Notes & Quotes: Honda Indy Toronto

Takuma Sato: No. 14 ABC Supply Honda
Jack Hawksworth: No. 41 ABC Supply Honda

TAKUMA SATO On:

Toronto circuit: “Toronto is one of the most unique street courses and I enjoy the venue a lot. It has got a great atmosphere as fans are very enthusiastic and there is quite a large Japanese community there too. I also enjoy the great restaurants in downtown. But most importantly, I think we will be competitive so I look forward to it very much.”

Revised pit lane (how will it affect the race): “I haven’t seen it so I don’t know how it may affect the race, but I believe there will be no difference for the race. If anything it should be better for the team for working as there will be easier access from the paddock to pit-lane and possibly more space.”

The trickiest part of the Toronto circuit: “Most of Toronto’s corners are very tricky. There are several concrete patches at almost every corner which means the surface changes a lot during cornering. So the car is never settled because of the different levels of grip plus it is bumpy!”

The key to our success here this year: “Because of these very bumpy and tricky turns, making the car as consistent and stable as possible is a key. We have been generally strong in street courses and we are making good progress on the 2016 package, plus we had a good performance last year, so I think it will be good one for us.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH On:

Toronto: “Toronto is a fantastic place to race. It's extremely technical and there is a great atmosphere. The city embraces the race and the people of Toronto love their motorsport.”

Why it is his favorite circuit: “It's incredibly challenging and has an old school feel too it. The circuit has a wide selection of corners for a street circuit and it requires precision and commitment. It's a track that I always look forward to driving on.”

Revised pit lane (how will it affect the race): “I honestly have no idea. Perhaps it will make it a little more difficult to defend positions into Turn 1 after a pit stop due to the fact that we'll be exiting pit lane from the outside of Turn 1 rather than the inside as in years past. Other than that I imagine it will be pretty similar.”

Importance of the Track Walk: “Street circuits, due to their temporary nature, tend to change a little from year to year. This means the track walk at this kind of track is a little more important as it gives everybody a chance to see what changes have been made to the curbing, surface and temporary barriers.”

His favorite activity in Toronto: “Toronto is a great city and there is plenty to do but we are usually pretty flat out at the track and don't arrive back at the hotel until late. There are a few great Italian places I like to eat at in the evening!”

Past Performance at Toronto: Last year, Takuma Sato started eighth for a career best here and finished 10th. His career best finish is fifth (2014-Race 2). Jack Hawksworth posted his career best start of 14th last year, while his career best finish is sixth (2014 – Race 2). The ABC Supply team’s record shows better finishes than starts: 2009 Ryan Hunter-Reay started 12th, finished seventh; in 2010, Vitor Meira started 26th, finished 11th, in 2011, Meira started 14th and finished fifth and in 2012, Mike Conway started 11th and finished third.

The ABC Supply team will be busy this month and next: Following last weekend’s race in Iowa, the team pepped the cars in Iowa for the Honda Indy Toronto race this weekend. After the Toronto race, the crew will test at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course July 21, return to Houston, then fly back to Mid-Ohio the next week for the Honda Indy 200 July 29-31. After which, they will prep the superspeedway cars for their test at Pocono Raceway on August 4. They will then return to their Indianapolis shop where they will prep the road course cars for a test August 11 at Watkins Glen International (the last time INDYCAR raced at WGI was in 2010). Following that test, the crew returns to Houston where the superspeedway cars will be prepped for the ABC Supply 500 in Mt. Pocono, Pa. Aug. 19-21 and the postponed race at Texas Motor Speedway, which takes place Saturday, Aug. 27.  Following the completion of the Firestone 600 at TMS, the team will do a final prep on the road course cars before heading to Watkins Glen, N.Y. for the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Glen on Labor Day weekend. By the time they return to Texas, they will have logged over 14,500 miles on the road…and over 12,000 Frequent Flier miles. Whew!

ABC Supply Co. enters its 12th season as marketing partner of AJ Foyt Racing: ABC Supply began sponsoring the AJ Foyt Racing team with the 2005 Indianapolis 500, and is the second longest active team sponsor in the Verizon IndyCar Series. With this season, the company ties U.S. Tobacco’s Copenhagen brand in length of sponsorship of Foyt’s team.  ABC Supply has leveraged its involvement by sponsoring races at Milwaukee and now at Pocono with the ABC Supply 500, and by entertaining over 75,000 associates and customers during the past 11 racing seasons.

