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Race Report: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

Race Report: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. Aug. 30, 2015—The day began in tears and ended in tears. A touching tribute to Justin Wilson, the popular British IndyCar driver who passed away Monday from injuries sustained at Pocono Raceway, left steely eyes moist at Sonoma Raceway.

Two hours later, when Scott Dixon edged out season-long point leader Juan Pablo Montoya by winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma to snare the Astor Cup and the Verizon IndyCar Series title right out of Montoya’s hands, there were tears of joy in victory lane.

Dixon, who entered the race third in points, capitalized on the double point bonus in the season finale which allowed him to tie point leader Montoya who finished sixth in the race. The tie breaker – the driver who won the most races – went to Dixon who claimed three victories to Montoya’s two.

In a much quieter celebration in the ABC Supply pits, Takuma Sato emerged from the No. 14 cockpit, elated with his ABC Supply team’s performance. Sato, who started 18th, finished eighth through a combination of smart driving, consistently fast pit stops and an off-sequence pit strategy to gain track position.

Sato pitted early – on lap six and again on lap 22 – so when the full course yellow came on lap 33 for a tangle between Will Power and his teammate Juan Pablo Montoya resulting in Power spinning out, strategist Larry Foyt told Sato to stay out to gain track position which he did, jumping from 19th to seventh on lap 35 when most of the field pitted. Sato pitted twice more, with the final pit stop coming on lap 62. He dropped back to 18th but several cars still had to pit.

Meanwhile Jack Hawksworth had climbed from his 25th starting slot to eighth by lap 51 as he too was using an off-sequence fuel strategy. When he pitted for his final stop on lap 62, he fell to 19th but as others pitted, he climbed back to 15th. A full course yellow on lap 65 for James Jakes off track excursion closed up the field. The drivers who hadn’t pitted ducked into the pits for their final stop which allowed Hawksworth and Sato climb to 10th and 13th respectively.

A few laps later, Hawksworth was running ninth when, by his own admission, he made an aggressive move past Carlos Munoz resulting in their both spinning and bringing out another full course yellow on lap 72.

Hawksworth pitted for a new nose while his teammate moved from 12th to 10th. Sato gained a couple more spots when Sebastien Bourdais tangled with Graham Rahal vying for sixth on lap 77. Rahal, a championship contender, dropped to 20th and then Bourdais joined him after serving a drive-through penalty for avoidable contact.

With four laps to go, Power charged past Sato (nearly taking him out) to take seventh on the track. The move gave Power enough points (three) to overtake Rahal in the standings for third place in the championship. Sato finished 14th in the drivers’ standings.

“First, big congrats to Dixie and the whole Ganassi organization – they did a great job to achieve winning a championship as well as the last race. It’s fantastic to see them on top,” Sato said. “It was a tough start for us from 18th so we had to try a different strategy from the leaders – different pit stop sequence – in order to move forward.  Indeed we did. The crew did a fantastic job on all the stops getting me into position to be able to fight on the track. Had a couple overtakings, which I really enjoyed. Thank you to the fans for their great support and of course ABC Supply for the whole season, and of course Alfe for their support. A top 10 is a good way to finish off the season and we learned so much because we had a two car team this year which helped this team to move forward. Thank you to the team for all their support!”

Hawksworth finished 19th in the race and placed 17th in the drivers’ standings.

“We struggled for pace in the beginning because the car wasn’t good on the right handers, but as the race went on, we made some strategies work and we had some good restarts where I could pass a lot of cars on track,” Hawksworth said. “That got us back into the hunt, we saved some fuel, pitted before the last caution and that got us into the top 10. Then I had a bit of a stupid move. We were really bad on old tires so I was trying to make as much ground as I could at the beginning so once the end came, and we were slipping and sliding I wouldn’t go backwards as much. But I just got a little optimistic and touched Munoz and broke my front wing. Congratulations to Scott on his championship and Ganassi Racing—impressive finish.”

Following Dixon under the checkered flag were Ryan Hunter-Reay, Charlie Kimball, Tony Kanaan and Ryan Briscoe. In the championship series standings, Dixon was followed by Montoya, Power, Rahal and Helio Castroneves.

