Notes & Quotes: MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway
Takuma Sato: No. 14 ABC Supply Honda
Jack Hawksworth: No. 41 ABC Supply Honda
TAKUMA SATO ON:
• Auto Club Speedway: “Auto Club Speedway is one of the most exciting high speed ovals. It’s a very fast track and there are lots of overtaking opportunities. I always enjoy racing there and I have great support too [from the fans].
• On racing during day vs. night: “Running the race during the heat of the day will be very tough. You lose tons of downforce with the high ambient temperature and you lose significant mechanical grip due to the high track temperature as tires are given a very hard time. So there will not be enough grip and the race will be a tough one to deal with as a driver.”
• Last year’s best start/finish (4th/6th) for you and team at ACS: “We worked one specific setting for a long time and finally it seemed to work better. The track is quite bumpy so you need a very good mechanical grip and try to reduce the downforce. The boys did very fast pit stops last year so that helped for track position too!”
• The aerokit at ACS: “I think we will have a tough race but we learned a lot from both Indy and Texas so it’s expected to be competitive. Especially the tire management (like Texas) will be very important as we will have a day time race and it will be very much grip-limited compared to the previous night races there.”
• His weekend off: “I had a very busy week with appearances and a photo shoot in Japan, but had a good weekend off to spend some time with my family. I am now very refreshed and ready to get back in the car!”
JACK HAWKSWORTH ON:
• Auto Club Speedway: “It's an interesting oval, certainly the bumpiest oval on the calendar, and coupled with the seams and the amount of dust the track holds, it is extremely tricky and not an easy place to get it right! It really demands the drivers and engineers to be on top of the car across the seams. I like the challenge it brings and it's one of the most unique tracks on the calendar.”
• Day vs. Night races: “I have always preferred the oval races at night, I think it brings more of a stadium atmosphere. However racing in the day will bring some new challenges especially from a track temperature point of view. The track could be a little greasier with the sun on it and that could make finding the correct balance in the race just a little harder.”
• What he did for fun last year in Fontana: “I had my first ever In & Out burger! Does that count?”
• What he did on his weekend off: “I spent some time back at home in the U.K, the first time I've been back since Christmas and New Year. I spent most of the weekend just catching up with friends and family! It was a lot of fun and I have to say I now feel refreshed and recharged heading into the final part of the season!”
This season’s performance: Takuma Sato’s best performance to date has come at Detroit with his best start of fourth in Race 1 and his best finish of second in Race 2. It was his first podium finish since his runner-up finish in Brazil in 2103. For Jack Hawksworth this year, his best finish of seventh came in both races in Detroit, while his best start of eighth came in New Orleans. Hawksworth has been plagued by red flags (for others) during his qualifying sessions on road/street courses this year. The MAVTV 500 will be Sato’s 97th IndyCar race and Hawksworth’s 28th race.
Past Performance at Auto Club Speedway: Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team both posted their best start of fourth and best finish of sixth at Auto Club Speedway last year. Jack Hawksworth, starting 17th, had an issue on the warm-up lap and had to pit which contributed to his losing a lap after the first pit stop; he never made up the lap despite having a competitive car; he finished 15th.