Pocono INDYCAR 500 (2014)

Race Report: Pocono INDYCAR 500

LONG POND, Pa. July 6, 2014—A promising start to the Pocono INDYCAR 500 for Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team ended in disappointment today when electrical woes short-circuited hopes for a strong finish.

Sato started fourth in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda and after dropping back to 10th in the opening laps, he had started to move back to the front. Unfortunately, he lost power on lap 25 and coasted in for an early pit stop. After a cursory check of possible causes, the car was brought back to the garage where ABC crew members and Honda engineers closely examined the car.  A wiring loom failure turned out to be the culprit; however, the team is investigating as to why it failed.

“It’s a disappointing finish,” Sato said. “We had the speed but we had a failure in the very early stages of the race. We couldn’t figure it out [in time to rejoin the race without losing many laps] so that’s why we didn’t go back out. It was a perfect day for racing with lots of sunshine and cooler conditions. Everything looked good and the car was working well. In traffic, I was struggling a little, perhaps lacking some downforce because I was sliding a bit. Once I had clear air I could maintain my speed which was as fast as the leader. It was a long race so we went conservative but we were looking good.”

Qualifying Report: Pocono INDYCAR 500

LONG POND, PA. July 5, 2014—Takuma Sato held the pole ever so briefly for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 at Pocono International Raceway today but will start fourth in A.J. Foyt’s No. 14 ABC Supply Honda.

Sato’s speed of 222.798mph set a new track record which was eclipsed by Will Power’s run of 223.725mph. However Power will start second alongside teammate Juan Pablo Montoya who posted a 223.871mph as the final qualifier of the 22-car field.

Sato, who won two poles this season, was disappointed but was happy to have a strong car for the race. Interestingly, the last time he started fourth in a race was the Long Beach Grand Prix last year which he won. That number four slot proved lucky for his team owner Foyt who won his final two Indy 500s starting fourth.

“A very good day for us,” Sato said after his qualifying run. “We were strong here last year so we knew we had a good package. The ABC car worked very well straight into practice and we were in the ballpark. We worked on all the small details. It would have been nice to get the pole but I can’t be too greedy. We had a good solid run and I really enjoyed it. It is so challenging here because turn 1 and turn 3 are completely different, you have to move the tools every single lap. The car worked really well so good job by all the boys and Don our engineer did a great job. Hopefully we continue the speed and strength tomorrow.”

The three abreast start will feature pole sitter Montoya, who won his first Verizon P1 Award of the season, Power and Carlos Munoz on the front row with Sato starting inside of Marco Andretti and his teammate James Hinchcliffe on row two.

The Pocono INDYCAR 500 fueled by Sunoco will be broadcast live by NBC Sports Network starting at 12 noon ET.

NOTES & QUOTES: Pocono INDYCAR 500 at Pocono Raceway

Takuma Sato On:

o Pocono Raceway: “I like Pocono a lot. It's set up in the forest and mountains and it’s so refreshing. The track is definitely unique as it's known as The Tricky Triangle. I like the feeling of the great banking into Turn 1 , quick kink at T2 and the sensation of going through the very long and super-fast but flat banking of T3. It’s definitely one of most challenging ovals but it almost feels like a road course. The fans are enthusiastic there as the track has a great history so I am really looking forward to coming back to Pocono.”

o The key setup for the race: “You have to focus on both Turn 1 and 3 together. They are so different and the car balance is change a lot between these two corners. You need to have a really stable car to go through Turn 3 and follow the car ahead of you closely enough to be able to overtake it in Turn 1. So Turn 1 is very much understeering corner and all most require the opposite from what you have in Turn 3. But if you’re not quick enough in Turn 1, then you can’t use Turns 2 and 3 to catch up to them.  If you had to weigh which corner is most important I would say Turn 3. It is the one you need to focus on most to get you off down the long straight, but it is always a balance.”

o Having A.J. Foyt in your pit box this year: “It’s absolutely great. He has such a strong history around this track and I’m sure the track and fans are waiting for him too!”

o Three Abreast Start at Pocono: “Since it has a wide straight, I don’t have any problem. Turn 1 after the start is quite tricky but it’s great fun as well. Having three abreast starts at all 500 miles race makes them very special I think.”

A.J. Foyt returns to Pocono Raceway for the first time since the July 2000 NASCAR stock car race -- as team owner. As a driver, Foyt competed at Pocono 17 times in the 19 years that the track hosted the Indy cars (1971 – 1989). His team fielded a car for Sammy Sessions in 1972 when A.J. was injured from an accident in DuQuoin. In 1983, the only track his Indy car team competed at was Indianapolis (his father died that May). At Pocono, he had eight top-10 finishes including four victories (‘73, ‘75, ‘79, ‘81). The 1981 victory was Foyt’s last as a driver in Indy cars. He started in the top-10 ten times with five front row starts earning two poles (‘77, ‘79). His last IndyCar appearance at the track came in the 1989 Pocono 500: he qualified 12th but dropped out after 85 laps. He also competed in two USAC stock car 500 mile races, starting and finishing second in 1971, and winning the pole and finishing seventh in 1973.

A.J. Foyt On:

o Pocono Raceway: “I have a lot of good memories of Pocono when I was driving and racing myself. I’m looking forward to coming back. One thing I always liked about Pocono, there were no two turns the same, every turn was different. It was a driver’s racetrack and you had to get your car to handle. Of course the cars you have today, they do handle a lot better than the old cars and it’s easier to get them handling. It’s a different type of racing now than it was in my time.”

o Friendship with Mattiolis: “My mother and daddy idolized the Mattiolis [Doc and his wife Dr. Rose] and I have too. They were always good to me. I know Mother and Daddy used to go there when I raced just to see the Mattiolis and they were great friends. It’s a shame that they’re all gone except for Dr. Rose—I’m looking forward to seeing her again.”

o The next generation: “It’s good to see the kids and grandkids involved in the racing, the same way I’ve got Larry [Foyt] running our race team today. It’s great to see that they want to follow in their parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps. I think Doc, and the same with my Daddy, if they saw the money the kids have spent on the race track, they’d probably want to have the kids committed. I know my daddy would want me committed for the money we’ve spent racing. I don’t think Doc or my father would approve of all of the spending but it is a beautiful place. I guess deep down they’d be proud though.”