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AJ Foyt Racing Race Report – Toyota GP of Long Beach

Race Report: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. April 19–Lessons learned. After the carnage and the multiple yellow flags that flew in the first two races in the Verizon IndyCar Series, the drivers showed today that they can race fast and furious–and keep the bumping and debris to a minimum. Just one caution period (laps 5-8) slowed the 80-lap race around the 1.9-mile downtown Long Beach street course.

That was the good news. The bad news was that the ABC Supply Hondas could have used a couple more caution periods to make their alternate fuel strategy work since they were starting deep in the field for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

With Jack Hawksworth starting 16th in the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda and Takuma Sato two rows behind in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda, the team used an alternate pit strategy but needed a race with a few cautions periods to make it work. Both drivers pitted during the first caution to shed the primary compound tires and put on the faster alternate compound (aka red-rimmed) Firestones.

When the pace setters ducked into the pits on lap 29, Hawksworth took the lead and Sato was in pursuit until they pitted on laps 33 and 32 respectively. When the pit stops cycled out, they were in 14th and 15th position–which were their positions before they pitted. Pitting again on laps 52 (Sato) and 54, they ran nose to tail for nearly the rest of the race.

Hawksworth, who finished 14th said, “It was a tricky race, and we thought there were going to be more yellows than there were. The strategy was good but we just didn’t quite have the speed today so we’ll come back at Barber next week and have another go at it.”

Unfortunately for Sato, there was a miscalculation on fuel and his car sputtered on the final corner of the race. He coasted to the checkered, losing three spots, and finished 18th.

“Our tough weekend continues,” Sato said with a smile, noting, “but we finally had a good feeling of the car in the morning warmup today. The car’s potential was there before qualifying but we weren’t able to show the performance then due to the red flag which cut short qualifications. We were in the top 10 in this morning’s practice and had a positive feeling about the speed. I was optimistic for the race even though we had to start at the back. We had a good plan but there weren’t many yellows today, so not many chances to gain a lot of positions. At the end, we had a calculation problem on the fuel. I had to give up some positions as well as try to bring the car home. On the very last corner when I accelerated, it started coughing so I coasted to the checkered in neutral. The boys worked hard on the car all weekend and it’s just a shame we couldn’t produce a good result today.”

Scott Dixon won the race after taking the lead from pole winner and eventual runner-up Helio Castroneves during that first round of pit stops. Juan Pablo Montoya took third place from Simon Pagenaud during the second round of pit stops and fought off Pagenaud for the rest of the race, providing the most entertaining battle of the afternoon. Tony Kanaan, Dixon’s teammate, rounded out the top five.

The Verizon IndyCar Series heads to the picturesque and park-like Barber Motorsports Park outside of Birmingham, Ala. for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama April 26. The race will be televised live on NBC Sports Network starting at 3 p.m. ET.

Qualifying Report: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. April 18, 2015—An untimely red flag proved pivotal in the Round 1 Group 2 qualifying session for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this afternoon.

Jack Hawksworth and Takuma Sato were starting on the first of their two hot laps which would have been a true indication of where they stacked up after a productive morning practice session. However, neither driver was able to complete a hot lap as the crash by rookie Stefano Coletti brought out the red flag and sent everyone to the pits, thus allowing the track crew to remove the car and debris from the track. The session was cut short before many drivers had posted their best time on the alternate (red-rimmed), softer compound tires.

Hawksworth, who will start 16th in the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda, said, “We didn’t get the chance to put a time in because we were unlucky with the red flag situation. The car felt pretty decent this morning and I think we made the right changes for qualifying. I don’t think we would have been top three or four but I do think we could have been in the third or fourth row. Disappointing not to get a go, and see where we were at. But we came from the back at St. Pete, so hopefully we can come through tomorrow.”

Sato, who had been struggling to find the sweet spot in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda yesterday, felt they had made gains in the morning practice session.

“Another disappointing day,” said Sato, who will start 20th, right behind defending Series champion Will Power, who was also caught out by the red flag. “We tried various different setups in practice three to find good grip and balance and I think we made good improvement,” Sato continued. “I was quite looking forward to qualifying. Unfortunately, the red flag came out and qualifying finished before I was able to try for a fast lap. That was a shame.”

