Race Report: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio August 4, 2013—"Tough weekend, tough race,” said Takuma Sato after climbing out of the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Sunday afternoon.

Qualifying 16th, Sato actually started 15th because another competitor had to change his engine before the race. While Sato had a good start when the green flag dropped, he couldn’t maintain the pace.

When he dropped back to 21st by lap nine, the team decided to pit him early in his fuel stint so the ABC Supply crew could change from the primary black tires (which have a harder compound and less grip) to the softer alternate (red) tires.

Unfortunately, the switch to the softer red tires didn’t produce the increase in grip or speed that was expected and needed to challenge for positions; Sato finished 22nd.

“It was a struggle for speed the whole day,” said Sato. “I appreciated all the hard work the boys did to overcome the issues we had this weekend. We finished the race but we're not satisfied at all.”

Indeed it was the first race that Sato finished since his seventh- place run at the Milwaukee Mile in mid-June. He is still 13th in the Series’ standings.

Charlie Kimball won the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio for his first career IZOD IndyCar Series victory. The race ran caution-free for the second straight year. Finishing second through fifth were: Simon Pagenaud, Dario Franchitti, Will Power and Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Although there is a three week break until the next race, teams will be busy testing.

“We have two tests at Sonoma [Raceway] before the race weekend there to figure out this road course tire. Hopefully we'll find the speed we need in the ABC Supply car," Sato said. The first test will be an engine manufacturer’s test on August 13th. The second test is an IndyCar Open Test on August 21, two days before practice begins for the Go Pro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.