Milwakee Indy Fest (2013)

Race Report: Milwaukee IndyFest

MILWAUKEE June 15, 2013—Oh what could have been!

Piloting the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda, Takuma Sato was the class of the field for most of the Milwaukee IndyFest but an untimely yellow flag cost him a chance at victory at The Milwaukee Mile Saturday afternoon.

Sato started 15th and dropped back at the start letting the engineers know that the car was loose or suffering from oversteer. When the yellow came out on lap 21 for Simona DeSilvestro’s contact with the Turn 4 wall, Sato pitted on lap 23 to make a wing adjustment and take on fresh tires. The adjustment worked because he began slicing through the IZOD IndyCar field, and by lap 69, he had taken the lead for the first time.

Sato drove away from the field and even after pitting on lap 91, he was in command again by lap 100 of the 250-lap race. He pulled away from all challengers and wasted no time regaining the lead after another stop on lap 157. He was dominating the competition running high or low, whatever he needed to do to get around traffic. The car appeared to be hooked up on rails.

Qualifying Report: Milwaukee Indyfest

MILWAUKEE June 14, 2013--Takuma Sato will start 15th in the ABC Supply Honda/Dallara in tomorrow’s Milwaukee IndyFest at the Milwaukee Mile.

This is the best starting position for the No. 14 car since Darren Manning qualified 15th in 2007—but back then there were only 18 cars competing instead of the 24 that will be racing tomorrow. Sato posted a two-lap combined speed average of 168.0mph.

“Milwaukee is always an exciting track, you really drive hard from wall to wall and are absolutely on the limit and that’s what happened in qualifying today,” said Sato. “We had a reasonably good car in practice and made good progress and was able to clock my personal fastest lap in qualifying in lap one but unfortunately I had a little push on the last corner, got up in the grey and I had to lift off the throttle to save it which cost us a little bit. So where we are is a little bit disappointing but I think we have a good car in traffic. Let’s hope we have a strong race tomorrow.”

A.J. Foyt, who is not here this weekend due to problems with his leg (which he is getting checked out on Monday), watched the qualifying show from his home in Houston. He was impressed with ‘the save’ by Sato on his second lap, saying, “He did a good job to keep it off the wall, a real good job!”

Marco Andretti won the Verizon P-1 Pole Award with a speed average of 170.5mph in his Chevrolet-powered car. Rounding out the top five were James Hinchcliffe, Will Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay and E.J. Viso, all powered by Chevrolets.

The Milwaukee IndyFest will be televised live tomorrow starting at 4p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Channel.

NOTES & QUOTES: Milwaukee IndyFest at The Milwaukee Mile

Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team are in their first season together. Sato is making his third start at The Milwaukee Mile. Following his 11th place finish (after starting 21st) at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend, he is fifth in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings.

Takuma Sato On:

The Milwaukee Mile: “I like it because it’s a very unique and challenging, flat one-mile oval. Physically it’s not the fastest track, but you feel so much speed because it’s flat and you have to really drive it. Plus the wall’s coming sooo quickly that you feel the speed, and it's a very busy track.”

Passing at The Mile: “It’s difficult because you don’t have the support from the banking but you can pass. The way you do is a bit like what you do at the road courses and you use the brake as well so it’s a tough track. The best place to pass depends on the wind direction and the car balance but usually either Turn 1 or Turn 3.

The key setup for the race and qualifying: “Like any other oval, you need a lot of stability for the race because you need to run in traffic, but in qualifying, you go with very neutral balance for minimal scrubbing. It's quite thrilling as we need to get the right balance just to be able to go flat in qualifying.”

Whether The Mile requires patience or aggression: “Both really, it requires much patience because a little thing will bite you on ovals, but you need to attack to gain positions.”

Finding the performance the team had before Indy: “Everything is related. We have gained good experience so far to understand the car more and more, so I am looking forward to doing our usual business and try to drive the car fast!”

His favorite place to eat in Milwaukee: “There are many great restaurants around there and any bar should be good as it is beer country right?”

Sato - a rookie again! Sato will be a rookie celebrity bartender this Wednesday evening at the Miller Time Pub in downtown Milwaukee from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Competing for tips against an attending media member (or race fan), Sato along with fellow drivers James Hinchcliffe and Indy 500 pole winner Ed Carpenter, will be serving beer and cocktails to guests. The tips will benefit The Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Racing for Kids.