Helio Castroneves won the pole with a new track record time of 1 minute, 6.62 seconds (106.331mph) around the 1.968-mile street circuit. He was followed by Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Simon Pagenaud.

There will be a 30-minute morning warmup when teams can fine-tune their race setup. The race will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network starting at 4 p.m. ET.

Notes & Quotes: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

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

AJ Foyt Racing is the only team to have competed in every race (274) since the Indy Racing League began in 1996. This race will be the team’s 275th start, Sato’s 89th, and Hawksworth’s 20th in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Driving for Foyt, Sato won the event in 2013 to become the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race.


* Long Beach circuit: “The Long Beach track has a great balance of layout. It has both high-speed and low-speed corners and heavy braking followed by good straights which means there are a few over-taking opportunities for drivers. The track is a little on the lower side of grip-level but it can evolve a lot over the weekend as it rubbers down in the consistently good weather. The venue has a fantastic atmosphere and great restaurants downtown or nearby. It’s just one of the best street courses I’ve known from many aspects.”

* What makes winning at Long Beach so special: “Long Beach has got a long racing history with the greatest series [F-1 and IndyCar]. People love this race and winning it makes it even more valuable and special.”

* How the new aero kit will affect how he drives there: “It will affect the set-up as we have more downforce now. It should be a similar trend to the opening race which was another street course [St. Petersburg]. We were competitive there so we will see. In terms of driving approach, it shouldn’t be much different and we will love it with more grip available. You can brake late and carry more speed than ever. It will be exciting.”

* Key factor to success at Long Beach: “The car needs a very good mechanical grip for sure and downforce level should be varied. Some cars will have heavy [downforce] and some will have light because the track has a long straight and you need to be fast there, as well as good on the corners, so finding a good balance for the downforce level is a key factor.”

* On why experience seems more valuable here (many multiple race winners like Al Unser Jr., Paul Tracy, Sebastien Bourdais, Will Power, etc.): “Perhaps the track condition is quite stable for many years because the weather is consistent and the track requires precision from many angles. If it were the opposite way around, then the winner might be changing all the time… So let’s hope that history repeat itself!”


* Long Beach Grand Prix: “Long Beach is one of the most historic street circuits in the world and the list of great champions who have won there is endless. It’s a bit like the Indianapolis of street course racing and its history and prestige definitely sets it apart. In terms of track layout, it is very technical and challenging.”

* What he will look for in his Track Walk on Thursday: “Usually we’ll look for changes in the track surface and corners’ radiuses in comparison to previous years. Street circuits in particular are an ever evolving animal and it’s quite common to find little changes from year to year. It’s also a great time to talk about the specific driving and handling challenges each corner presents and what kind of things the car might need to deal with the challenges.”

* What he likes about racing at Long Beach: “The weather and the atmosphere. It’s a fantastic track in the best location! The circuit has a fantastic feel to it and there is always a great crowd and buzz around the paddock.”

* Last year’s race there: “We had a quick car in qualifying but we struggled a little for pace in the race. With that said, we ran top six for most of the race before the leaders crashed in front and I got collected in the accident. We sustained some damage but managed to get to the end albeit a few laps down.”

* On what he learned from the New Orleans race: “It’s true that NOLA wasn’t a good weekend on any front result-wise for us, but sometimes these kinds of race weekends are actually the most productive in the long run–they force you to dig deep and figure out how to come back stronger. I think we already have a pretty good handle on a few of the issues which hindered us and this will certainly help us all moving forward. Last time out on a street circuit (St Pete) the team showed some great pace in practice, qualifying and the race. With this in mind, alongside the great people we have in the team and the lessons from NOLA in the bank, I see no reason why the ABC Supply cars won’t be up there fighting for a good result!”

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 only IndyCar start there came last year when he qualified fifth and finished 15th after being involved in an accident triggered by the leaders.

A.J. Foyt will be watching from his home in Houston this weekend. Foyt is not planning to return to the IndyCar paddock until the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May.

ABC Supply celebrates the 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. At Long Beach, the company will entertain over 400 guests.

