Notes & Quotes: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team are in their first season together. Sato is making his fourth appearance in the Long Beach Grand Prix. In the 2012 event, Sato finished 8th after starting 6th.  Following his 14th place finish at Barber Motorsports Park, he is 12th in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings.

Takuma Sato on why the Long Beach Grand Prix is so popular: “I think it's because it’s a gorgeous venue. It has such a great atmosphere with an energetic city and of course it's got the long racing history.”

Sato on key factors for success at Long Beach: “You need pretty much everything basically.  A fast car, of course, but putting more weight on mechanical grip rather than aero, plus a strong fuel consumption, which was key last year, and a fast driver as always, and the right call on strategy.”

Sato on what makes Long Beach’s track distinctive: “It has a roundabout at the middle of the track! Also, the surface is quite slippery with relatively low grip and it has the tightest hairpin in the series.”

Sato on what he looks for during the Track Walk with his engineers: “A good chatting time. Seriously, we look at the bumps, any changes at the corners so that I can explain to the engineers how the car reacts and feels. That way they can imagine the car movement in addition to what they can see from the data -- and that will always help to improve the setups.”

Last year at Long Beach: Sato started sixth and finished eighth, while AJ Foyt Racing’s driver Mike Conway started 7th and finished 22nd due to mechanical problems.

Team members Andrew Copeland and Raul Prados won the Jim Greer Award of Excellence: Copeland won for the Honda Grand Prix of St Petersburg and Prados won it for the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama.   Jim Greer, longtime friend of A.J. Foyt, created an award to recognize outstanding performance at race events among the Foyt team members.  The recipient, determined by team manager Craig Baranouski and crew chief Tom Howatt, receives a monetary bonus and his name (and the race) engraved on a plaque which hangs in the AJ Foyt Racing Showroom.

ABC Supply returns for its ninth year as primary sponsor of A.J. Foyt’s No. 14. The company will host 400 guests this weekend in Long Beach. Since the company began sponsoring AJ Foyt Racing in 2005, they have entertained well over 46,000 people at IZOD IndyCar Series events.

ABC Supply roofing customer Howard Roofing Co Inc., located in  Pomona, Calif., will be featured atop the sidepods of the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda. Owner Ron Malekow and his guests will receive selected merchandise, race tickets, hospitality and garage passes, plus a Meet and Greet with Takuma Sato.

ABC Supply national account Toll Brothers, national builder of luxury homes, will be featured on the engine cover of the No. 14 ABC Supply car this weekend. Guests will receive the VIP treatment this weekend and will meet driver Takuma Sato.

Headquartered in Beloit, Wis., ABC Supply was founded by Ken and Diane Hendricks in 1982. The company has more than 455 branches in 45 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 a six-time winner of the Gallup Great Workplace Award, which recognizes the best-performing workforces in the world,  ABC Supply is one of only a handful of companies in the world to have earned this honor every year since its inception in 2007.  More information is available at www.abcsupply.com.

The Qualifying Show for the Long Beach Grand Prix will be broadcast April 20, Saturday evening at 6 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network. The race will be televised live April 21, Sunday afternoon starting at 4 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.