Race Report: ABC Supply 500

 

LONG POND, Pa. Aug. 23, 2015—Showing patience when needed, Takuma Sato drove a savvy race today to finish sixth in the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway Sunday afternoon in front of 1,300-strong ABC Supply guests.

For a short while, it appeared Sato might have been the one to accept the winner’s trophy from the ABC Supply executives in victory lane as he took the lead for a second time on a restart with seven laps to go in the 200-lap race. However, he couldn’t maintain the advantage and relinquished the lead a lap later.

Sato, who started ninth in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda, quickly dropped to the back in the beginning as the car had too much understeer. The team worked on the car’s handling and as the race progressed, so did Sato. Climbing from a low of 22nd, Sato made his way back into the top-10 by lap 120, and then again by the ¾ mark of the race.

Taking advantage of pitting under caution on lap 164, Sato exercised his philosophy “No attack, no chance.” As cars flew down the front straight five wide abreast, Sato took to the low line and streamed from 12th to fourth in a single corner on lap 166 which would have earned him the “Pass of the Race” award.

"We knew we were strong at Pocono the last two years but today we struggled at the beginning with the grip and balance,” Sato said. “We put a lot of downforce on during the middle of the race because with 20 Indycars in front of you the turbulence was huge. Once I got to the front, I needed to take the downforce off because the cars up front were extremely fast down the straight which we didn't have at the end. On the last restart I overtook Chavez and led for a short time but he overtook me because he had less downforce and I couldn't keep the momentum.  It's a shame because the guys did a super job and put us in position to challenge for the win. We finished sixth, a good result but it feels disappointing because we were right there. Still I appreciate the support from ABC Supply for our team and also sponsoring this race at Pocono.”