Alfe Heat Treating Set To Unveil No. 35 “Tribute to A.J. Foyt” IndyCar

WALLER, Texas April 28, 2016—You’ve seen the pictures but on Tuesday, May 10th, Alfe Heat Treating will host a private unveiling of its No. 35 “Tribute to A.J. Foyt”   IndyCar for the media at the Foyt Wine Vault in Speedway, Ind.

Honoree A.J. Foyt and his No. 35 driver Alex Tagliani, the 2011 Indianapolis 500 pole winner, will be joined by Kurt Westman, founder and CEO of Alfe Heat Treating, Larry Foyt, president of A.J. Foyt Enterprises, Inc. plus Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth, drivers of the ABC Supply Hondas, of which Alfe Heat Treating is an associate sponsor.

Race fans can enter a contest on Facebook to win a Ticket for Two to the “35 Unveiling” on May 10th plus two tickets to the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indy on May 14th so they can see the No. 35 Alfe Heat Treating Honda in action in the fifth event of the Verizon IndyCar Series.

“We want to honor the fans of IndyCar and A.J. Foyt by inviting them to partake in a special event with us and share in the excitement surrounding the 100th Running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” said Ryan Westman, regional sales manager and director of motorsports for Alfe Heat Treating.

The May 3rd contest will be hourly with one winner per hour starting at 12 noon ET on the Alfe Racing Facebook page. Question 2 will be posted on the AJ Foyt Racing fan page at 1 pm ET. The sites will alternate hourly with one question per hour through 4 p.m. for a total of five winners.

The first person to answer correctly will win a Ticket for Two to the “35 Unveiling” as long as they meet the following criteria: Winners are 21 or older (if younger, must be accompanied by an adult) and are able to attend the May 10 event in Speedway.

In addition to receiving the Grand Prix race tickets, the five winners will be able to meet and have their picture taken with Tagliani, Sato and Hawksworth. The winners (over 21) will be able to enjoy gourmet appetizers and award-winning Foyt Wine.

Tagliani will drive the No. 35 Alfe Heat Treating Honda in both the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis 500. The number 35 was chosen to honor Foyt’s record 35 straight starts in the Indianapolis 500—from 1958 through 1992. The car’s livery will evoke memories of the black No. 14 Indy cars that he drove in the latter part of his legendary career.  As Kurt Westman noted, “We chose the number 35 because it is the number of consecutive starts A.J. had at the Brickyard as well as being A.J.'s birth year, a lucky number!”

The Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis will be broadcast live by ABC-TV on May 14 starting at 3:30 pm ET. The 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil will be broadcast live May 29th on ABC-TV starting with the pre-race show at 11 am ET followed by the race broadcast.

 

About Alfe Heat Treating, Inc.

Headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Alfe Heat Treating, Inc. is the largest commercial aluminum heat treating operation in the United States. The company operates plants throughout the Midwest serving aerospace, automotive, military, and commercial customers with both ferrous and non-ferrous facilities.

About Alex Tagliani

Tagliani, 43, is a native of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He lives outside the city with his wife Bronte and their young daughter Eva Rose who was born last Spring. Tagliani began his career in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2000 and has raced an IndyCar in at least one race every year since. He has also competed in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series, Camping World Truck Series, Pinty’s Series (Canadian stock cars), Rolex Grand Am Series and in the V8 Supercar Series.

 

 

Race Report:  Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM  April 24, 2016—Starting mid-pack in a tightly bunched field is always risky business.  Jack Hawksworth, starting 14th, and Takuma Sato, starting 16th, took a gamble by choosing an alternate fuel strategy to make some gains on the field in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsport Park today.

When two cars directly ahead of the ABC Supply Hondas tangled on the frontstretch before the green flag was thrown, both drivers took evasive action with different results. Hawksworth went off course to avoid Mikhail Aleshin who spun directly into his path but Sato was able to scramble past and gain some positions. Hawksworth was sent to the back along with Carlos Munoz who had punted Aleshin causing the spin.

