NOTES & QUOTES: Grand Prix of Baltimore Presented by SRT
Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team are in their first season together. Sato is making his third start on the streets of Baltimore. Following his 23rd place finish (after starting 13th) at Sonoma Raceway last weekend, he is still 13th in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings. The team will also be in No. 13 pit box.
Takuma Sato On:
• The Baltimore circuit: “There’s a nice balance of high-speed and low-speed corners and I enjoy driving here every time. Some parts are quite smooth but the rest is fairly bumpy. You need a strong braking stability, good traction and must be able to reduce the understeer as it's a typical street course. There is one very unique chicane before crossing a railway; the design of that chicane has changed every year but it looks like we will have the one similar to 2011 with high curbs so we need to be able to go fast through there too. The new surface has a lot of grip and even the old part has some good grip, so it's quite a busy and physical track. There are several places to pass but Turn 1 and Turn 3 are probably the two most popular places. Baltimore draws a great crowd and the fans are very enthusiastic too. It should be an exciting race—it usually is.”
• How to get the monkey off his back: “Drive fast! :-) I think we just need to continue to work on everything. Make the car fast and try to have a strong weekend. Really looking forward to the weekend at Baltimore so we shouldn't have any more monkeys there.”
• What he likes about Baltimore: “With the track being right in the middle of downtown, there is lots of activity going on. There are many good restaurants around the harbor and there is great attendance on the race weekend. Hopefully all of the fans enjoy the city too.
• Past performance: The stats don’t tell the story in Sato’s case so he explained them:
o “In 2011 (started 26th, finished 18th), I was 3rd quickest in my first qualifying segment but had a drivetrain issue during the run and stopped on the course, which meant my two best laps were taken away since I caused the yellow. That ended my qualifying session. The race was an exciting one, in that I moved up as high as 6th place but I brushed the wall near the very end and I had to stop two laps later.”
o “In 2012 (started 24th, finished 21st), I was in even better shape because I was 4th quickest in the final practice session. I really looked forward to qualifying, but there was a very early red flag in my group. I couldn't even set the time properly --I was on my warm up lap on the new tires. Plus I had an engine change penalty anyway. Nevertheless, the rain during the race helped me to move up and I was leading the race, but a fuel pump problem ended my day… a big shame.”
o The Foyt team stats: in 2011, started 12th and finished 9th with Vitor Meira; in 2012, Mike Conway qualified 2nd but started 12th due to engine penalty; he was challenging for sixth (after coming back from an early race punt by Helio Castroneves) in the closing laps when his race ended in the tire barrier on Conway Street! He was credited with 16th.
• ABC Supply will host over 800 guests this weekend. The company is in its ninth year as primary sponsor of A.J. Foyt’s No. 14. Since ABC Supply began sponsoring AJ Foyt Racing in 2005, they have entertained well over 50,000 people at IZOD IndyCar Series events.