Carb Day Report

INDIANAPOLIS May 27, 2016-Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is when the 33-car starting field has the chance to sort out their cars in race trim. With temperatures closer to what they will be on race day it was a good opportunity for teams to check the cars’ balance and how they perform in traffic during the one hour session.

Alex Tagliani was the happiest in the AJ Foyt Racing stable as it appeared he could put his No. 35 Alfe Heat Treating Honda anywhere he wanted on the track. Tagliani, who had a tough qualifying session, will start 33rd in the 500 but he is confident after today’s session.

“I’m super happy and super thankful for all of the guys, and their hard work,” said the ebullient Frenc-Canadian driver, who was 19th quick with a top speed of 223.133mph. “They kept pounding at it and we had a mission. We wanted to be in the Top 10, we felt we had a car to be there. No one threw in the towel and they built a really good, solid car for the race. The timing is perfect. Everybody is pumped; everybody saw how competitive we were. We were aggressive out there [in final practice], so it’s going to be good to sleep, but at the same time I’m really excited for the race. The car was solid, predictable, and on the safe side. For the way we ran, it’s really positive.”

Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth? Not so much. However both drivers liked their cars last Monday and will be looking at the differences to find the sweet spots that were missing in today’s practice.

“The conditions were a bit different, the wind direction was different and it was a warmer temperature which is good because we expect to have a warmer race on Sunday,” Sato said after turning a fast lap of 223.433mph. “We need to work on the car a little bit—it washes out and was a bit unstable in traffic – I’m a little nervous about that. We need to understand where that came from but I’m confident we can go back to where we were. I think that’s the way to go. We got some good data to confirm a few things but still we need to check with the other two cars.”

Hawksworth too was more comfortable in his No. 41 ABC Supply Honda on Monday but believes the team will be able to find the combination for race day. He was 24th quick with a speed of 222.444mph.

“It was an interesting session,” said the 25-year-old Brit who will starts 31st Sunday. “The car was not as strong as it was on Monday. I was very happy with it on Monday in terms of balance. I think we need to take a step back to look at why it changed and go back to that happy place. I wasn’t able to follow closely to cars as I was able to on Monday. We’ll need to go back and look at that and go onto Sunday.”

Tony Kanaan set the pace with a lap of 226.280 mph. Carlos Munoz (224.77), Scott Dixon (224.60), Will Power (224.38) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (224.32) rounded out the top five.

The next time the cars will fire up will be the start of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. The race will be broadcast live on ABC-TV with the hour-long pre-race show starting at 11 a.m.

 

Track Report: May 23

INDIANAPOLIS May 23, 2016 --The last practice prior to Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway proved eventful yet productive at times for the 14, 35, and 41 teams of A.J. Foyt Racing.

After a satisfactory qualification day for the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda, Takuma Sato reported he was able to test out his car in traffic for the first time today, and feels confident looking ahead to this weekend’s race. He logged 85 laps and posted a speed of 224.6mph which was 16th fastest.

“I think it was a productive day,” said Sato. “I was able to learn about the car in traffic finally for the first time because we never had the opportunity to run in traffic on practice days because we had so much going on. We tried a few test items, some worked pretty good, some didn’t so I think we found a good baseline for the race. We’ll go through the data over the next couple days because we still need to try a few things on Carb Day, but I think we are in a good position now.”

The No. 35 Alfe Heat Treating crew worked extremely hard to ready Alex Tagliani’s backup car for Sunday’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 after yesterday’s qualification accident, and was able to get the car back on track prior to the end of today’s practice. With Friday’s Carb Day, Tagliani hopes to really test the car and make necessary adjustments in preparation for this weekend’s race.

“We made a few runs today, with big thanks to the crew for working hard to put the car back on track,” Tagliani said. “I’m sure it was a lot of work for them. I guess our Carb Day will become very important to us, and hopefully we have a good race.”