Race Report: Iowa Corn 300

NEWTON, Iowa July 10, 2016—Progress. The ABC Supply Racing team continues to make progress at the tracks where they have struggled in years past such as Iowa Speedway this weekend.

Takuma Sato registered his best finish at the 0.894-mile oval today with his 11th place showing after starting 13th. Teammate Jack Hawksworth, who started 14th and ran as high as eighth, would certainly have posted his first top-10 finish here if he’d had just a wee bit of luck with the timing of the cautions. Instead his final result shows 15th despite running competitively throughout the Iowa Corn 300.

At the start, Hawksworth surged ahead only to have “a big moment” in Turns 3 and 4 and he dropped back to 17th as he gathered it up at the end of lap one.  “In the beginning I was very aggressive and tried to go around on the outside which would’ve made a great start but I got very loose in Turn 4 and nearly crashed, so I lost a few positions,” Hawksworth said. Finding his rhythm, he began picking off cars and by lap 30, he was up to 13th with his teammate ahead in 12th. When Sato had a big moment in Turn 4 just four laps later, he lost three positions and a lot of real estate as he gathered it up.

Hawksworth continued to push and had climbed to eighth, due somewhat to the pit stop cycle but as the cycle concluded, he was 12th and Sato was 15th. In the second stint the No. 41 car wasn’t quite as strong, and Hawksworth slipped back to 15th.

The caution came out on lap 109 when Ryan Hunter-Reay saw his race go up in smoke literally. A good strategy call by Team Director and race strategist George Klotz, saw Hawksworth pick up two spots during the stop under caution, while Sato’s team waited an extra lap and lost two spots despite a 6.4 second stop. Hawksworth ran 13th but then reported his right rear was going away so the team told him to pit at the beginning of the next cycle. He was coming into the pits when the yellow came out on lap 179 for Juan Pablo Montoya’s blown engine, and Hawk’s crew told him to stay out. He darted back onto the track but lost four spots as he tried to get back up to speed. However, that choice was better than the alternative.

On the restart, Sato was now 16th and Hawksworth 17th and they ran there until the next round of pit stops began. Hawksworth pitted earlier than Sato and it cost him (as well as a few others) because when the yellow came out three laps later on lap 246, he lost a lap due to pitting under green.

Hawksworth’s misfortune benefitted Sato who climbed to 13th as he leapt ahead of the cars that pitted under green. Pitting under yellow, Sato picked up another two spots, due to the quick pit work by the 14 team.

Qualifying Report: Iowa Corn 300

NEWTON, Iowa July 9, 2016 For the second time this season, Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth will start side-by-side in their ABC Supply Hondas. Under sunny skies, Sato qualified 13th in the No. 14 and Hawksworth 14th in the No. 41; the pair will start in row seven for the Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway. In the season opener at St. Petersburg, they started in the fifth row.

Both drivers tested at the 0.894-mile banked oval last month which helped when the drivers were not satisfied with their cars in the morning practice today. They were able to make some adjustments for the hotter track conditions and picked up speed in qualifying. Sato posted a two-lap average speed of 181.949mph while Hawksworth was just a tick slower, averaging 181.700mph for the two laps.

Iowa qualifying is always exciting especially the bumps in Turn 3, said Sato. We didnt have a good practice session today but the testing we had last week helped us to understand where the car needs to be for qualifying. At the time when I had attacked we were fifth outit felt pretty good. I was happy with the balance and the speed and it all looked pretty strong at the time. In the end, the field is pretty tight and Im not super happy with our position but we have a better car in race trim so well see in the final warmup.

Hawksworth said, Interesting qualifying. I thought we were ok this afternoon compared to this morning when we were a bit weak in qualifying trim. They changed some bits and pieces and it was where we were at the test in terms of feeling which I liked. We had too much understeer in the car and too much scrub in our run, which probably hurt us a little bit but the good thing is we got the feeling back with the rear which I had at the test. Hopefully we can put that into the race car and do some more work tonight.

