Supply team it was a case of highs and lows.

Both Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth visited PIR for the first time yesterday. Both drivers enjoyed running at the one mile oval track of which Sato said, “It’s great to be back in the car especially on the oval– the sensation of speed is very exciting. Phoenix is a quite challenging track. I like that Turn 1 and Turn 4 are very different in character. It’s great fun!”

The cars ran a daytime session (12 – 3pm) and a night session (5-8pm) both days which allowed them to test the cars in track conditions they will have for qualifying (daytime) and the race, which starts in the early evening (around 5:30pm).

Sato posted his best time in the Saturday evening session with a speed of 188.679mph, which was fourth best in that session. In the combined results for the two days, it was 13th quickest.

“It was a very productive two-day test here in Phoenix,” Sato said after the on-track activity concluded. “I’ve never been here before so there was a lot to learn, especially with the new aero package and new engine. The engine felt very powerful so we’re getting competitive speeds and that is exciting. The two sessions in the daytime and then again at night were quite tricky because the balance shift was quite big—more than we expected—but that means we learned a lot. Now we head to Sebring for another test to gather more data.”

Despite some minor setbacks, Hawksworth, who turns 25 tomorrow, had been settling in nicely when things took a turn for the worse in the final session this evening. As he explained, “We came into Turn 1 and the car just got loose. I caught it, but by that time it had all the lateral force and just took me into the wall. I don’t know what happened, but we snapped and that was it.”

Hawksworth escaped injury, but the car sustained significant damage to the right side. Hawksworth had reached a top speed of 184.010mph in this afternoon’s session.

Sato had lightly brushed the wall earlier in the session when he had to avoid a car which slowed dramatically in the racing line in Turn 1. Sato’s car sustained cosmetic damage to the right rear bumper but was able to continue once the car was checked out by the ABC Supply crew.

The team returns to Sebring International Raceway Wednesday for a final test before the season opener in St. Petersburg March 11-13.

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