Qualifying Report: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. Aug. 29, 2015–“It was a tough qualifying session for us,” Takuma Sato said after climbing from his car.

And so it was. Sato will start 18th while Jack Hawksworth will start 25th. Hawksworth lost power and oiled down the track as he made his way back to the pits before he could lay down a lap on the faster, alternate (red) tires.

Sato posted a time of 1 minute, 17.55 seconds (110.702mph) around the picturesque 2.3 mile road course in northern California. “We struggled for speed throughout the practice session but then the car was improved after the first run in qualifying, so I had a positive feeling,” Sato said. “Unfortunately there was a bit of traffic on course when we were on our quick lap, so we weren’t quick enough to get through to the second segment. Last year we made a good improvement in the warmup session on race day, so I guess we have to do that again.”

Indeed, after qualifying 14th last year, Sato was able to snare a fourth place finish in the event through a combination of an improved car set-up and savvy race strategy.

Hawksworth also struggled for speed this weekend. The team made changes to the car for qualifying but never got the chance to see whether it would be fast enough to break through to the next segment. He posted a time of 1 minute, 19.04 seconds (108.627mph).

“We went out there, did a couple laps on the black tires, came in for the reds [tires] and made some changes,” Hawksworth said. “It felt a bit better but then we had an engine issue and lost power. It was not a good day. We’ll try and have a good one tomorrow.”

Will Power won the Verizon P1 award with his time of 1 minute, 16.25 seconds (112.589 mph). Rounding out the Firestone Fast 6 were Josef Newgarden, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud, Juan Pablo Montoya and Graham Rahal.

The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network starting at 4 p.m. ET.

Notes & Quotes: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

Notes & Quotes: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
Takuma Sato: No. 14 ABC Supply Honda
Jack Hawksworth: No. 41 ABC Supply Honda

TAKUMA SATO On:

  • Sonoma Raceway: “Sonoma is one of the most dynamic road courses in our recent calendar, so I always love racing there but it is quite challenging to put everything together. The track is initially low grip as it is nicely surrounded by a dry and sandy environment but as the track rubbers down, it gets faster and faster. Although I said the track is low grip, it is only so in the low-speed corners, and it’s well known that this is one of the most physically demanding tracks in the Verizon IndyCar Series due to the many constant high-speed and high G-force corners. The car’s set-up can be quite tricky too as both mechanical grip and aerodynamics demands are really high. For the race, with relatively a lot of elevation change, a long lap, and a couple of heavy braking areas, the fuel mileage becomes very important. Last year I had strong fuel saving with good pace, so we were very competitive and that trend should continue this year.”
  • The aero kit at Sonoma: “There are so many high-speed corners, the effect of the new aero kit’s increased downforce could be big here. We haven’t tested here with this year’s aero kit so it is a little unknown but we have good data from the previous road courses so it should work really well.”
  • Double points for season finale: “It is going to be an exciting finale as six contenders are eligible for the Championship. For us it is a good opportunity to move up in the Verizon IndyCar Series point standings. We had our best finish at this challenging track last year so we will be doing our best to finish high again.”
  • Justin Wilson’s passing: “I am extremely sad. I couldn’t find the words… impossible. It is going to be very hard for all of us to race in Sonoma after we lost our friend Justin Wilson. He was a great driver, but a better human being and everyone loved him. We shared a good time in F1 and IndyCar both on and off track and I will never forget it. This sadness hits massively in the motorsport world but we need to continue racing, which he loved. We will race for Justin’s parents, his wife Julia, daughters and entire family and sport with our deepest condolences.”
  • The danger of racing cars: “Racing is hard. I think there are two separate subjects when we talk about the danger of racing. The safety environment has been massively improved in the last 20 years, and it is nothing like it was before. Nowadays, a driver can walk away even after 100G impact in a 200mph accident and I had some but I was never injured. Having said that, it doesn’t mean racing is safe, it is still dangerous in some degree. Likewise you need a driver’s license to drive a car on public roads because the physical energy that a car has is enormous when you use it in wrong way. You have a huge responsibility and you must follow the rules because then we all can enjoy our cars on the road or on the track. But there is one significant difficulty we have been facing in the formula car category which is related to the open cockpit. We are well protected from a side, backward and even forward impact but it is still very difficult to avoid from flying debris directly in front. The sport is looking into this problem, and it will improve in the future but right now it is very difficult find an immediate solution for this specific type of accident.”