ABC Supply national account Diversified Roofing, headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., 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, Pacific Homeworks, located in Torrance, 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 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

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be televised live on NBC Sports Network Sunday, April 19th at 4:00pm ET.

For more information on the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing program, please check our web site: To follow us on Twitter: @AJFoytRacing, @TakumaSatoRacer, @JackHawk41, @LarryFoyt14. On Facebook, we have the AJ Foyt Racing fan page.

Race Report: Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS April 12, 2015–There was nothing easy about this race weekend in the Big Easy for AJ Foyt Racing’s ABC Supply team in the Verizon IndyCar Series’ first appearance at NOLA Motorsports Park, located just outside of New Orleans.

“A difficult weekend continues,” said Takuma Sato, driver of the No. 14 Honda.

“It’s not been a good weekend on any front,” echoed No. 41 Honda driver Jack Hawksworth.

The drivers’ disappointment was palpable as both were eliminated on restarts in the inaugural race that was defined by yellow flags. Indeed, only 31 minutes of the one hour, 45 minute race was run under green.

One driver’s disappointment was another’s elation though. James Hinchcliffe won the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana because his team gambled on pit strategy, and the large amount of caution laps favored his team’s decision to make just one pit stop early. He vaulted to the front when the leaders pitted for a second time on lap 33 of the 47-lap race. The gamble worked since the race was to end either at 75 laps or 105 minutes, whichever came first. Following Hinchcliffe to the line were Helio Castroneves, James Jakes, Simona DeSilvestro, and Juan Pablo Montoya, who led a race-high 31 laps.

The ABC Supply team did not find the ‘sweet spots’ on the 14 and 41 cars the first two days, but the team caught a break when the Hawksworth and Sato started eighth and 13th after qualifying was rained out and the grid was set by owners’ points.

In the race, the struggle continued as both drivers slipped backwards initially. However, when Sato pitted on lap 11 for alternate tires–and then Hawksworth on lap 13–the cars were handling better.

The first of six full course cautions came out on lap 15 for Gabby Chavez’s stall on track after spinning off. On the lap 19 restart, Hawksworth was behind Jakes when Jakes hit the curb as he rounded the last turn before the main straight. Jakes spun and Hawksworth went to avoid him only to have Jakes drift into his path and force Hawksworth into the tire barrier. The 41 car sustained substantial damage and could not continue. Hawksworth finished 24th. Jakes went on to finish third–winning on a bet just like his teammate Hinchcliffe.

“On a restart, someone spun in front of me and I had nowhere to go and we hit and I ended up in the tire barrier,” said Hawksworth. “It was very unfortunate and there was nothing we could do about it. It’s not been a good weekend on any front. We need to analyze what went wrong and put it behind us.”

Sato, whose struggles appeared to be over once the team switched him from wet tires to red slicks, had climbed from 20th to 12th when he pitted with the leaders on lap 33 during a caution period. A nine-second stop cost him a position but the six cars that didn’t pit (and therefore leapt to the front of the field) relegated Sato to 19th on the track. It was on that restart that Sato’s race took a terminal turn for the worse.

“It was very tricky conditions because we started the race quite wet but the rain had stopped,” Sato explained. “The line was getting drier every lap. We struggled with the grip and balance [in the beginning] so we decided to come in relatively early for slicks. We picked up good pace and gained some positions. Then on a restart Charlie Kimball and someone else tangled and came back to me and we had contact. It broke the sidepod and the wire loom so I couldn’t shift gears. Tough day.” He was credited with 22nd.

The team heads back to Texas tonight and will repair both cars before the ABC Supply transporters take off for California on Tuesday. The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, a race Sato won in 2013, takes place on Sunday, April 19th. It will be televised live on NBC Sports Network at 4 p.m. ET.

“The good thing about this series is there’s always another race next weekend, so we can put it [a bad one] behind us,” Hawksworth concluded.

Qualifying Report: Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS April 11, 2015—A combination of rain, lightning strikes and impending darkness forced officials to cancel the remainder of qualifying for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana today. That turned out to be good news for the ABC Supply team.

