LEXINGTON, Ohio—Despite a positive test at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last week which saw Tony Kanaan second quickest out of the 13 cars that tested, the setup didn’t work when the team returned to the 2.258-mile park-like road course this weekend. And it was true for nearly every team that tested. Such is the…
Archives for A.J. Foyt Racing PR
July 25, 2018 AJ Foyt Racing crew member Marty Armstrong is in charge of preparing, building and maintaining the gearboxes for both of the ABC Supply Chevrolets. Growing up in Germany, Armstrong’s interest in racing began as a youth when his father took him to many different types of auto races. When he came to America in…
TORONTO—They call him “The Ironman” and he proved once again why. Competing in his 295th straight IndyCar race, Tony Kanaan posted his best finish of the season–sixth—in this year’s most physical race yet. His younger competitors were citing it as their toughest race yet and with good reason. Temperatures soared into the low 90s making…
July 14, 2018 TORONTO—On the streets of Toronto’s Exhibition Place, Matheus ”Matt” Leist posted his best qualifying run in the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet since the Indianapolis 500. He will start 12th in the Honda Indy Toronto. Leist advanced out of Round 1, and in a bit of strategy that almost worked in Round 2,…
NEWTON, Iowa —These are the races that try men’s souls.
From the start of the weekend, A.J. Foyt’s team was struggling at Iowa Speedway, the superfast 7/8-mile banked bullring of a track that brings out the best and worst in teams – sometimes at the same time.
Their struggle was exacerbated by having only an hour long practice before qualifying for the Iowa Corn 300 yesterday. Still the team appeared to make some progress with their ABC Supply Chevrolets as Tony Kanaan qualified 13th, running his fastest lap of the day in qualifying. Matheus Leist ran conservatively after crashing in practice when the car bobbled out of Turn 2 and spun, making contact with the wall. Leist would start 22nd. In the final practice session, Kanaan had improved to run ninth quickest and Leist ran 13th quickest giving the team hope for race day.
Race day conditions were quite a bit hotter than final practice, which, although taken into account, the hot and slippery track did play havoc with the cars’ setup. It was the most difficult race of the season for the entire team which has been working constantly since April with nary a day off between races and testing.
“It isn’t for a lack of effort,” said Eric Cowdin, the team’s technical director, noting the hard work and long hours being put in by the engineers, mechanics and drivers.
In the race, it appeared that both drivers were going to be in for a long day but as it turned out, Leist was told to park it after 40 laps.
“The car was too difficult to handle and he was just hanging on, so we brought him in,” said Team President Larry Foyt. “There wasn’t much sense in staying out there under the conditions.”
The more experienced Kanaan soldiered on to finish 17th. Both drivers are looking forward to getting back on the streets of Toronto next weekend.
The race was slowed by only two caution periods. The first caution came on lap 139 when rookie Zach Veach brushed the wall lightly (and was able to continue after a lengthy pit stop). With just seven laps remaining, the second caution was triggered by Ed Carpenter’s half spin which was straightened out when Takuma Sato clipped him. Both cars continued on but there was a piece of debris that had to be cleaned up, hence the race finished under caution.
James Hinchcliffe took the checkered, making the Canadian’s trip home to Toronto much sweeter. He had passed Josef Newgarden on lap 256 and was never headed. Newgarden had dominated the race to that point, leading 229 laps but had slipped to third by the time of the final caution. He had pitted for fresh tires but since the race finished under yellow, he placed fourth. Spencer Pigot finished second for a career best finish while Sato came in third. Hinchcliffe’s teammate Robert Wickens finished fifth and was the last car to finish on the lead lap.
The ABC Supply team heads back to the Indianapolis race shop to prepare both cars for the Honda Indy Toronto which will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network starting at 3 p.m. ET.
NEWTON, Iowa – Iowa Speedway, the ‘fastest-feeling’ track in the Verizon IndyCar Series, is proving to be even more challenging than usual with the universal aero kit which substantially reduced the downforce on the Dallaras this year.