 

JACK HAWKSWORTH On:

 

  • The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and Sonoma Raceway: “It’s been a very difficult few days for the sport with the news of Justin’s passing. However Justin was a racer and one of the great ambassadors for our sport and with knowing that I’m sure he would be pushing for us all to put on a great show this weekend. Sonoma is one of the most interesting circuits on the calendar; it is low grip and almost street course-like in some places, but then it’s extremely fast and high grip in other places. The race in Pocono did not go well for us despite having a decent car in the race due to an issue at the first pit stop and then being squeezed under the apron later in the race. It was extremely disappointing but I’m hopeful we can put that behind us and finish out the season strong this weekend on one of my favorite circuits.”
  • What he likes about Sonoma: “I like the challenge that Sonoma brings. The contrast between fast and slow corners, high grip and low grip and then the huge elevation changes make it one hell of a race track. It’s also in beautiful area and the weather is always great!”
  • The best place to pass: “The best passing zone is probably down into the hairpin after Turn 6. If you can get a nice run off Turn 6, then you should be able to have a go at the car ahead into the brake zone. Historically it’s not been the easiest of circuits to pass on though, so qualifying and strategy will be crucial.”
  • Justin Wilson’s passing: “I only knew Justin for the short time that I was competing against him but it quickly became evident that he was not only a great racer and true professional, he was also a top guy. There was never even a shade of arrogance with Justin; I admired the way he raced on the track and carried himself off it.”
  • The danger of racing cars: “Racing can be dangerous and always will be. It’s a part of our sport and although accidents and incidents like this are extremely saddening, we should remember that every driver and crew member is given the choice to do this and we all do it because it is what we love doing. Justin’s death came whilst he was chasing his dreams and enjoying his passion, there is no better way to live.”

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.

 

Past Performance at Sonoma:  In five races at Sonoma, Sato’s best start and finish came with Foyt Racing: starting 13th in 2013 and finishing fourth in 2014. Last year, Jack Hawksworth started 18th and finished 15th. In nine appearances, the Foyt team’s best start (13th) and finish (4th) came with Sato.

 

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 465 guests.

 

ABC Supply national account Waterproofing Associates, based in Mountain View, Calif., 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, D7 Roofing Services, Inc., headquartered in Sacramento, Calif., 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 GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma will be televised live on NBC Sports NetworkSunday, August 30, starting 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.

Honda Performance Development statement on the passing of Justin Wilson

Art St. Cyr, president, Honda Performance Development “To say that we are heartbroken over the loss of Justin Wilson would create the false impression that our pain is localized. At a time earlier in the season, when we were in a continuing struggle to remain competitive in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Justin was the guy…

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Qualifying Report – ABC Supply 500

LONG POND, Pa. Aug 22, 2015–Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth qualified ninth and 14th respectively for the ABC Supply 500 under sunny skies at Pocono Raceway.

Sato, who was fifth in the morning practice, posted a two-lap average speed of 219.578 mph to start outside of row three. Hawksworth, who was 10th in practice, posted a speed of 218.331 mph, and will start in the middle of the fifth row in the three abreast start.

“It was a very good run,” Sato said after his run (he was third at the time). “We had a very good morning practice session and the car improved with every run. We were confident for qualifying. Obviously it is always a balance between downforce and drag. The car was sliding a bit but I was able to control it and was satisfied with the lap. So good job to all the ABC Supply boys and engineers for making the car very fast. Hopefully we’ll have a good car in the race.”

Hawksworth had to wait for an hour for the track to repair the catch fencing in Turn 3 after Charlie Kimball lost control of his car during the first lap of his qualifying run. Kimball spun, hit the safety barrier and got up into the catch fence. He emerged with a slight injury to his chin and left hand but has been cleared to drive tomorrow. By the time Hawksworth had qualified, the weather conditions had changed.

“It was a pretty solid run–the car felt pretty good,” the 24-year-old Brit said. “It was really nice through Turn 3, okay through Turn 2 and probably a little too much understeer in Turn 1. It seems like the wind picked up on my run because I had to change my gear strategy during the run. Once I did that, the second lap was a little bit better. It felt like we had a little too much downforce as well but it should be a good race car for tomorrow.”

