By A.J. Foyt
Luck is hard to define but you know when it goes your way. I like this definition best: Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. We had a little bit of luck in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid Ohio this past weekend mainly because we were prepared for it.
We came to Mid Ohio Sports Car Course confident that our ABC Supply Indy car would be in good shape because we’ve been running pretty well on the road courses this season. After the first practice on Friday I was satisfied because my driver Vitor Meira was 12th fastest of 27 entries-- about where I expected him to be. I started to worry a little when we were 23rd after the second practice on Saturday morning.
Qualifying didn’t go quite as well as we’d hoped—Vitor dropped a wheel and went off course on the lap that would have gotten us into the top 12 or at least the seventh row. But I won’t complain because he was trying hard and it just didn’t work out. He ended up 21st inside row 11, one of our worst starts of the season. We made some changes for the final warmup which didn’t suit him because in that session he was 24th!
For the race we undid some of those changes--apparently the right ones -- because he didn’t really complain about the car the entire race other than to ask for a little more front wing on the second pit stop.
The ABC Supply crew gave Vitor solid pit stops so that we gained spots each time. We made a good decision to pit at the beginning of our final fuel window on lap 54 of the 85-lap race. When a yellow came out three laps later, we picked up a couple more positions because a couple cars ahead of us chose to ride it out longer and were caught out by the yellow.
For the most part, Vitor avoided trouble throughout the race. He had a couple close calls – one of which we didn’t even see. It was towards the end of the race when rookie Charlie Kimball (running sixth—his best race of the season), spun off course and came back on it right in front of Vitor! Vitor kept his cool, got by Kimball and stayed ahead of him for the remaining eight laps of the race. Vitor finished 10th—not bad considering where he started. It was the fourth time in five years that our ABC Supply team scored a top 10 finish at this track.
The team is heading straight to New Hampshire Motor Speedway from Mid Ohio. We test there on Thursday as will most of the teams since the IZOD IndyCar Series hasn’t been there since 1998. In the early days of the Indy Racing League, we won there with Scott Sharp (1996) and we started on the pole there with Billy Boat (1998). Times have changed since then but our commitment hasn’t.
The MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 will be broadcast on ABC-TV this Sunday afternoon starting at 3:30 p.m. ET. I hope you’ll tune in—maybe history will repeat itself!