With lap times ranging from 17.6 seconds to 19 flat, trouble happens quickly and with very little warning. So it was for Matheus Leist and his No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet this morning in the first practice. His car got loose coming off Turn 2, did a quick wiggle as he almost saved it, and then spun making contact with the wall.
“To be honest, I still don’t really know what happened,” Leist said after exiting the
track’s infield care center. “I just lost the rear coming out of Turn 2. I’m a little bit disappointed for myself and the team so we’ve got some work to do but you know, this is racing. This is an oval and sometimes things like this happen so now looking forward to qualifying and the race more. It’s tough. It’s actually the first time I’ve crashed on an oval so it’s a weird feeling but it’s on to the next step.”
Leist escaped unhurt and the car sustained damage to the left rear corner which the crew was able to repair but Leist missed the rest of the practice session. Tony Kanaan, who did not test at Iowa, struggled in practice as well and wound up 18th on the practice chart.
After making some changes to the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet, Kanaan ran his fastest lap of the day with his first qualifying lap—18 seconds flat—and the two laps combined averaged out to a speed of 178.008mph for 13th spot on the grid or inside row 7.
“It wasn’t very good,” said Kanaan, who won the 2010 race here. “We struggled this morning so the track was really slippery. It was hotter right now, this morning it was a little cooler, so it was a handful [in qualifying]. We went the quickest of what we did all weekend so I guess we did something right. It was a little nerve-wracking in the car, I haven’t been this uncomfortable in a long time. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Leist who didn’t have any laps in his rebuilt car prior to qualifying drove conservatively to just put it in the show. His average speed of 168.724mph puts him 22nd, the outside of row 11.
“Unfortunately we crashed in practice this morning,” Leist shared. “I’m happy that my guys managed to put the car back together again. They did a great job as they only had three hours to do it but we’re still struggling with the car setup. We have to figure out something faster for tomorrow. We’ll keep working hard and try to race to the front. We’ll have some time to figure out something in the final practice but right now it’s not fun to drive a car like this.”
Will Power won his 52nd pole position with his average speed of 182.391mph, a full mile-an-hour quicker than his teammate Josef Newgarden who will start second. Rounding out the top five were Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud and Alexander Rossi.
There is a one hour final practice this evening when the cars will run in race trim as they zero in on the optimum settings for 300 laps around the IndyCar bullring. The race will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network tomorrow afternoon starting at 2 p.m. ET
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR ERIC COWDIN ON:
Testing at Iowa Speedway: “We were able to get basic setup information from Matheus running at the test. The 2018 aero package has a lot less downforce so gearing and mechanical setup will be very important.”
How the car will handle in traffic (similar to Phoenix?): “We didn’t have an opportunity to run in traffic at the test. I would hope that the nature of the Iowa Speedway would provide more passing opportunities than Phoenix.”
The biggest challenge with this new car on a track like Iowa Speedway:“The biggest challenge is the lower downforce level for this year. The downforce in the past had created a much higher grip level but a slower top speed. Now the cars have much quicker speed into the corner and a slower mid-corner speed with less grip.”
How much simulator testing shortens the learning curve: “We have primarily used the simulator for road and street course preparation. In general it has helped us be much closer on ride heights, gearing and general setup when we first show up at a race track.”
What is more challenging at Iowa Speedway—the banking or the bumps:“The bumps are the biggest challenge. You can tune the springs and dampers for a particular line the driver is taking but as soon as he drives a different line, you have a whole new set up bumps to deal with. The key is to find the best compromise overall.”
If anything applicable from Phoenix in terms of setup:“The basic short oval package will be similar. There are changes required for the increased load in the banking and the bumps.”