The field will be set by the owners’ points which means Jack Hawksworth will start eighth and Takuma Sato will start 13th which is where they finished in the season opener in St. Petersburg two weeks ago. The race’s winner, Juan Pablo Montoya, will start on the pole. Starting second through fifth are: Will Power, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud.

Both Sato and Hawksworth were able to sort out rather quickly that changes needed to be made before they raced tomorrow. Despite the brief qualifying session, there was enough time to assess the cars.

“Disappointing day,” said Takuma Sato. “We’re not performing well under the dry track conditions and it’s the same in the wet at this track, so we need to find out what’s wrong and make changes.”

Jack Hawksworth was a little more comfortable in his car although he only got one hot lap registered before the red flew.

“I thought we made the car better in the morning practice, because we were quite a bit closer to the top speed in the dry track conditions compared to yesterday,” Hawksworth said. “We closed that gap by almost 120%. We still have to find some pace but we’re in the ballpark and we have one more warm-up to fine-tune that gap to the front. We’ll be starting on points, so we start eighth and hopefully we’ll have a good race tomorrow.”

The pressure will be on the Verizon IndyCar Series officials to get the race completed despite the prediction for rain all day at NOLA Motorsports Park. The teams need to be in Long Beach, Calif. by Thursday for that city’s historic race next weekend.

Equipped with treaded rain tires, the cars can run in the rain as long as there isn’t too much rain which can result in standing water pooling in the track’s low spots. Standing water can spell trouble for the low slung Indy cars which can easily aquaplane and spin. Having never raced in the rain with the new aero kits, the drivers will be dealing with quite a few unknowns tomorrow if the weatherman’s prediction is correct.

The race will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Foyt Racing practice report – Indy GP of Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS April 10, 2015– The first practice session for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana was a struggle for the ABC Supply team as the Verizon IndyCar Series made its first visit to NOLA Motorsports Park. By the second session, however, the drivers were more comfortable with the cars and optimistic about their chances for the weekend.

In the first session, which was run under hot and humid conditions, the cars were deep on the speed charts (22nd and 23rd) and neither driver was happy. However, after analyzing the data, the engineers were able to come up with a setup that gave the drivers more confidence. Only 18 cars ran in the second session as some teams did not practice due to the less than ideal track conditions.

Takuma Sato, who was ninth in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda, said “It was a difficult first day for NOLA. The first session we were struggling with the grip level and the balance when the track was dry and we had to go through a lot of items and data to figure out why. In the second session, the track conditions were a little tricky because it was damp but towards the end it was 80-90 percent dry but there were still a couple damp spots. It’s relative but the car improved a lot and the car is in the ballpark. It was a good improvement and we were very happy that we were able to run the second session to check it out.”

Jack Hawksworth, who was 11th in the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda, also felt better about the improvement to his car’s handling, and said, “We didn’t roll off in the direction we should have but we wanted to try something that we thought was the way. We found a new direction the second session and I think it made a big difference. Both cars are looking a little bit better now and hopefully we can have a good day tomorrow.”

Tony Kanaan, in the Ganassi Chevrolet, was the quickest of the day with a time of 1:18.8743 (125.058 mph) around the 2.74-mile road course, a time he set in the first session. All of the times in the first session were quicker than the second session due to better track conditions.

The teams have one more practice session tomorrow before qualifying which will be televised live on NBC Sports Network tomorrow starting at 5 p.m. ET. The 75-lap race will be broadcast live Sunday afternoon starting at 2:30 E.T.

AJ Foyt Racing Notes & Quotes: Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana

Notes & Quotes: Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana

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


* NOLA Motorsports Park: “It’s a new track for us, so to optimize the set-up will be a one of the challenges. Also, there are a few fast corners around this track so that’ll be challenging for the driver. Turns 1 and 3 are probably the most popular places for to pass at NOLA and at the end of the back straight could be another one. There will be slight modification for Turn 1 from when we tested there so we will see, but it seemed very bumpy on the inside of the braking area toward Turn 1 so that will be a bit of a concern when overtaking.”
* NOLA’s similarity to other tracks: “Everyone says it feels like the Indy road course. That’s because the track is very flat and has a couple of high-speed chicanes. To me, there are some bumpy, tricky corners which remind me a little bit of Edmonton’s airport circuit. It’s in a big, open field and you can see pretty much everything from the grandstands. There is not much of a real run-off area and that field is a little rough if you go off, so that’s similar to Edmonton too. However, NOLA will be installing some new gravel areas so that will improve the safety of the track. I look forward to going there.”
* New Orleans: “I’ve been to New Orleans for an appearance for our sponsor ABC Supply but it was just in and out the same day, so it wasn’t a real city visit. Downtown sounds a lot of fun: great food, Jazz music and many events around the historical Jackson Square. I don’t know how much time I can spend there on the race weekend this time, but I am certainly very interested to visit a new place!”
* The St. Petersburg race: “We are very concerned about the fragility of the new aero kits, and increased possibility of pieces coming off the car. There were some long yellows because of that at St. Pete. However, the new aero kit brings excitement to: the cars go faster, there is great competition and the engine improvement definitely boosts our chances for good results. There are many elements we could improve and the race result could have been better, but generally speaking we were satisfied with our performance. I feel we will be building a good season ahead.”


* The 8th place finish at St. Petersburg: “St. Pete was a very good race in the circumstances. Starting at the back puts you in a tricky position but fortunately the team was able to run a really good strategy and get me into clean air. Even more importantly, we had a very fast car which allowed us to set the necessary lap times to vault up the field once all the pit stops had shaken themselves out. There’s certainly a very positive atmosphere in the team at the moment and we are very excited about the speed of both cars. Hopefully we can have a clean weekend at NOLA, qualify at the front and make things a little bit more straight forward for ourselves in the race!”
* What he learned at St. Pete: “There is a lot of turbulence when following other cars in comparison to last year due to the new aerodynamic kits, plus the front wings are also a little more fragile. I don’t think it’ll take long for the drivers to adjust, but certainly the style of racing is going to change a little this year as car preservation is more critical than with the old DW12 aero kit. From the team’s perspective, we were able to continue our development and understanding of the new aero package as well as continue to smooth out the operational side of expanding to two cars.”
* Going to new venues: “I really enjoy going to new circuits. It’s always exciting to see which teams and drivers can understand the circuit quickly with the limited track time we get over the course of a race weekend. The strategy is always very interesting as well due to the fact we have no previous race data to call on. It makes for some interesting races!”
* NOLA Motorsports Park: “It reminds me of a slightly quicker version of the IMS (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) road course as they’re both very flat with a couple of quick corners and some long straights with big braking zones. Hopefully this should open up a lot of overtaking opportunities in the race.”
* Drivers giving more room at NOLA: “I certainly don’t think you’ll see quite as much bumping and banging as we have seen in recent years because the front wing structure is just not as strong as previously. Having said that, this is IndyCar racing and it is always furious, fast and aggressive. I think they’ll be a lot of action this weekend.”

* ABC Supply roofing customer, Sunrise Homes, located in Slidell, LA won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest for the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana. 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.

* A. J. Foyt makes cameo appearance at Foyt Wine Vault. A.J. Foyt made his first public appearance at an event held in the Foyt Wine Vault in Speedway, Ind. last Friday evening. Foyt and his family flew up and back the same day to see the renovation of the Main Street building which he bought last October. Overseen by Larry and A.J. Foyt IV, the most striking transformation was the Foyt Wine Vault, a 3,000 square foot tasting room which will open to the public in May. In addition to featuring premium Foyt Family Wines, the room is a tribute to Foyt, and houses the last IndyCar he drove in the Indianapolis 500 as well as many photographs and artifacts from his illustrious career. Foyt is expected to return to racing action with the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May.

* ABC Supply celebrates 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. At NOLA, the company has provided race tickets for 100 guests.

* 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

* The Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana will be televised live on NBC Sports Network Sunday, April 12th starting at 2:30pm ET.

* For more information on the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing program, please check our web site: To follow us on Twitter: @AJFoytRacing, @TakumaSatoRacer, @JackHawk41, @LarryFoyt14. On Facebook, we have the AJ Foyt Racing fan page.