Unfortunately for Jack Hawksworth, driver of the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda, his woes for this year’s race continued during practice, losing the engine to failure late in today’s session. He logged 39 laps and posted a top speed of 223.1mph.

“We’ve had our fair share of setbacks these past two weeks,” said Hawksworth. “This is the cherry on top of the cake. We’ll obviously have to change the engine. I was pretty happy with the car today. Now we need to get miles on the new engine on Carb Day. That’s important to break it in before Sunday. Then we reset and go to the Indy 500.”

The cars of A.J. Foyt Racing return to the Brickyard Friday, May 27 for Carb Day, with final IndyCar practice from 11:00am to 12:00pm ET. Additionally, the teams will participate in the Tag Heuer Pit Stop Competition beginning at 1:30pm ET. Action from the track can be seen on NBCSN from 11:00am to 3:30pm ET.

Qualifying Report – Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS May 22, 2016—In the final qualifying round for the Indianapolis 500, the AJ Foyt Racing team experienced the highs and lows of Indy.

Takuma Sato put it on “the front row” of the 24 qualifiers outside of the Fast Nine to start 12th on the outside of row four in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda. He posted a four-lap average speed of 228.029mph under tricky weather conditions which caught out his teammate Alex Tagliani.

“The 14 ABC Supply crew did a fantastic job after having had difficult days this week, and difficult qualifying runs for the sister cars,” said an exuberant Sato. “We were all nervous about it especially with the gusty winds. We performed very similar to what we had this morning in practice which was fantastic so the engineers and crew did a perfect job and gave me a fast car, a very fast car, so I was very happy.”

Sato remarked to his crew that it was the best car he had in qualifying here at the Speedway, and it was certainly his best qualifying performance at the Brickyard since he joined the Foyt team in 2013.

Tagliani was the first driver in the Foyt stable to make a qualifying run in the No. 35 Alfe Heat Treating Honda. Warm and windy conditions made for a challenging session for all of the drivers. Tagliani lost control going through Turn 4 coming for the green to start his first qualifying lap. The car did a quarter spin missing the outside wall but then it shot across the track and hit the attenuator structure at Pit In which sheared off the nose of the car. The car twirled like a top down the main straightaway before coming to rest against the pit wall. Tagliani emerged from the car uninjured.

“It’s probably the worst situation to be in because I really don’t like to see the guys work,” said “Tag” afterwards. “It’s such a long two weeks of work without any troubles so one problem takes a lot of energy to bring you back. The team thinks we’re going to have a stellar car, and we’ll surprise people. The race is what counts, we just have to forget about it [the accident]. Looking at the data and the video, I think we were on the edge and obviously the wind caught us off guard really late in the corner. That was lucky because the damage could have been a lot worse. Nevertheless, completing those four laps, I think we would have had two cars up there. We were going for it.”

The team is pulling out a backup car and is working to have it ready for a shakedown run in tomorrow afternoon’s practice. He will start in the final spot of the 33-car field.

Jack Hawksworth, who was the next driver to make a qualifying run after Tagliani, was not comfortable in his car in either the practice session or the qualifying session.

“The conditions were hotter than expected so the tires fell off,” said Hawksworth, who will start 31st in his No. 41 ABC Supply Honda. Hawksworth posted a four lap average speed of 224.596mph. “Like yesterday, we had consistent 225 mph speeds, but the rear tires fell off. I kept getting more loose throughout the run. The speed is still not there. We’re still struggling for outright speed. The tire degradation was the biggest problem and what made the cookie crumble."

As thrilled as he was for Sato, Team President Larry Foyt noted, “We had a tough day right out of the box with Tagliani having an accident, we’re just glad he’s okay. Jack wasn’t real happy with his run but it was really tough conditions. It was great to have those guys go out early and help us make some changes to the 14 car. Takuma did a super job, in fact the whole crew did to have a great run, and it’s a great place to start.  We can definitely win the race from there [12th].

