NOTES & QUOTES: MAVTV 500
Takuma Sato On:
• Auto Club Speedway: “I think Fontana is a great oval track. Certainly it's bumpy and challenging but it gives us multiple race lines and you can go low or high depending on your balance and condition. That is actually great and not many courses allow you to do so without losing too much speed. So you will see lots of side by side racing and leader changes in the race. I enjoyed my first visit there last year.”
• Returning to high speed ovals: “Since we had a test at Fontana a couple of weeks ago, and I believe most of the teams tested there, I don't think it will take us too long to get acclimated. Maybe we need some good time in the car to get confidence in traffic but we will have a long race, so I'm not worried about that either.”
• Testing at Fontana: “The base set-up was at a much higher level already this year because the team had raced there. So we went with all the basics and tried to develop from there. Tires were performing well so we were up to the pace quite quickly. Then we went through some test items and the car became more stable so I was able to go faster. It was a very productive day.”
• Key to the set-up: “Obviously reduction of drag is extremely important as this is one of the fastest tracks we race on, but equally important is to have a very stable car. Here you can run low, mid and high lanes and each lane gives us a different balance so we need to adjust for that too. Particularly from Turn 1 to Turn 2, it is very tricky to go over the seams. Between the lanes and the progressive banking from bottom to top, you can't just drive all the way on the bottom. You could stay very high all the way through, it is actually the most stable line but to get an ultimate lap time you need to approach high, get low and go high again, which makes it very tricky but fast.”
• Goal for this weekend: “Having a strong finish would be great but ultimately we want to win and nothing is impossible.”
• Rating your season: “It's been a great season. We had such a successful start to the beginning of the season and achieved fantastic finishes with the team. We also had some unlucky moments in midseason but it was great to go through as a group and we learned all sorts of things because of it. We have been strong in the last few races of the season. It is definitely a happy place to build on, and we moved forward a lot.”
• Possible record: Takuma Sato will be looking to regain the form he showed in the first half of the season when he claimed his first IndyCar victory at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. If he were to win at Auto Club Speedway, he would become the first driver to win both races in Southern California in the same season.
• Sato’s pole winning run in Houston’s Race 1 Oct. 5th was the team’s first pole position since Billy Boat won the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway in July, 1999.