Notes & Quotes: Honda Indy Toronto 2 in T.O.

Takuma Sato On:

o Toronto Circuit: “The track is very tricky. It is quite bumpy and has very low grip especially since there are several different surfaces all in one corner. So initially the car arrives on the slippery part, loses front grip which causes the understeer then both front and rear slide on the slippery patch, then the front is on asphalt so suddenly the grip is back but the rear is still slippery resulting in oversteer. The car balance will be all over the place. The key is to aim for the highest mechanical grip as well as maximize the drivability of the car.”

o What you love about Toronto: “The city is great, it has lots of energy with great restaurants, shopping and fashions. I really like the atmosphere of Toronto, it is a beautiful city. The fans that come to the track are very enthusiastic too so we have a great support.  Also there is fairly large Japanese community so it’s nice to have a good cheering from them too.”

o Turning luck around in Toronto: “Absolutely we need to do it. I really appreciate all the support from the team too. The boys are working so hard and they keep very positive every race weekend. They definitely deserve much better results. Although the Toronto race is historically not a very lucky place for me, I have a good feeling this year. We should be good shape in Toronto and hopefully we will have a trouble-free weekend as it is a very busy double header. We just need to make sure there is no more bad luck.”

o Being superstitious (or not): “Usually I’m not superstitious. The only thing I do is get in and out from the left side of the car. But since we have had so many unfortunate situations this year, I guess we have to do something in order to get rid of some of the bad luck.”

Japanese superstitions: Takuma Sato is familiar with the following popular superstitions in his home country of Japan (although he doesn’t necessarily believe in them):

 

  • The number four: The number four is considered inauspicious because it is pronounced the same as the word for death (shi). Therefore, one should not make presents that consist of four pieces, etc. In some hotels and hospitals the room number four is skipped.
  • The number nine: The number nine is considered unlucky since it is sometimes pronounced the same as the word for suffering (ku).
  • Sleeping towards the North: Do not sleep with head pointing North because that is the way deceased bodies are laid to rest at a funeral.
  • Lie down after eating: If you lie down immediately after eating, you will become a cow.
  • Whistle in the night: If you whistle in the night, a snake will come to you.
  • Spiders: When you see a spider in the morning, it will bring good luck. On the other hand, it is bad luck to see a spider at night.
  • Wish upon a shooting star: If you wish on a shooting star three times, your wish will come true.

 

For Toronto, we think Takuma (who hasn’t finished better than 18th since the Indy 500) should qualify anywhere but 4th or 9th, sleep with his head pointed South, walk after eating, don’t whistle at all, keep the lights off in his hotel room, and finally, look for shooting stars and start wishing. Of course, he won’t wear green or eat peanuts at the track, and will be sure to avoid the number 13 (drivers included).

American superstitions: The ABC Supply crew may be seen practicing some of the following to encourage good luck in Toronto:

 

  • Knock on wood
  • Snap their fingers
  • Attach a horseshoe over a door
  • Throw coins into a fountain
  • Carry a rabbit's foot or a penny in their pocket
  • Watch for shooting stars until they see one

 

They will avoid doing the following as it could bring on bad luck:

 

  • Spill sugar
  • Cross paths with a black cat
  • Walk under a ladder
  • Drop a card (of any sort) on the floor
  • Let soap slip out of hand to the floor
  • Take the last piece of bread on a plate

 

Past performance at Toronto: Last year Sato started 11th in Race 1 but a broken exhaust header which damaged the gearbox led to an early exit; he placed 24th. In Race 2, Sato was running 9th when the race was restarted with two laps to go. Unfortunately, Ryan Hunter-Reay tangled with Will Power leaving Sato nowhere to go; he placed 20th. Sato’s best start and finish came in 2012 when he started and finished 9th. The ABC Supply team’s record shows better finishes than starts: 2009 Ryan Hunter-Reay started 12th, finished 7th; in 2010, Vitor Meira started 26th, finished 11th, in 2011, Meira started 14th and finished 5th and in 2012, Mike Conway started 11th and finished 3rd.

Crew Chief Tom Howatt, born in Margate, England, moved to the Toronto area when he was seven. He grew up in Mississauga, 14 miles northwest of the city.  Howatt began his racing career by working on sports cars.  In 1985, he started working on Indy cars for the Canadian Tire team with driver Jacques Villeneuve, younger brother of Formula 1 driver Gilles and uncle to the 1995 Indy 500 winner.  Howatt counts one of his fondest memories as winning with Villeneuve at Road America (Elkhart Lake, WI) in 1985. In his 30+ year career, he has worked with Pat Patrick, Granatelli, Truesports, Panther Racing and Rocketsports.  Howatt has been working with Foyt’s team since 2008.

Headquartered in Beloit, Wis., ABC Supply was founded by Ken and Diane Hendricks in 1982. The company has more than 460 branches in 47 states and is dedicated exclusively to serving professional contractors.  ABC Supply has distinguished itself by following a simple guiding principle – take care of contractors better than any other distributor.  It remains an “employee-first” company that treats its associates with respect and gives them the tools they need to succeed.  As an eight-time winner of the Gallup Great Workplace Award, which recognizes the best-performing workforces in the world, ABC Supply is one of only three companies in the world to have earned this honor every year since its inception in 2007.  More information is available at www.abcsupply.com.

Race 1 and Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto will be televised live Saturday and Sunday respectively, starting at 3:00 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.