Helio Castroneves won the pole with a speed of 220.530 mph. Second through fifth were Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Graham Rahal.

The ABC Supply will be televised live Sunday afternoon starting at 2 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.

Foyt Racing Notes – ABC Supply 500 at Pocono

NOTES & QUOTES: ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway
Takuma Sato: No. 14 ABC Supply Honda
Jack Hawksworth: No. 41 ABC Supply Honda
Takuma Sato On:

* Pocono Raceway: “I like Pocono Raceway. The venue is set up in a great natural environment that I always enjoy and the track is very challenging. The characteristic of this tricky triangle is so much fun that every corner is totally different and feels like an ultra high-speed road course. I always enjoy driving here especially since we were able to find a good setup for the last two races here.”
* The key setup for the race: “Turn 1 and 3 are very different corners as one has a big banking and the other has no banking which made the balance of the car quite different so we work to get closer on balance between these two and seem to be succeeding at that. Since we have a very good chassis setup here, I believe we should be strong even with the new aerokit. Particularly since the configuration of the aerokit is the version that we run well with this year.”
* Running strong and finishing: “We know what happened the last two races here so I’m confident we will be able to finish as strong as our start. It’s another long 500-mile race so it will be very challenging for all of us but I have a good feeling.”
* Having 1300 ABC Supply guests in the stands: “It just feels fantastic for another great support from our title sponsor ABC Supply. Having 1300 guests is massive, and it is very impressive. Hopefully they enjoy watching us have a strong this weekend.”
* How he enjoyed his time off: “It was a very nice time off. I spent a good amount of time with my family and had a great trip to both Europe and Canada. We did lots of things while in South France and shared good times with my old friends. We also had a fantastic time in the mountains in western Canada, lots of great outdoor activity that was so much fun, so I am totally refreshed and ready to go to Pocono race!”

Jack Hawksworth On:

* Pocono Raceway: “The sheer size and width of the front straight is pretty spectacular! It’s certainly the most diverse oval I have ever raced on. Each of the three corners is completely different in terms of banking and radius which is very unique.”
* Last year’s accident: “Last year’s accident was a combination of a few things, pushing a little hard on cold tires and being a little aggressive in terms of car setup to try to dial it in for qualifying. We had a limited amount of track time that weekend and with no testing leading up to the event, I think it pushed us into a tricky situation. That’s racing sometimes!”
* Any hesitation about returning to track where you got injured? “Honestly, I’m really hoping for some redemption at Pocono this year. The accident wasn’t fun but it’s a long time ago now and it would be great to firmly wipe that one from memory with a good run this year. The team has been strong there in the past and I would absolutely love to capitalize on that. I have to say the guys have been working hard since Mid-Ohio in all areas, and I think we have seen some consistent improvement throughout the team of late with four top-10’s in the last eight races. We have a long road ahead still, but we’ll be looking to see out these last couple of races with solid performances so that we can carry some positive momentum into the off season.”
* How he enjoyed his time off: “I stayed in Texas the whole time. Last weekend I went shifter karting in Dallas which was a lot of fun.”

– A.J. Foyt will miss the final two races of the season. Foyt underwent surgery August 10 due to a staph infection in his right artificial knee (the January, 2012 infection was in his left artificial knee). The prosthesis was removed, and in its place an antibiotic-infused cement spacer was inserted to aid in clearing up the infection. Once his doctors are satisfied that the infection has cleared (about six weeks), Foyt will undergo another surgery to have a new artificial knee implanted, which will require an additional six weeks of recovery time. “Well this is one of the worst things I’ve gone through in my life,” Foyt said, adding, “Knowing I have five or six weeks dealing with this and then having to get operated on again to take the spacer out and put in a new knee. This staph infection, it’s the second time I’ve had it and it’s really beat me down. I don’t know if I’ll ever be like I used to be but I’m sure hoping, so I’m fighting awful hard.”

– Past performance: Last year Takuma Sato qualified fourth and was running third when his car had electrical problems, forcing him out after 25 laps. Jack Hawksworth did not start the race because of an accident in the first practice in which he sustained a bruise to his heart muscle. It was the only race he missed last year.

