Race Report: Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT

BALTIMORE Sept. 1, 2013—It appeared that the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT was going to be the race where Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team turned around their season.

Sato had qualified in the top 10 in the No. 14 ABC Supply car for the team’s best starting position since early July. In today’s morning warm-up on the 12-turn, 2.04-mile circuit, he was in the top three until several other teams put on the faster red alternate tires. He slipped to eighth in the final three minutes, but he knew he had a good car for the race.

At the drop of the green, he was cautious, so he was able to capitalize on the traffic jam in Turn 3, and he snuck by on the outside to move from 10th to seventh in one corner! He was challenging for sixth a couple laps later when he reported he’d lost power and began dropping like a stone through the field.

He pitted and the ABC Supply crew popped off the engine cover to check a few things, and the engine technicians huddled around the computers, to try to determine the problem. Unfortunately they figured out it was terminal and that the problem couldn’t be fixed.

"We had a promising warm-up this morning after changing the car overnight – it was very positive and we were really looking forward to the race,” said Sato after climbing from his car. “We made a good start and everything was under control, but only a few laps into the race I had a sudden loss of power and it couldn't be fixed so we had to retire. The ABC boys worked well putting everything together for the race so it's really disappointing to end like this... a big disappointment for everyone."

Disappointing indeed, especially in light of how competitive Sato was at the start of the 75-lap race. Not to mention the 800 guests that sponsor ABC Supply had brought to the track to cheer him on.

Team Director Larry Foyt said, “It looks like something internally in the engine failed. That was a bummer because we were really running great. We had great power all weekend and the car was good in the race. I think we were poised to have a pretty good day but I guess our bad luck continues. I’m excited to get home to race in Houston and get Dad back at the track. Maybe he can bring our good luck back.”

Several multi-car accidents throughout the race—primarily on restarts--shuffled the running order several times with Simon Pagenaud surviving to emerge victorious. He was followed by Josef Newgarden, Sebastian Bourdais (who started 22nd), Justin Wilson and Simona DeSilvestro.

Sato, along with 21 other drivers, will be testing at California Speedway on Sept. 24th, one week before the teams head to Houston to set up for the Grand Prix of Houston doubleheader at Reliant Park on Oct. 5-6.