Whether this car is the most difficult car he’s ever had to engineer: “The lower downforce level is something new that we have to deal with at every event we go to. The driver is a lot busier in the cockpit driving the car which I think, in general, they enjoy. As far as engineering the car, we have had to refocus our efforts in different areas of development than in years past.”
Why the team is struggling so much halfway through the season after a strong Indy: “The majority of our focus and efforts were on the Indianapolis 500 up to that point. Now we are reprioritizing our efforts to identify and improve our weaknesses. Because the IndyCar Series is so diverse in the type of tracks we race at, each weekend presents new challenges.”
TONY KANAAN on Iowa Speedway:“Next up we go to Iowa Speedway, a short oval that’s one of my favorite tracks of the year. It’s a place that keeps you on your toes at all times and although it’s just under a mile long it makes for a extremely fast and exciting race. I didn’t test there with the new aero configuration and honestly I don’t know how the car will handle compared to what we used to have downforce wise, but I expect it to be a harder race than usual. Being a short track we’re always running in traffic and hopefully we have a good balance to keep the No. 14 up front and get another trophy for the hardware collection.”
MATHEUS ‘MATT’ LEIST on Iowa Speedway: “Pretty excited and glad to be back in Iowa—it was a good race for me last year. I started tenth and won the race so it was a fun race. I’m looking forward to the IndyCar race on the short oval which is a pretty cool track. I think our team will do a great job there.”
Last Race: At Road America, Kanaan started 18th and used an alternate pit strategy which didn’t work out because the race ran caution-free for the first time since 2000. He placed 14th. Leist started 20th and finished 15th.
Past Performance at Iowa Speedway: In 11 races, Kanaan’s best start is second (2015) and best finish is winning in 2010 with Andretti Autosport. TK has led 523 laps and has five podiums: a victory, two seconds and two thirds. Leist’s experience here is in Indy Lights; in his only race, he started 10th and won. He figured out the outside line early in the weekend, and on a restart after the race’s only caution, he went from seventh to fourth in one lap and took the lead four laps later and was never headed. AJ Foyt Racing’s best start is 13th in 2016 with Takuma Sato, and its best finish is fifth in 2007 with Darren Manning.
ABC Supply is in its 14th season as primary sponsor of A.J. Foyt’s IndyCar team, making it the longest running team sponsor in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The company was founded in 1982 by Ken and Diane Hendricks with just three stores. The company now has over 700 stores and topped $9 billion in sales in 2017. ABC Supply began sponsoring the AJ Foyt Racing team with the 2005 Indianapolis 500. The company has leveraged its involvement by entertaining over 92,000 associates and customers over the past 13 racing seasons. This weekend the company will entertain over 350 guests.
ABC Supply account Great Plains Roofing, based in Harrisburg, S.D., will be featured on the engine cover of the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet. Guests will receive the VIP treatment this weekend along with a Meet and Greet with Tony Kanaan.
ABC Supply roofing customer, Total Construction & Maintenance, based in Eden Prairie, Minn., won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest. The company name will be on the engine cover of the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet. Guests will receive the VIP treatment plus a Meet and Greet with Matheus “Matt” Leist.
The Iowa Corn 300 will be televised live on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, July 8, starting at 2:00 pm ET. Qualifying is broadcast live on NBCSN Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.
For more information on the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing program, please check our website: ajfoytracing.com. To follow us on Twitter: @AJFoytRacing, @TonyKanaan, @MatheusLeist, @LarryFoyt14. On Instagram, @AJFoytRacing, @tkanaan, @matheusleist, @larryfoyt14. On Facebook, we have the AJ Foyt Racing fan page.
A swing and a miss.
Decisions made with the best of intentions did not work out as planned which resulted in the drivers having a tough day in the cockpit. Adding to the troubles, the team chose a strategy for Tony Kanaan that to truly succeed needed a full course caution and the race ran caution-free for the first time since 2000. However, all information is useful and the team will analyze the data to determine how to improve in the future.
