Race Report: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
LEEDS, Ala. April 7, 2013—This race weekend was about bouncing back from adversity.
Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team appeared to have the speed they needed to make their second Firestone Fast Six final qualifying round Saturday but an official’s judgment call and ensuing penalty dropped him to 12th on the grid.
Not one to dwell on the negatives, Sato determined he was going to be attacking right from the start of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. He wasted no time as he quickly jumped into 11th and, after a short yellow period for a first lap melee in the rear of the field, Sato had another good restart and moved into ninth by lap seven.
He pitted on lap 23 and went from the alternate (red) tires to the harder compound primary (black) tires. He was off in 7.4 seconds. He didn’t like the primary tire as much; indeed the car was not nearly as quick on the harder tire. He opted for the alternate tire on the next stop.
On the lap 43 pit stop, the tires and fueling went well but as Sato tried to leave the pits, he was not able to engage a gear. By the time the problem was resolved, he dropped from 13th to 23rd.
Now on a set of slightly worn alternate tires (used in one of the qualifying rounds), Sato began to carve his way through the field.