On the restart, Sato had to avoid a car in turn 2 and ran wide, dropping his left side in the dirt. By the time he got back on track, he was nearly last. Now both he and Hawksworth had no choice but to try to pit early, gain clear track by doing so and be able to make up some of the track position they’d lost in the beginning.

Sato was able to do just that through fast pit stops—in the 7-second range—which gained him several spots during the pit stop cycles. He also capitalized on being on the alternate red tires the first two stints while others were on the slower black primary tires which allowed Sato to overtake several cars on track. The strategy worked and he climbed to 14th by lap 22 of the 90-lap race.

Race strategist Larry Foyt told Sato to save fuel when he could so he could race hard at the end as other drivers’ tires went off. He managed to pick up one more position as the different fuel strategies played out; he finished 13th in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda.

“At the start it was ridiculous that Munoz punched Aleshin before the green flag,” Sato said afterwards. “I avoided them and gained a few positions but then on the restart I lost all in Turn 2. There were lots of cars on the inside and a car ahead had a moment. I avoided him but got in the gray, and then I had moment and dropped the left side in the dirt. I went to the back of the cue. The ABC boys did a good job in the pits to get me out fast. Our strategy to pit early and attack worked because I was able to gain some positions. Then the mission was to save fuel and we did. We did everything we could under the circumstances."

Hawksworth had the same fuel strategy as Sato but his No. 41 ABC Supply Honda did not work quite as well on the red alternate tires that both cars used during the first two fuel stints. He was not able to push as hard. Running 17th in the first part of the race, he advanced to 16th just before halfway and ran there until five laps to go. That is when he moved over for the leaders, got clipped and then got punted by Aleshin who had closed in when Hawksworth moved over. He dropped to 19th at the finish.

"We didn't get a good start because Aleshin got hit [by Munoz] and spun in front of us and I had to go off track to miss him,” said Hawksworth. “They [race officials] sent all of us to the back. On the reds the car had a lot of understeer. We went to blacks on the third stint and it was ok and we saved a lot of fuel. We had to go to used blacks on the last stint and it wasn't very good. I got hit by Aleshin at the end and that was it."

Pole winner Simon Pagenaud won the race which went caution free after the one lap yellow on the start. Graham Rahal was the only driver to challenge Pagenaud and then take the lead for four laps near the end. But Rahal’s car sustained some minor damage when he passed Hawksworth and he wasn’t able to stave off Pagenaud at the end. Joseph Newgarden, Will Power and Juan Pablo Montoya rounded out the top five.

The Verizon IndyCar Series takes off the next two weekends before kicking off the month of May with the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis.

Qualifying Report: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM  April 23, 2016—Some days you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you. After feeling pretty satisfied yesterday, the ABC Supply team felt equally disappointed after this afternoon’s qualifying session at Barber Motorsports Park.

Jack Hawksworth, who will start 14th in the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda, posted a lap of 1 minute, 7.2360 seconds, which was .0117 of a second shy of transferring to the next segment.

“We just missed out—it’s pretty frustrating to miss by just a hundredth,” Hawksworth said. “I wish I could have extracted just a bit more from the lap when it’s that close. It was a tricky day overall because the track temperature seems to have such an effect on the performance of the car. We rolled out the cars this morning pretty similar to where we left last night and found the car to be too loose. To compensate for that, which wasn’t the right thing to do in hindsight because in the end with the reds and the track conditions in the afternoon, even though the temp went up, the balance seemed to go back to where it was last night. So we ended up with understeer. It’s frustrating because the basis of the car was pretty good. Very disappointed but we’ll go again tomorrow. It’s a long race, a lot can happen.”

Sato will start 16th in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda after posting a lap just .0025 of a second slower than his teammate.