Race Report: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. March 29, 2015–‘It ain’t over til it’s over.’

Jack Hawksworth took that famous Yogi Berra quote to heart in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg today.

Hawksworth started 21st and clawed his way to an eighth place finish in the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda after trouble early in the 110-lap race. Takuma Sato, who started fifth in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda, had contact on a restart and pitted for a new front wing. Relegated to last on lap 36, he came back to finish 13th.

Juan Pablo Montoya beat out pole winner and teammate Will Power to claim the victory. Third through fifth were Tony Kanaan, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud.

Due to Hawksworth’s early pit stop to replace the damaged front wing, his team opted for an alternate fuel strategy. As drivers began pitting for fuel around lap 22, Hawksworth advanced through the field and was third when the caution for debris was called on lap 26. On the lap 32 restart, Hawksworth lost a couple positions as the other drivers were on fresh tires. At the same time, Sato and Sebastien Bourdais made contact while battling for sixth. The hit was hard enough to damage Sato’s wing, which he limped around with until the team saw it was too damaged to continue and called him in on lap 36.

Thanks to the generosity of team owner Dale Coyne who lent the ABC Supply team one of his front wings (his car had already retired from the race), Sato was back in action.

Meanwhile, Hawksworth had pitted on lap 35 under caution and then opted to stay out during the next caution period on lap 47, so he vaulted from 15th to the lead, which he held until the race went green on lap 53. The young Brit ran in the top four until pitting on lap 70, which dropped him back to 18th. As the final round of pit stops began around lap 80, Hawksworth moved up to third again. He made his final pit stop for about three seconds of fuel on lap 95 under green. He rejoined the race in 12th position, ran his fastest lap of the race on lap 99, and then began passing more cars with just 10 laps to go.

“That was a really fun race, really entertaining,” said Hawksworth. “After the disappointment in qualifying, the guys really worked hard last night and found what was wrong and corrected it and gave me a fast car today. We lost the front wing on the first lap, replaced it then had some contact in the middle of the race and lost an end fence. I didn’t have a clue what was going on out there, I was just pushing like crazy all the way through once we got into clean air because I knew that was going to be important. The guys made good stops, got me in clean air and we finished in the top 10 from the back of the grid. I was really happy for the whole ABC Supply team. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy with an eighth place finish before.”

Sato soldiered on and passed a few cars even though the new wing’s settings were not quite the same, and the car was not quite as good as it had been. However, with a set of new red tires in the final stint of the race, Sato set his fastest lap of the race.

“It was a tough race,” Sato said afterwards. “We got a good start and gained a position, but then after a restart, there was a bottleneck in turn 1 and I was boxed in. Bourdais and I touched and it damaged the front wing. We had to change it and that really decided our race. We were able to overtake a few positions, but the time we lost was too great and we couldn’t get back to the front. It was a tough one for our ABC Supply team but hopefully we got some good data for the next race.”

AJ Foyt Racing Team President Larry Foyt was satisfied with his ABC Supply team’s efforts this weekend.

“Jack drove a great race, and Takuma did a good job to finish,” said Foyt. “Having two cars is a great help. With the short amount of testing that we had and then coming here, we saw huge benefits from it. It was really nice to be able to validate some things, and go in different directions. For example, when we had the problem with Jack’s car in qualifying, if we were a one car team, we might have wondered if it was the setup or something mechanically with the car that could be amiss. Knowing that Takuma’s car was good with a similar setup was a huge help to us because we knew we needed to find something amiss with Jack’s car. The multi-car team is already paying dividends. Today we were able to split strategies with both cars which was exciting, and one got a top-10 out of it, so we’re definitely seeing the benefits already.”

The Verizon IndyCar Series will race for the first time at NOLA Motorsports Park outside of New Orleans on April 12th. That race will be televised by NBC Sports Network starting at 3 p.m. ET.

Qualifying Report: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

TSO NOTE: Sorry Foyt fans, this came in late, but we missed sending it!  Apologies!

