Notes & Quotes: Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway
Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team are in their second season together. Sato is making his fifth appearance (and sixth start) at Texas Motor Speedway. Following his two 18th place finishes in the doubleheader at Detroit’s Belle Isle, he is 16th in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings.
Takuma Sato On:
• Texas Motor Speedway: “Texas Motor Speedway is one of the iconic, very high banking, super-fast ovals. It used to be well known for its pack racing with cars two and three wide all the time but the recent reduction of downforce means it isn’t like that anymore. Still we can go two wide or occasionally three wide but it is very grip limited, so the pack tends to split up and the race becomes single file. So the key to running well there is a little similar to Indy in that you have to make the car friendlier in traffic and minimize the degradation of tires. Also there is a big bump and sudden camber change of the banking at the exit of Turn 2 which is very tricky so it’s vital to maximize the mechanical grip rather than allow the aero package to determine the setup.”
• Feeling more pressure at the Boss’s Home Track: “Not necessarily. We always want to succeed and that doesn’t change anywhere we go. But it’s nice to have a good race in front of the team’s and boss’s home state where you have more fans.”
• What he likes about Texas Motor Speedway: “I love the sensation of going on the high banking at a very fast speed and racing through the corner two wide!”
• What he learned at Indy to use at TMS: “We learned a lot from Indy. The track characteristics are different between IMS and Texas but there are some things in common too. We gained more experience and knowledge to understand what works better with the DW12 on high speed ovals so hopefully we can find a good speed this weekend.”
• Dealing with the highs (winning a pole) and lows (being knocked out of contention twice) in Detroit: “Sunday’s Detroit race was obviously a very disappointing moment for us after a great start. Yes it’s difficult to accept but it is what it is and it happened. It’s racing, so we move on.”
• Having two races in Texas the same month: “It’s great news for us because we have strong supporters in Texas. It makes it easier for our team’s families to attend the race event and enjoy it. We will be busier, but it’s a good thing.”
• Sato Helmet Auction Update: The autographed helmet that Sato wore in the Indy 500 is currently up for bid. The latest bid (as of June 3) is $15,600. Interested bidders can check it out at: http://www.501auctions.com/takumasato Proceeds will benefit With You Japan, the charity Sato founded to aid the victims of the 2011 tsunami. The auction closes Monday, June 9 at 10:59:59 a.m. ET.