Race Report: ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee Indyfest
MILWAUKEE Aug. 17, 2014—The stage was set at the Milwaukee Mile. Before an enthusiastic crowd, Skylar Stecker, the 12-year-old granddaughter of ABC Supply Chairman Diane Hendricks, sang a stirring rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. Soon after Hendricks, the race’s Grand Marshal, gave the command, “Drivers, start your engines!” Honorary starter Keith Rozolis, ABC Supply President and CEO, waved the green flag to start the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee Indyfest.
As the field came down for the green, Takuma Sato’s race nearly ended before it started! Coming off turn four, the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda jumped sideways and Sato did a masterful job to save it from spinning in front of the second half of the field. However, he dropped from 10th to 19th in the process. He was not able to gain back any spots before his first pit stop on lap 58. Despite the crew’s 7.5-second pit stop, he went a lap down to the leaders—due in part to pole sitter Will Power’s blistering pace.
By the halfway point of the race, Sato was 18th. When the race’s only caution flag came out on lap 131 for Carlos Munoz’s tap of the turn 4 wall, Power didn’t pit, so Sato was not in position to get a wave around and get back on the lead lap. Sato pitted for fresh tires as did most of the field.
When the race got underway again, Sato, now 17th, began passing cars—as many as six on the track—but only one was for position because many of the cars were a lap ahead. In fact, he was fast enough to run consistently with Tony Kanaan who finished third. Sato gained another spot when Ryan Hunter-Reay dropped out with a mechanical problem. Sato placed 15th.
"Such a disappointing race,” Sato said afterwards. “At the start, I lost the back end, the rear stepped out [when he nearly spun out]. I lost positions and the track was so slippery in the beginning it was difficult to gain them back. After the middle stint, the car started working well and we had the pace. But we were a lap down so the cars I passed weren't for position. It was a tough race."