– 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.

– ABC Supply will host over 1300 guests on race day at Pocono Raceway. The company is celebrating its 10th anniversary as primary sponsor of A.J. Foyt’s No. 14. Since ABC Supply began sponsoring AJ Foyt Racing in 2005, they have entertained well over 70,000 people at Verizon IndyCar Series events.

– ABC Supply national account Schernecker Property Services, based in Waltham, Mass., 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, Pieros Construction Co., located in Somerville, N.J., 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 460 branches in 47 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 500 will be televised live Sunday, Aug. 23, starting at 2:00 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.

– For more information, please check our web site: www.ajfoytracing.com. Facebook: AJ Foyt Racing fan page. Twitter: @ajfoytracing.@TakumaSatoRacer

Race Report: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio Aug. 2, 2015–Sophomore driver Jack Hawksworth carried the standard today for the ABC Supply team in the Honda Indy 200 at the picturesque Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Hawksworth started 11th in the No. 41 Honda-powered car and finished eighth for his fifth top-10 finish this season.

Hawksworth had been fast all weekend, which was underscored in the morning warmup when he was third quickest. An off-track excursion at the end of that session necessitated a new front nose but the team remained confident for the race. However, the early cautions did not play out in his favor regarding pit strategy (which was pitting with the leaders), and for the long middle stint he was running in the 20th position.

However, the caution on lap 66 for Sage Karam’s spin came after Hawksworth’s pit stop and he vaulted to 10th as half of the field made their final stops during the full course caution. Hawksworth needed to save fuel to make it to the end but when another caution came out with 10 laps to go, he was told by his race strategist Mitch Davis that “Now we can go racing!” When the checkered fell, he was eighth.

“It was a long race with lots going on,” said Hawksworth, whose hands were bruised earlier in the day from his shunt with a tire barrier. “We couldn’t catch a break at the start and then we were running eighth when the caution bit us and we cycled to the back. The car was okay once the tires came in, but we struggled on the initial start and restarts because we didn’t have as much grip as we did in practice, so we have to look into that. But we hung in there all day and it was one of those days where it could have all gone wrong but we got a break with the caution at the end, passed a couple cars and got a top-10 finish. It’s good to get some points.”

Sadly, Takuma Sato, making his 100th Verizon IndyCar Series start, did not fare as well. Starting 16th in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda, the team pursued an alternate fuel strategy, pitting before the end of the fuel stint to get out of sequence with the field. By doing that, Sato gets in clean air and can log faster lap times since he isn’t hampered by traffic.

Several other teams had the same idea so the track was not quite as open. On lap 20, rookie Stefano Coletti was attempting to pass Sato and the front wing of Coletti made contact with Sato’s rear bumper sending him into a spin. Sato recovered and made it back to the pits but his rear wing assembly was damaged and had to be replaced.

The team was confident that it could be done in short order but the damage from the collision resulted in a freak breakage which prevented them from attaching the new wing assembly smoothly. It took more than a lap to assess the unusual circumstances and find the solution. By the time Sato rejoined the field, he was two laps down. An off track excursion on lap 60 resulted in the left rear bumper being torn so Sato had to retire from the race.

“A very disappointing race,” said Sato afterwards. “We took an early pit stop because this track is so difficult to overtake and the alternate strategy opens up some opportunities. Unfortunately we had an incident with Coletti who tried to overtake me and clipped my rear wing and damaged it. We had to come back to replace the entire rear assembly. Something happened and it took too long so we went down a couple laps. It’s very difficult to recover from that. In the end we ran wide, went off track and damaged the rear bumper, and we had to retire. It’s very disappointing but hopefully we will be strong in the last two races.”

Coming from Japan to share in Sato’s milestone achievement were 27 members of his international fan club, and his mother, Akiko, who usually makes one race a year. In a story on IndyCar.com penned by Dave Lewandowski, Akiko Sato said, “When I go to the races, I go not only as a mother but as one of Taku’s fans. I’m happy he continues to pursue his dreams. He had a very strong wish for racing and worked very hard to get where he is today.”

Sato wore specially designed helmets this weekend which will be auctioned off in Japan to benefit the charity ‘With you Japan’ that he founded in the aftermath of the tsunami and earthquakes that struck his country in 2011.

