Archives for A.J. Foyt Racing PR

‘What They’re Saying’ from the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Practice

‘What They’re Saying’ from the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Practice LARRY FOYT (AJ Foyt Racing, Team President): “We had a good test here in (March) and we felt like we’d be decent, so it’s nice. The hard work over the winter seems to be translating. You’ve still got to qualify, but that was…

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Foyt Racing Notes & Quotes – Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

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Notes & Quotes: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

Takuma Sato: No. 14 ABC Supply Honda

Jack Hawksworth: No. 41 ABC Supply Honda

 

TAKUMA SATO ON:

·         Barber Motorsports Park: “Barber is an impressive road course that I always enjoy driving. The track has many challenging high-speed corners and it flows beautifully. I also enjoy the great support from fans who are really enthusiastic for motor racing and just the nice overall atmosphere. The museum is truly impressive too!  I look forward to being back there!”

·         The momentum going into Barber: “We are carrying good momentum from the productive Barber test and of course the Long Beach race. It’s very important to build a confidence and good atmosphere for the whole team and certainly these two events have done that. I’m quite excited to do this busy back-to-back racing.”

·         The test at Barber: “It was not too long ago and wasn’t super cold like the previous year’s open test, so this year’s test results are quite relevant for this week’s race preparation. It was our first time to use the revised 2016 Honda aero package on the road course and we learned a lot. Now we have a better understanding of it and as a result we have more experiment test items we need to go through the early part of race weekend.”

·         The best place to pass: “Not many places in Barber, but it will be at T5 hairpin.”

·         His favorite sculpture or artwork around the track: “They are all interesting… and I probably haven’t seen or found them all because some are hidden. We can’t really see them from the race car or let’s put it this way that we just don’t see them. However, when we go for a track walk with the engineers before the race weekend, we see them; some are quite funny and some are actually scary! If I need to pick the one I like, it could be a big man trying to push the wall… it’s almost like I want to say “Oi! What are you doing there, sir?” It’s quite funny actually.”

·         His favorite food in Alabama (ribs? cornbread? okra?):  “I love OKRA. We have lots of them in Japan but I haven’t had it in Alabama so now that’s one of my missions; I want to find it this weekend.”

·         What he enjoys most about the track’s museum: “I enjoy it a lot! The whole museum is like a jewelry box! Great architecture and everything is so beautifully laid out. Each machine is so dedicated and it all looks to be in great condition. Amazingly, I believe most of them are runnable so that’s very impressive.”

·         Driving or flying there? “It’s our tradition for a few years now that my manager [Steve Fusek], his wife [Sue] and I drive down together from Indianapolis. I usually ‘book my seat’ called 1-C, which is a comfortable, air-conditioned, reclining leather seat with drink and food service from the lovely Cabin Attendant [Sue]. It even has free Wi-Fi available! It is because of the first class service that I enjoy this journey a lot.” The Fuseks have dubbed Takuma “The gentleman in 1-C.”

 

JACK HAWKSWORTH ON:

·         Barber Motorsports Park: “Barber is a great track that really flows well. The high speed corners and elevation changes make it a lot of fun to drive. I have won there in the ladder series and always enjoy coming back.”

·         The Barber test: “We had a very good test. We were able to test many items and expand our knowledge base of this tricky circuit. The pace of the car was very good all day and I think we finally have a good understanding of where we need to be setup-wise for this track. The test conditions were pretty warm as well so hopefully this should translate to the race weekend conditions.”

·         What is more important there — mechanical grip or aero: “Mechanical grip is always crucial wherever you go. Having said that, Barber has many fast sweeping corners where the car is creating a lot of downforce. In all honesty they are both married to one another and finding the correct balance between mechanical grip and the aero platform is very important.”

·         His favorite sculpture/artwork around the track: “I have to say as beautiful as the place is, I have never really paid too much attention to the artwork. I believe there is a spider somewhere? Yes I’ll go with the spider.”

·         Working with Daniele as your race engineer: “Daniele was my performance engineer at Bryan Herta Autosport in 2014 and also at the start of this year. He joined AJ Foyt Racing at the same time as me. He is exceptionally talented and bleeds racing. We have a very good relationship and I always knew he would engineer my car at some point. I just didn’t expect it to be so soon! I’m looking forward to the weekend and starting our season in Barber.”

·         His favorite food from that area: “California Pizza Grill and Panera Bread? J”

·         The track’s museum: “Yes, the museum is incredible. Some fantastic racing bikes and cars are on display. Every time I leave I can’t help but wonder how much the collection is worth!”

 

Daniele Cucchiaroni is promoted to race engineer: Cucchiaroni, who worked as the performance engineer on Takuma Sato’s car last year, moved over to Hawksworth’s No. 41 ABC Supply Honda for the 2016 season. Following the release of Hawksworth’s race engineer Dan Hobbs after the Long Beach Grand Prix, Cucchiaroni was elevated to race engineer starting with this weekend’s race. The 35-year-old engineer, of Spoleto, Italy, is in his third year of IndyCar racing. Prior to coming to the U.S., Cucchiaroni was a race engineer on the European GP2 circuit. He earned his 2nd Level degree (akin to a PhD) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Perugia in Italy.