Simon Pagenaud won the Verizon P1 Award with an average speed of 185.855mph. It was the 500th pole for Team Penske (which includes his NASCAR and sports car teams as well). Starting second through fifth are Josef Newgarden, Helio Castroneves, Max Chilton and Charlie Kimball.

The race will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network Sunday afternoon starting at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Notes & Quotes: Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway

Takuma Sato: No. 14 ABC Supply Honda
Jack Hawksworth: No. 41 ABC Supply Honda

Takuma Sato On:

Iowa Speedway: Iowa is a great track. It is one of the most exciting short ovals and we have such close battles in very tight competition. Its physical--we pull over 5Gs--so you can see the cornering speeds are quite impressive. I think Iowa always produces great entertainment because it is a very competitive race. I enjoy driving this challenging track and love the venue. We had a successful test day there on the 29th. We covered many experimental test items although we had to stop for a while due to rain. We still have a lot to learn and prepare before the race, but we will analyze our results from the test and should come back faster on race weekend.

New aero package at Iowa Speedway: I believe the 2016 aero package does not necessarily affect the setups at Iowa that much but having said that, we needed to improve our baseline setup. We had a great opportunity to try different types of setups at the test last week which was very productive. We now have a much better understanding of our 2016 package and Im confident that we did improve a lot.

What makes Iowa so difficult: Immediately I enjoyed racing this unique short oval in my first year in IndyCar and I had a strong run that time [qualified seventh] and an even stronger run in my second year [won the pole in 2011]. Iowa is always tricky; its 18 seconds a lap and you spend most of the time cornering. In other words, it has such a short straightaway that physically youre in the action all the time, and that naturally expands the chance of something happening. Maybe thats why this track is tough to get it rightbut I still love it even though my record here is a mixture with not great finishes but I always enjoy racing in this crazy tight battle.

Racing at Iowa Speedway in the daytime: I had experienced a couple of daytime races in Iowa which I quite liked as it gave us more of a challenge but the late afternoon start to an evening finish is the first time for me. We will need to see how much the temperature changes from start to finish but its going to be a more consistent condition than one that starts in the evening and gets dark. If the evening finish will give us more pleasant and comfortable temperatures, then I think it will be good!

Jack Hawksworth On:

Iowa Speedway: Iowa is the shortest track on the calendar but also extremely quick. It makes for some of the best racing and mentally one of the most draining races on the calendar for the drivers.

Racing at Iowa Speedway in the daytime: Conditions will be hotter which in theory will make it a little slippery out there. Other than that it should be the same kind of race as we saw last year.

New aero package at Iowa: This year the aero kit is different but we were able to narrow in on some of the differences between the 15 package and the 16 package at the test this past week.

Iowa Speedway test session: The test was very interesting, especially in the afternoon where we were able to do a lot of running and test a lot of items. I had a good feeling with the car, especially over the longer runs and in traffic. This bodes well for the race.

Last years Iowa race: Last year we spent most of the race in and around the mid pack, we had an issue with the pass around on our first stop which put us a lap down, but after that, we were able to fight back and work our way through the field to 13th. I think we'll have a stronger car in the race this year from what we saw and learned at the test.

Past Performance at Iowa Speedway: In six races at Iowa Speedway, Satos best start was from the pole in 2011 with KV Racing and his best finish was 12th in 2012 with Rahal Letterman Lanigan. In two starts, Hawksworths best start is 20th (2014) and best finish is 13th. In nine appearances, the Foyt teams best start (7th) came in 2013 with Sato but a problem with the engine forced them out after 162 laps. The teams best finish (5th) came with Darren Manning in 2007.

ABC Supply Co. is in its 12th season as marketing partner of AJ Foyt Racing: ABC Supply began sponsoring the AJ Foyt Racing team with the 2005 Indianapolis 500, and is the second longest active team sponsor in the Verizon IndyCar Series. With this season, the company ties U.S. Tobaccos Copenhagen brand in length of sponsorship of Foyts team. ABC Supply has leveraged its involvement by sponsoring races at Milwaukee (in the past) and now at Pocono Raceway with the ABC Supply 500, and by entertaining over 75,000 associates and customers during the past 11 racing seasons. Over 300 guests will be entertained this weekend.