Designed by Tomo (who designs most of Sato’s merchandise) and Sato, the helmet features the number 100 on the left side along with Mid Ohio and the today’s race date. The right side has the number 001, Sao Paulo and Mar 14, 2010 (his first race). Down the middle are outlines of all of the circuits he has raced on in his 100 starts. The practice helmet’s color scheme is blue, with red and white while the race helmet is blue chrome with red and white accents; both helmets were painted by Studio Kome, the company that paints all of Sato’s helmets.

Ohioan Graham Rahal won the race at his hometown track to pull within nine points of Series points leader Juan Pablo Montoya. Finishing second through fifth were Justin Wilson, Simon Pagenaud, pole winner Scott Dixon, and his teammate Tony Kanaan.

The IndyCar Series returns to action at Pocono International Raceway Aug. 22-23 for the ABC Supply 500. The race will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network starting at 2 p.m. ET.

Qualifying Report: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

 

LEXINGTON, Ohio August 1, 2015—Driving the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda, Jack Hawksworth qualified 11th for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Saturday afternoon while his teammate Takuma Sato will start 16th in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda. Defending race winner Scott Dixon won the Verizon P1 pole award with his record-setting lap of 1 minute, 4.5814 seconds (125.869mph).

Hawksworth is one of 11 drivers to break Dario Franchitti’s track record (1:05.347) set in 1999. Hawksworth posted a time of 01:05.2291 (124.619mph) which is his best start since the Indy Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May. He was also the second quickest Honda-powered driver, with Ryan Hunter-Reay topping that Honda list with his seventh place run.

“We started off pretty good this morning and the practice sessions were pretty promising,” said Hawksworth, who was seventh quick in Friday’spractice. “In qualifying, the car felt ok, we just had a little too much understeer in the medium speed corners. On the black tires, we are a little bit stronger than we are in the reds so that bodes well for the race. We’ll make some adjustments this evening and come back tomorrow and have a good race. Our practice speeds look good and both cars were strong all weekend. Hopefully we can find a little more pace and we should be good for the race.”

Sato, who was fifth quickest in practice yesterday, was not able to match that performance today.

“It was a tough qualifying session; we lost out by only a couple hundredths of a second to transfer,” Sato said after posting a lap time of 1 minute, 5.5933 seconds (123.927mph). “We were competitive in practice but the other cars improved a lot. We also made improvements but not enough.Tomorrow the track will be different again and hopefully we can make the car faster for the race.”

Starting second through sixth were all Chevy-powered drivers:  Will Power, Sebastien Bourdais, Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden, and Charlie Kimball.

The race will be broadcast live on CNBC starting at 1:30p.m. ET; the broadcast will be re-aired on the NBC Sports Network at approximately 6:00pm ET, immediately following the NASCAR race at Pocono International Raceway.

Takuma Sato Set To Make 100th Start in the Verizon IndyCar Series

LEXINGTON, Ohio July 30, 2015–It seems like only yesterday that Takuma Sato, the personable driver who hails from Tokyo, visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during May in 2009 and watched Indy cars thunder through Turn 1 without lifting, leaving him awestruck but intrigued.

“I was shocked!” Sato recalled. “It was just amazing to see the cars screaming, coming at you at 225mph into Turn 1, and the car was sliding and you can see the driver was correcting in the cockpit. At first I thought I couldn’t do it. (laughs) That was very impressive.”

A year later he became a rookie in the IndyCar Series after competing in Formula 1 where he racked up 23 Top-10s including six Top-5 finishes in 90 races. His best finish was third at Indy.

For a youngster whose only exposure to racing was attending the first Formula 1 race in Suzuka in 1987, Takuma Sato is a rare driver who has had two careers at the top level in open wheel racing: Formula 1 and IndyCar. He is one of only two current Verizon IndyCar Series drivers, the other being Juan Pablo Montoya, who have competed in Formula 1 for more than two years. Interestingly, Montoya went to F-1 after racing Indy cars while Sato came to the IndyCar Series after a six year career in F-1. With Sato’s 100th IndyCar start at Mid-Ohio set to take place this weekend, Japan’s most successful racing driver reaches a noteworthy milestone in his second career as an IndyCar driver. In his first 99 races, he has amassed one victory, five poles, five podiums, 10 Top-5s and 25 Top-10s.