With Kanaan starting 18th, the team used an attack all day strategy—one of the few to do so—which meant four stops and running full rich on fuel. On the first lap he jumped from 18th to 13th which is where he ran until his first pit stop on lap 7 which dropped him back to 21st.
As the leaders pitted seven laps later, he cycled up to seventh before making his next stop on lap 18, which then dropped him back to 19th. He climbed back up to eighth before his third stop on lap 30, he returned to the race in 17th. He was up to 10th before his fourth and final stop on lap 43. He dropped to 15th when he returned to the race and then posted his fastest lap of the race three laps later to take 14th, which is where he finished in the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet.
Kanaan was succinct in his assessment of his race, saying, “We missed on the setup. No excuses. We need to get better.”
Splitting the fuel strategies between the two cars, Matheus ‘Matt’ Leist ran the traditional strategy which was three stops and saving fuel from lap 1 on. Even so, Leist picked up four positions on the first lap to vault from 20th to 16th. He lost a position a few laps later but as the pit stop cycles began he climbed to 15th before his first stop on lap 13. The next stop on lap 27 did not go well and Leist dropped to 20th. He maintained his cool and got back up to P13 before coming in for his final stop on lap 41. He returned to the race in 18th but as the stops cycled out, he finished 15th in his No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet.
“Today was a really tough race,” Leist said afterwards. “We’ve just been struggling a lot finding the right car setup. We can’t quite figure out the best setup for tracks like these [permanent road courses]. All we can do is prepare the best we can for Iowa.”
Towards that end, the team heads to Iowa Speedway for a test with Leist on Wednesday.
Defending IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden, who won the pole in his No. 1 Verizon Chevrolet, only lost the lead temporarily during his first pit stop, leading 53 of 55 laps. Second through fifth were the Honda-powered cars of Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, Takuma Sato and Robert Wickens—five different teams finished in the top–five.
The Iowa Corn 300 is scheduled in two weeks and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, July 8th starting at 2 p.m. ET.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis.—A.J Foyt’s team will have its work cut out for them in tomorrow’s Kohler Grand Prix at the picturesque Road America, a four-mile road course in eastern Wisconsin.
Despite a positive practice Friday morning in the ABC Supply Chevrolets in which Tony Kanaan was sixth and Matheus ‘Matt’ Leist was 10th, the team struggled in the afternoon session, prompting some changes overnight. The morning session before this afternoon’s qualifying round indicated the changes didn’t work so the team regrouped.
However, in qualifying, both drivers still struggled with a persistent understeer.
Kanaan posted a lap of one minute, 44.1165 seconds and will start 18th. He cited running into traffic on his quick lap as a contributing factor in his run.
“I got traffic on my fast lap but it would have just put us in the top 13, not enough to advance,” Kanaan said. “The car is understeering all weekend. We tried something overnight that didn’t work so it put us behind a session and we’re back to the car we had yesterday. It was the same car so we were going to do the same lap time as yesterday when we tried the reds. Getting traffic didn’t help but it wasn’t going to change a lot – maybe a few positions, which always helps but we’ve got a little bit of work to do.”
Leist will start directly behind Kanaan in 20th, having posted a time of one minute, 44.3438 seconds.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit finding the best setup for the car,” Leist said. “We need to concentrate for tomorrow so that we have a great car for the race. It’s a long race and you never know what can happen. We will keep working, improving, and doing our best and will try to have a top 10 tomorrow.”
The engineers will be going in a different direction for tomorrow’s race after analyzing the data from today.
In a published report on Indycar.com, tomorrow’s race will be Kanaan’s 293rd consecutive race and marks the 17th anniversary (to the day) of when he started his streak June 24, 2001. An IndyCar record, the feat has earned him the nickname of “Ironman.”
Josef Newgarden won the Verizon P1 pole award with a lap of one minute, 43.2026 seconds in the Firestone Fast 6 round. Second through sixth were: Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Robert Wickens, and Sebastien Bourdais.
