Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (2013)

Race Report: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio August 4, 2013—"Tough weekend, tough race,” said Takuma Sato after climbing out of the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Sunday afternoon.

Qualifying 16th, Sato actually started 15th because another competitor had to change his engine before the race. While Sato had a good start when the green flag dropped, he couldn’t maintain the pace.

When he dropped back to 21st by lap nine, the team decided to pit him early in his fuel stint so the ABC Supply crew could change from the primary black tires (which have a harder compound and less grip) to the softer alternate (red) tires.

Unfortunately, the switch to the softer red tires didn’t produce the increase in grip or speed that was expected and needed to challenge for positions; Sato finished 22nd.

“It was a struggle for speed the whole day,” said Sato. “I appreciated all the hard work the boys did to overcome the issues we had this weekend. We finished the race but we're not satisfied at all.”

Qualifying Report: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio August 3, 2013—Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team bounced back from a tough weekend to qualify 16th this afternoon for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at the 2.25-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

“We lost a lot of track time since yesterday so we had a fairly limited time to prepare for qualifying,” said Sato, who posted a time of 01:06.1989 (122.794 mph) in the 10-minute round.

“We tried really hard to put everything together and I think we performed well under the circumstances,” Sato said, adding, “but since it’s a very tight field, we missed advancing to the next round of qualifying. It was a shame but at least now we know how the ABC Supply car is performing so we can continue to improve the car for tomorrow’s warm-up.”

Despite the lack of practice, Sato was positioned to advance into the next round right up till the final 20 seconds of qualifying when his time was eclipsed by eight hundredths of a second by James Jakes--and just 13 thousandths of a second by Sebastien Bourdais. As a result, Sato will start in the eighth row alongside IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Helio Castroneves.

Ryan Hunter–Reay won the pole in the Firestone Fast Six with a speed of 124.385 mph (01:05.3519). Second through sixth were: Will Power, Scott Dixon, Marco Andretti, Charlie Kimball and Dario Franchitti.

Sato and his team will have a 30-minute practice session in the late morning to fine-tune the ABC Supply Honda along with the other 23 starters. The Honda Indy 200 will be televised tomorrow starting at 3 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.

 

Practice Report: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, OH August 2, 2013—Takuma Sato’s first day of practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid Ohio was fraught with problems but he remains optimistic about his prospects for Sunday’s race on the 13-turn, 2.25 mile permanent road course.

“Tough day for the team,” Sato said after the final practice session. “We came to the Open Test [on Wednesday] and made good progress.  We continued the work this morning although the track conditions were quite a bit different from the test but we still learned quite a few things.

“However, it was interrupted by some issues on the drivetrain,” he continued. “We tried to fix it for the afternoon but then we had another issue which was even worse, so we could do only one timed lap every time out. I think we did four outings which made it difficult to judge, but at least we gained some performance and the car is working better.  But we need track time for tomorrow. Hopefully it will stay dry.”

Sato’s best lap speed of 120.7mph was 3.5mph off the top speed of 124.2mph posted by Will Power. Sato totaled just 22 laps over the two sessions--the lowest amount of all the competitors except one.

The IZOD IndyCar Series will have another 45-minute practice session in the morning before qualifying begins tomorrow afternoon starting at 2 p.m. ET. The NBC Sports Network will broadcast highlights from qualifying at 5 p.m. ET Saturday evening.

The Honda Indy 200 at Mid Ohio will be broadcast live Sunday afternoon starting at 3:00 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.

NOTES & QUOTES: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply/AJ Foyt Racing team are in their first season together. Sato is making his fourth start at Mid-Ohio. He is 13th in the IZOD IndyCar Series standings.

Takuma Sato On:

o Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course: “I like Mid-Ohio. It reminds me of the national circuits in Britain like Oulton Park—it is narrow and has lots of trees with good elevation changes and a tricky complex in the last sector of the course. It has some seriously fast corners like turn 1 and turn 11 which is challenging. The fans here are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic which makes for a great atmosphere too.

o The key setup for the race: “At this track the field is very tight-- maybe just a second separates a good 20 cars. It’s quite tricky and the track changes so much that you need to be in the right range so you have to estimate the track conditions before you go to practice or qualifying because the track is constantly evolving. You need to go through all the setups and have a few cards ready to pick from depending on the conditions. You need good balance for the high speed corners and good mechanical grip for the complex. Your best place to pass is Turn 2 and Turns 4 and 5—it’s a combination. If you’re really quick in Turn 1, it’s possible to have Job Done in Turn 2 on heavy braking into the hairpin. Entering Turn 4 is another possibility or if you set it up for turn 4, you can pass in turn 5. It’s quite exciting but it’s not an easy place to overtake.”

o What was learned from testing at Mid-Ohio: “We had a lot of things to do because it was the first test on a permanent road course since Barber in the spring. For the last three months, we’ve been on the street and ovals. We needed to go through a number of test items because the tire construction is different so the car behaves differently than it does on the street courses. We learned a lot through the test and made good progress so it was a productive test.”

o What he did during the long break: “I was traveling a lot. I went back to Japan for a few days after Toronto and then I went to Monaco with my family for a holiday; we saw some old friends while there. I came to this race very refreshed and I look forward to a good weekend.”

Past performance: In three starts at Mid-Ohio, Sato’s best start was third in his first start at the track in 2010 with KV Racing and his best finish was 4th in 2011 with them. In six appearances, the Foyt team’s best start (7th) and finish (4th) came in 2009 with Ryan Hunter-Reay who was subbing for the injured Vitor Meira that season.

ABC Supply will host over 700 guests on race day at Mid-Ohio. 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 47,000 people at IZOD IndyCar Series events.