Following is a short Q&A with him.

What does this 100th race signify to you? “Getting older! No, really I just appreciate many things, especially the people who helped me to get where I am today. It is wonderful to be able to keep doing what you want, so the 100th race will be a great memory but it’s just a milestone so I will keep on going!

In 2010, did you envision still being here in five years? “Yes because although I wasn’t the youngest, I was young enough to make it, and I believe I still am! Obviously motor-racing is a complicated sport and you need to be in the right environment. It is extremely difficult to get a fair chance, so I really feel lucky and appreciate everyone’s support as I am still driving competitively.”

To what do you attribute your success in the IndyCar Series? “Meeting the right person and being in the right place at the right time. Well, IndyCar is very fair from just the pure racing point of view. People can shine here if you’ve got the right pieces of the puzzle which is not easy to get but not impossible either. Strongly believing in yourself combined with the support of good people can make it happen.”

What is your favorite part about being in the IndyCar Series? “The exciting racing! There is so much action on track. You have great chances to win the race compared to the other top category in the world where your chances could be extremely limited.”

What is the most challenging part about the IndyCar Series? “You really need to be an all-rounder because of the variety of tracks we race on: road courses, street courses, short ovals, and super-speedways. It is a big challenge to adapt quickly your driving style for each quite different environment which is very interesting and lots of fun. I’m enjoying it.”

Thinking back to when you started, what surprised you the most? “Racing side-by-side at over 220mph! That happens only in IndyCar and it is quite an experience. Also, although you don’t really want to experience it but when you lose control at the Speedway, hit the wall and can walk away! It happens so quickly and you’re traveling backwards–again at over 200mph sometimes–and you could record over 100Gs-impact but walk away unhurt! That was very impressive. I’m very grateful for the safety improvements, but when you just think about it, it is an incredible thing!”

What is the greatest lesson you learned? “Never give up so your dream can come true. Keeping fit and staying in good health is also fundamental, and you must have that so you can reach that milestone 100th race–and work on the next 100!”

What others are saying…

A.J. Foyt, Owner, ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing: “I’m glad to see him get to his 100th race, and have him in my 14 car when he does it. He is a hustler, and he always runs hard. He’s a real gentlemen, but a hard charger on the track. He reminds me of Kenny Brack in some ways and I think together we’ve made a good team. He’s helped us and I think we’ve helped him.” Foyt, who made 369 starts in an Indy car added with a laugh, “He still has a long way to go to catch up to me!” [100th start: Won – Springfield, IL 1965]

Larry Foyt, President, ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing: “It seems like yesterday Taku joined the IndyCar Series from F-1. I remember how quick he was right out of the box and I knew then he was a special driver. I’ve enjoyed working with him, and to be a part of his first win in IndyCar is truly memorable. Congrats on your 100th Taku! I’m looking forward to another memorable milestone together!”

Art St. Cyr, President, Honda Performance Development: “Takuma has been a part of the Honda Racing family from the start of his career in Japan, through his successful, championship-winning Formula 3 efforts and many years in Formula One. As part of our IndyCar Series program for the past five seasons, he has always been thrilling to watch, no more so than when he won the Grand Prix of Long Beach for Honda and A.J. Foyt Racing in 2013. Congratulations, ‘Taku’, on your 100th Indy car start. All of us at Honda look forward to more excitement and victories in the races ahead.”

Teammate Jack Hawksworth: “100 is a great number to hit and I’m sure he has many more races left in him! I hope we can celebrate Taku’s milestone with a good finish for both of the ABC Supply cars. We found a pretty good direction with the cars at Barber and Indy R/C so we are pretty optimistic about the opportunity to have a strong weekend.”