“It did hurt the tub so we’ll go to a backup car for Tag,” Foyt added. “It’s a lot of work for the guys but the plan is to be out for race practice tomorrow to get a good shakedown run in.”

James Hinchcliffe won the Verizon P1 pole in the No. 5 Arrow Honda fielded by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. It was his first career pole in the Verizon IndyCar Series and comes with a hefty check of $100,000. Hinchcliffe’s 230.760mph four lap average came at the track where he nearly lost his life a year ago after a crash in practice. The emotions ran high not only for “Hinch” and his team but for everyone in the paddock who knows the personable driver.

Josef Newgarden and 2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay join Hinchcliffe on the front row starting in second and third places respectively.

The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast live on ABC-TV this Sunday starting at 11 a.m. ET with the pre-race show followed by the race telecast.

 

Day 1 Qualifying Report - Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS May 21, 2016—The first day of qualifying for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 normally would set the field of 33 cars but with just 33 entries in this year’s race, the focus shifted to determining who would be in in the Fast Nine shootout tomorrow afternoon.

Although the AJ Foyt Racing team will not be among the contenders for the Fast Nine session based on today’s results,  the team will use tomorrow’s 30-minute  practice sessions to determine if the setup on Takuma Sato’s No. 14 ABC Supply Honda will suit both Jack Hawksworth and Alex Tagliani.

In today’s provisional qualifying session, Sato ran a four-lap average speed of 228.096mph which put him 16th on the provisional grid of 33.

“I’m so pleased to be back here and have an opportunity to be in the 100th Running,” said Sato after his run. “Having said that, as my teammate Alex [Tagliani] probably explained to you, we’ve been struggling. To be honest, we had back and forth and difficult days, particularly this morning as we weren’t even able to run properly. There was a bit of discussion as to what we were going to do [in qualifying]. Obviously the weather change is really challenging for everyone but for us in particular, we found it really difficult. I was just so happy we put everything together for my qualifying laps. It wasn’t necessarily the happiest [run] but we put together a decent speed under the circumstance. Hopefully if there is an opportunity, we can go back out again in the afternoon.”

Sato did not get back out to make another run but the team will have a chance to practice before tomorrow’s final qualifying session.

Jack Hawksworth and Alex Tagliani struggled during their qualifying runs as they were not happy with their cars.

“The car wasn’t very fast,” said Hawksworth, who posted a four-lap average of 225.388mph in the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda which was the 28th quickest. “The car can definitely get faster. I think the 14 car had the right idea on set up. I think we could put what they had on theirs onto mine and see where it gets us. We’ve been on the back foot so far this week. We’ve struggled a little bit the past few days, but it seems Takuma found something, so we’ll sit down with him and figure out what he’s doing.”

Tagliani also had trouble during his run in which he posted a four-lap average speed of 224.507mph. The team made changes to his car with the thought that they would be able to get another run in.

“It’s disappointing to be where we are,” said Tagliani. “We’re going to try something now before the end of the day to give us a direction and hopefully tomorrow we’ll be able to salvage a better performance.”

Although Tagliani never did get back on track in the final and frenetic hour of qualifying, he will be able to evaluate the changes in tomorrow’s 30-minute practice session which precedes final qualifying. The practice sessions will be divided into three groups beginning with cars in positions 22-33, then 10-21 and finally the Fast Nine.

Qualifications begin at 2:45 in reverse order of where they qualified, so the 33rd car will go out first. Drivers in Group 1 (positions 10-33) will make one attempt, and the best they can shoot for is 10th.

Drivers in the Fast Nine are: James Hinchcliffe, who posted the fastest four-lap average speed today of 230.946mph. Second through ninth were: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Townsend Bell, Josef Newgarden, Mikhail Aleshin, Carlos Munoz, and Simon Pagenaud. The Fast Nine will each get one qualifying attempt in their run for the Verizon Pole Award from 5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

ESPN 3 will broadcast the first part of qualifying from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. Then ABC-TV will air the final two hours starting at 4 p.m.