Qualifying Report: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

PETERSBURG, Fla. March 28, 2015—Takuma Sato became the Honda standard bearer in qualifying today as he put his No. 14 ABC Supply Honda in the fifth starting slot for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Team Penske Chevrolets grabbed the first four spots in Firestone Fast Six qualifying with Will Power winning his fifth pole in the last six races here. Sato has been the only driver to unseat Power from the pole which he did last year with his pole-winning run in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda.

“To be in the Fast Six the past two seasons, well, this track is very kind to me and we’ve been able to put in a good result in qualifying although it wasn’t on the front row today,” said Sato in the post-qualifying press conference. He added, “Congratulations to Team Penske for their dominance of qualifying and in particular, Will [Power].

Power posted a time of 1:00.6931 which was fast enough to beat Sebastian Bourdais’ 2003 track record of 1:00.928 seconds. Sato posted a time of 1:01.1496 seconds.

Teammate Jack Hawksworth didn’t fare quite as well –his No. 41 ABC Supply Honda car sustained a problem today which the team is investigating and is working to solve it before tomorrow’s final warm-up session. Hawksworth will start 21st tomorrow.

“For some reason we were struggling under braking,” said a disappointed Hawksworth who was sixth in practice yesterday and the top performer in the Honda-powered camp.  He added, “The rear of the car was pretty loose and we didn’t have any traction so we need to find out why. Obviously on the first day we had a pretty competitive car so we need to understand what’s going on and come back better tomorrow. Fortunately we have the final warmup where we can validate what’s going on.”

Sato credited having a teammate to helping improve his car after yesterday’s session.  “I’m very proud of our team, especially going from a one car team to a two car team, and the team worked hard to put everything together,” said Sato. “Jack had a little issue today but we gathered good data from yesterday and made a significant improvement in today’s practice session.

“The ABC Supply Team’s done a great job gathering data from the two cars and working together,” Sato said. He continued, “I was comfortable in today’s practice session so in qualifying I was able to push really hard. I’m really proud of what we’ve done as a team. Over the course of the winter they prepared to go from one car to two and that has definitely helped. Everyone did a great job.”

Power will be joined on the front row by his new teammate Simon Pagenaud. Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya are in Row 2, while Sato and Chevy-powered Sebastian Bourdais are in Row 3.

The teams will have a final warm-up session from 12:00 to 12:30. The race will be broadcast live on ABC-TV starting at 3:00 p.m. ET.

Practice Report: Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. March 27, 2015–The ABC Supply team got off to a solid start in St. Petersburg today with Jack Hawksworth and Takuma Sato putting the ABC Supply Hondas in the top half of the 24-car field. The drivers were on track for just one practice session with rain washing out the second session in the late afternoon.

Hawksworth posted a time of 1 minute, 1.8713 seconds which was the quickest of the Honda-powered cars and sixth fastest overall. Sato was 12th quickest at 1 minute, 2.1274 seconds and the third quickest Honda.

“We thought we weren’t going to get any running in today [because the forecast was for rain], so it was nice to get on track and get some driving in,” said Hawksworth, who is making his debut this weekend in the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda. “I think we started off quite strong and the baseline of the car seems pretty good, so I’m quite excited to see what we can do tomorrow. Compared to last year’s car, we see a lot more grip so we can brake later and carry a little bit more speed through the corners. The practice times were faster than qualifying last year so that shows you how much grip the cars are generating this year.”

“It’s great to be back in St. Pete,” said Sato, who won the Verizon P-1 Pole Award last year with a time of 1 minute, 1.8668 seconds in his No. 14 ABC Supply Honda. “We waited for so long over the winter. The past two weeks we went testing to prepare for this event. The car worked pretty well the first session but we need to adjust more for the new aero and increased downforce. The lap times are already as quick as last year’s qualifying. It’s going to be a lot faster tomorrow and I’m looking forward to having a good practice before qualifying. Hopefully, in qualifying we’ll be strong.”

Eclipsing Sato’s pole-winning time was Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power who posted a time of 1 minute, 1.4709 seconds in his Chevy-powered car.

There will be a 45-minute practice at 12:30 p.m. ET tomorrow. Qualifying begins at 4:15 p.m. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will be televised live on ABC Sunday afternoon starting at 3 p.m. ET.

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