“Having had a successful day yesterday, we looked over the data and thought we made the car faster this morning but the different track conditions [hotter] made for a different balance,” Sato explained afterwards. “It seems to be very narrow and very delicate [the sweet spot in the car’s setup] so we lost the edge and didn’t like the balance. Going into qualifying, it was a little bit unknown. The car came back some but we needed a little bit more speed. We lost by such a little bit because it was so tight, two hundredths of a second. It’s a shame but we have another warmup in the morning to get it right for the race.”

Sato and Hawksworth were both in the second group of first round qualifiers. It is more desirable to have each car in a different group so they don’t have to compete against each other to transfer to the next segment. The groups were determined by this morning’s practice session: cars that finished in odd-numbered positions comprise one group and the cars that finished in even-numbered positions comprise the other group. Hawksworth and Sato were 11th and 13th respectively in practice 3.

The quickest driver in practice 3 determines if his group goes out first or second, and since the track is usually faster in the second group, the driver usually chooses that option which is what this morning’s pacesetter Scott Dixon did. Unfortunately, those who don’t transfer from group 2 make up the outside row which is why Hawksworth and Sato will start 14th and 16th.

Simon Pagenaud won the pole with his time of 1 minute, 6.72 seconds lap. He led a contingent of Chevy-powered drivers who locked in the top-five starting slots: Will Power, Joseph Newgarden, Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais. Graham Rahal rounded out the Firestone Fast Six in his Honda-powered car.

The race will be televised on the NBC Sports Network starting at 3 p.m. ET.

 

Practice Report:  Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

BIRMINGHAM April 22, 2016—Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth delivered a one-two punch in practice today as they topped the 21-car field posting the fastest times overall at Barber Motorsports Park, the beautiful but challenging 2.3-mile road course outside of Birmingham.

Sato clocked a lap time of 1 minute, 7.2157 seconds for a speed of 123.186mph, while Hawksworth was within four-thousandths of a second of that time and a speed of 123.178mph--a testament to the team’s preparation of the ABC Supply Hondas. It was the first time since becoming a two-car team last year that they were one-two in a session of any kind.

“Nice day for our ABC Supply team,” said Larry Foyt, president of AJ Foyt Racing. “We have to really focus on keeping the cars towards the front for qualifying as it’s so important for the race here, but it is a nice feeling to see the speed displayed by the team and drivers today.”

Honda-powered cars claimed four of the top six spots - James Hinchcliffe was third and Graham Rahal was sixth. Chevy-powered cars driven by Sebastien Bourdais and Will Power were fourth and fifth overall.

"It's been a very good day for the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing team,” said Sato. “There's been good preparation--this is not the result of just one single day. It was the winter testing and especially the last test here because the weather was warmer than usual and that gave us a good foundation and understanding of the car. We had a few races since then and gained an even better understanding. The engineering department did a tremendous job, working in so much detail and bringing everything together. The car and the Honda engine are working really well.”

Although clearly enjoying the moment, he cautioned, “It's only a test day, but it's a great feeling because the competition level is so high and we are on top of the game today. We'll go through the data and look for where we can improve. In qualifying the red tire could behave differently, so all is not perfect but I think we learned a lot and it's been very positive."

Hawksworth too was smiling after the session. He was second quickest in both sessions.

“It’s been a really good day,” the 25-year-old Brit said. “We were quick in practice 1 and quick in practice 2 so it shows the consistency of the ABC Supply Honda. Takuma was P-5 and P-1 so we were in the top-five both sessions which is a good practice day in terms of speed. The feeling of the car was really good and we found some stuff right at the end of the day which we were really happy with. We’ll sit down tonight and go through everything with the guys and try to execute in qualifying tomorrow. Hopefully we’ve ironed out our issues and we can put a really strong day together tomorrow and continue this. We need a good third practice, go out in qualifying and give it the beans and hopefully put it near the front.”

The teams have a 45-minute morning practice. At 4:00 p.m. ET, the Firestone Fast Six qualifying rounds will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network, which will also broadcast the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Sunday afternoon starting at 3:00 p.m. ET.