The race will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network starting at 12:30 p.m. ET.
MATHEUS “MATT” LEIST on Road America: “Road America is a pretty cool track. It is one of my favorite tracks in the world and my favorite track in the U.S. Last year I had a great weekend there in Indy Lights winning the first race [of two] as well as the pole position. Each time we work together as a team, we are developing the car and getting quicker. I think we might have a great car for this weekend and I’m looking forward to it.”
- On testing there June 13th: “Testing went okay. I think we figured out a lot of new things and mainly things that we should not try at the race weekend because we tested and realized that doesn’t work. I believe we might have a competitive car and I’m looking forward to a top-10.”
- On differences between the Indy Lights car he won with last year and the ABC Supply Chevrolet: “It was not a big difference. Indy lights car is pretty fast and the lap time is less than 10 seconds slower to the Indy car, which is pretty impressive on such a long track. But basically the Indy car is just faster through the high speed corners and at the big braking zones.”
- On importance of qualifying here: “It is important but not as much as a street course. It’s an easy track to pass on, I’d say. But I hope to be starting at the front, so I don’t have to worry about passing people.”
- On the key to running well there: “It is just the same as everywhere else, being fast, consistent and trying to maximize your performance with what you’ve got.”
- On why he likes Road America so much: “I don’t know to be honest. You usually like the places where you’re fast or the places where you’ve done well so that’s why I think. And it is such a cool track to drive too, it’s old school, has long straights, slow corners, fast corners and is also a narrow track.”
TONY KANAAN on Road America: “I love going to Road America for a number of reasons. It’s a very cool, fast and challenging track, the fan experience is one of the best in America and it’s the closest INDYCAR race to ABC Supply’s headquarters, so I’m expecting to have a lot of support during the weekend.”
Last Race: At Texas, things could not have gone much worse for the team at its home track. Leist escaped serious injury when he extricated himself with the speed of a 19-year-old after his car caught fire due to a cut o-ring in the fuel system after just five laps into the 248-lap race. Twenty laps later, Kanaan brushed the wall in Turn 2 and damaged a toe link in the right rear suspension. The team repaired the car and Kanaan rejoined the race 12 laps down. After several laps, team owner A.J. Foyt asked Kanaan to park the car, citing the risk vs. reward was not worth it.
Past Performance at Road America: In seven races, Kanaan’s best start is third and best finish is second in 2016 with Ganassi Racing. Leist’s experience here is in Indy Lights; in two starts (same weekend), he won the pole and the race in his first start. In his second race, he started second and finished fourth. AJ Foyt Racing’s best start is 11th in 1994 with Eddie Cheever, and its best finish is eighth in 1991 with Mike Groff. The team did not compete in IndyCar races there from 1996-2007.
ABC Supply is in its 14th season as primary sponsor of A.J. Foyt’s IndyCar team, making it the longest running team sponsor in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The company was founded in 1982 by Ken and Diane Hendricks with just three stores. The company now has over 700 stores and topped $9 billion in sales in 2017. ABC Supply began sponsoring the AJ Foyt Racing team with the 2005 Indianapolis 500. The company has leveraged its involvement by entertaining over 92,000 associates and customers over the past 13 racing seasons. This weekend the company will entertain over 645 guests.
ABC Supply national account Baney Construction and Restoration Inc., based in Rockton, Ill., will be featured on the engine cover of the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet. Guests will receive the VIP treatment this weekend along with a Meet and Greet with Tony Kanaan.
ABC Supply roofing customer, Dick’s Roof Repair Service, based in Kenosha, Wis., won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest. The company name will be on the engine cover of the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet. Guests will receive the VIP treatment plus a Meet and Greet with Matheus “Matt” Leist.
The Kohler Grand Prix will be televised live on NBC Sports Network on Sunday, June 24, starting at 12:30 pm ET.