Past Performance at Barber: Takuma Sato’s best start is 6th (2010) and his best finish is 13th (2014). Jack Hawksworth’s best start in two races was 19th (2015) and his best finish was 12th (2014). AJ Foyt Racing’s best start and finish—fourth and seventh respectively—came in 2012 with driver Mike Conway.

Last race: At Long Beach, Takuma Sato started eighth and finished fifth for his first top-five finish of the season. He is now sixth in the Verizon IndyCar standings.  Jack Hawksworth started 20th and finished 21st.

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 Barber, the company will entertain over 430 guests.

ABC Supply roofing customer, ABG Caulking & Waterproofing of Morristown, located in Morristown, Tenn., won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. 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.

ABC Supply national account Ben Hill Roofing, located in Douglasville, Ga., 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.

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 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will be televised live on NBC Sports Network Sunday, April 24th at 3:00pm 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.

Foyt Racing Report – Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

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Race Report: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. April 17, 2016—Elation and heartbreak. That was the saga in both of the ABC Supply pits today. Takuma Sato drove a great race and the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda team did a tremendous job in the pits as Sato claimed his first top five of the season in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Starting eighth, Sato bided his time for the first two-thirds of the race, saving fuel as his pit strategy called for just two stops in the 80-lap race. Terrific pit work on both stops saw Sato either maintain his position of eighth as he did in the first stop, or better his position as he did in the final stop coming out in sixth ahead of Will Power and James Hinchcliffe. With 23 laps to go, he then made a brilliant pass on Tony Kanaan for fifth. In the final 10 laps, he challenged Juan Pablo Montoya for fourth.

“We’re very pleased about today’s result,” Sato said afterwards. “Considering where we were in practice, we had such a strong comeback to qualify eighth. With no cautions in the race, we had to save fuel from lap 2 which was a tough game. But we kept cool –there was no margin for error–and it was just a matter of who could do the best job. When I needed to, I pushed like hell. Passing Tony Kanaan and challenging Juan Pablo Montoya for fourth, that was a thrill. The team did a fantastic job in the pits and got me out so I could push so hard. There was a good strategy and the car worked really well.  It was a great accomplishment for the team.  We’re very pleased.”

Jack Hawksworth, who started 20th, was trying an alternate pit strategy—pitting early and hoping for a yellow that never came in the caution-free race. It may have been for naught anyway because they never did find the sweet spot on the No. 41 car and Hawksworth struggled throughout the race. He finished 21st.

“Obviously a really hard day,” said the dejected driver afterwards. “Nothing makes any sense because we rolled out very quick but, similar to St Pete, the car wasn’t drivable in the race. I think we may have a fundamental problem in the car somewhere so we need to investigate that and start again at Barber. We were fast there when we tested the other week so we know we have a good setup. It’s just a matter of getting the fundamentals right. Pretty heartbreaking day for us but glad that the 14 had a good run.”

Simon Pagenaud won the race while Scott Dixon finished second. Pole winner Helio Castroneves was third followed by Montoya. Sato was the first Honda-powered car. He is currently sixth in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings.

The teams head to Barber Motorsports Park for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama which will be televised April 24thSunday afternoon on the NBC Sports Network.

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

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Qualifying Report: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. April 16, 2016—Two different directions and two different results can sometimes be the bane of a two-car team. It was the case for the ABC Supply team today in qualifying. However, they found out definitively what worked and what didn’t.

Takuma Sato’s team made the right calls as the 2013 Long Beach winner made the biggest gain from morning practice where he was 16th to qualify eighth. Sato was the second quickest Honda, being eclipsed by seventh starting James Hinchcliffe by just seven hundredths of a second. The session was made more difficult as the timing and scoring data wasn’t available to the teams during the session due to a malfunctioning timing beacon. Teams had to wait until officials sorted through the data to figure out positions five minutes after the session had ended.

“I think we should be happy with the result under the circumstances,” said Sato, who posted a quick time of 1 minute, 7.22 seconds. “We had difficulty in this morning’s practice but in qualifying we caught up to the quickest Hondas. It was a shame it was a couple tenths down from the top six especially because we had a little confusion in the second segment when we didn’t have any lap times for reference. So I needed to keep pushing and I feel I lost a little bit cause I caught up to the car ahead of me and had to lift on my final lap which was my fastest lap. But I think the ABC Supply team and engineering did a great job to make the car faster. After practice we went through all the data and came up with a different philosophy on the setup. I’m very proud of them. We’ll aim to have a clean and strong race tomorrow.”

Hawksworth’s team, in an attempt to better their performance which had been 11th or better during the weekend, made some changes that didn’t work as well as intended.  Hawksworth posted a lap time of 1 minute, 7.99 seconds, and said, “It was a disappointing qualifying for us. We struggled for grip and didn’t really have any bite. Obviously we were more competitive in practice so we have to figure out what went on and come back and recover tomorrow.” 

The Firestone Fast Six was comprised of Chevrolet-powered teams with Helio Castroneves winning the pole with a lap time of 1 minute, 7.12 seconds. Second through fifth were Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, Tony Kanaan, and Juan Pablo Montoya. Teammate Will Power lost his two fastest laps (which would have put him on pole) when he brought out a red flag and will start sixth.

There will be a morning warmup for teams to finalize their race setups. The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network starting at 4 p.m. ET.

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

A.J. Foyt Racing logo

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.

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