Tony Kanaan: “It sure doesn’t look like Taku has been in IndyCar for 100 starts. He spent a good time in F1 and it seems like yesterday when he showed up at the IndyCar paddock and started mixing it up with the old guys like me. During our stint as teammates at KV Racing I was always amazed with his work ethic and also the ability to put a good lap together. Qualifying was one of his strengths and I was always playing catch up trying to match his lap times.” [100th start: 2nd – Pikes Peak, CO, 2002]

Will Power: “Takuma is someone who I looked up to when I was in the junior formulas. I remember before I went overseas to race British Formula 3, I would watch his onboard videos around Macau which was really spectacular. And, when I was overseas he was in Formula One and he was always phenomenal to watch. I thought it was pretty cool when he chose to come over and race in IndyCar and it’s been fun to get to compete against him. I admire his motto “no attack, no chance” and it reigns true on the track. He definitely gives it a 100% all of the time and attacks and he only thinks about one thing all of the time which is winning. I consider Takuma a friend and I think it’s fantastic that he has 90 starts in Formula One and will have 100 now in IndyCar.” [100th start: 2nd – Sonoma, CA, 2012]

Scott Dixon: “For someone to have done 90 F1 starts and then reached 100 starts in IndyCar is a hell of an accomplishment. I’ve also admired the way he drives. He’s made for some thrilling qualifying sessions and many races. I’ve been shocked at how he’s been able to wheel that car around and a car that’s not always that competitive. He has an amazing knack of being able to get more than everything out of the car in quali. My all-time favorite was his speech when he nearly won the 500. When Taku and Dario went wheel to wheel! Loved the quote “I may be small, but I needed a little more room!!” [100th start: 4th – Sonoma, CA, 2006]

Helio Castroneves: “Takuma is a fast driver! I remember hearing about him in the time from British F3 when he won the championship; I said this guy will be different from the other Japanese drivers. Today I say for sure, he is special, mainly in the wet–he is “D” man . Congrats on the 100th race, am looking forward to many more battles on the track!” [100th start: 2nd – Indianapolis, 2003]

Notes & Quotes: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

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

TAKUMA SATO On:

Mid-Ohio: “I like Mid-Ohio because it’s a nice technical track with some fun elevation changes. It’s not one of the biggest tracks but it reminds me of a British country-like track and I love it. Also the fans are really enthusiastic, true race fans; sometimes they even bring pictures from my British Formula-3 days! I like the atmosphere a lot. The track itself is quite tricky because the track conditions can be very different from time to time. The track evolution is enormous, so at the beginning of the session there is extremely low grip but it gets better and better as the track rubbers down. We have to be careful to not chase the track conditions but still you need to know where the car set-up needs to be. Hopefully we can make the car faster with the right set-up at the right time. We haven’t run the road course tires with this aero kit since the front wing modification in June so that should be interesting. It’s been nearly three months since our last road course race so I’m looking forward to it.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH On:

* Mid-Ohio: “Mid-Ohio is one my favorite races on the schedule. The circuit is tricky and challenging but it also has a very nice flow to it. I especially like the section from turn 4 to turn 9. The series always gets a great turn out here and the atmosphere is fantastic.”
* The key to a good car set-up at Mid-Ohio: “Mid-Ohio is one of the most technically demanding circuits on the calendar. It has a mixture of fast corners mixed with a lot of medium speed changes of direction. There’s also a lot of elevation change. Looking after the outside front tire in the longer duration corners by having a car which rotates well is critical.”
* The best place to pass: “Mid-Ohio is one of the most difficult circuits we go to in terms of passing. Track position is king there but if you are going to make a pass, it’s probably going to be down into turn 4 or the keyhole.”
* How Mid-Ohio compares to tracks in Europe: “Mid-Ohio is actually very similar to the kind of tracks we have in England! It’s an old school road course with a lot of elevation change and not much room for error. It reminds me of Brands Hatch and Oulton Park, two of my favorite circuits!”

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.

Past Performance at Mid-Ohio: In five races at Mid-Ohio, Sato’s best start was third in 2010 with KV Racing and his best finish was fourth in 2011 with KV Racing. In his rookie season, Hawksworth started 18th and finished 16th at Mid-Ohio. In eight appearances, the Foyt team’s best start (7th) and finish (4th) came in 2009 with Ryan Hunter-Reay who was subbing for the injured Vitor Meira that season.

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 775 guests, 100 more than last year.

ABC Supply national account Tri-C Construction, based in Akron, Ohio 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, Feazel Inc., located in Westerville, Ohio 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 Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio will be televised live on NBC Sports Network Sunday, August 2nd, starting at 1:30pm 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.

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