Notes & Quotes: Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway
Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team are in their second season together. Sato is making his fifth appearance (and sixth start) at Texas Motor Speedway. Following his two 18th place finishes in the doubleheader at Detroit’s Belle Isle, he is 16th in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings.
Takuma Sato On:
• Texas Motor Speedway: “Texas Motor Speedway is one of the iconic, very high banking, super-fast ovals. It used to be well known for its pack racing with cars two and three wide all the time but the recent reduction of downforce means it isn’t like that anymore. Still we can go two wide or occasionally three wide but it is very grip limited, so the pack tends to split up and the race becomes single file. So the key to running well there is a little similar to Indy in that you have to make the car friendlier in traffic and minimize the degradation of tires. Also there is a big bump and sudden camber change of the banking at the exit of Turn 2 which is very tricky so it’s vital to maximize the mechanical grip rather than allow the aero package to determine the setup.”
• Feeling more pressure at the Boss’s Home Track: “Not necessarily. We always want to succeed and that doesn’t change anywhere we go. But it’s nice to have a good race in front of the team’s and boss’s home state where you have more fans.”
• What he likes about Texas Motor Speedway: “I love the sensation of going on the high banking at a very fast speed and racing through the corner two wide!”
• What he learned at Indy to use at TMS: “We learned a lot from Indy. The track characteristics are different between IMS and Texas but there are some things in common too. We gained more experience and knowledge to understand what works better with the DW12 on high speed ovals so hopefully we can find a good speed this weekend.”
• Dealing with the highs (winning a pole) and lows (being knocked out of contention twice) in Detroit: “Sunday’s Detroit race was obviously a very disappointing moment for us after a great start. Yes it’s difficult to accept but it is what it is and it happened. It’s racing, so we move on.”
• Having two races in Texas the same month: “It’s great news for us because we have strong supporters in Texas. It makes it easier for our team’s families to attend the race event and enjoy it. We will be busier, but it’s a good thing.”
• Sato Helmet Auction Update: The autographed helmet that Sato wore in the Indy 500 is currently up for bid. The latest bid (as of June 3) is $15,600. Interested bidders can check it out at: http://www.501auctions.com/takumasato Proceeds will benefit With You Japan, the charity Sato founded to aid the victims of the 2011 tsunami. The auction closes Monday, June 9 at 10:59:59 a.m. ET.
• Back Home Again—Sort of: While the Foyt team may not be home this weekend, they are within driving distance. Except for a brief return home May 1 to finish a new superspeedway car for the 500, the team has been living out of their suitcases since April 24. Two members – Craig Baranouski and Raul Prados—stayed in Indy, making their stay 5 ½ weeks long.
• Past Performance at TMS: Sato’s best start is fourth and his best finish is fifth, both coming in the first of two races at the track in 2011. Last year Sato started 21st (missed qualifying due to mechanical issues) and finished 11th. The Foyt team’s best finish at Texas came in 1998 when they won with Billy Boat. The year before Boat had taken the checkered flag first but USAC Scorers ruled that he finished second and gave the win to Arie Luyendyk the next day (but Foyt still has the trophy). Boat also won the pole at TMS in the fall of 1998.
• ABC Supply will host 475 guests this weekend in Texas. The company is in its tenth 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 55,000 people at Verizon IndyCar Series events.
• ABC Supply roofing customer All American Roofing, located in Bethany, Okla., will be featured atop the sidepods of the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda. Guests will receive selected merchandise, race tickets, hospitality and garage passes, plus a Meet and Greet with Takuma Sato and A.J. Foyt.
• ABC Supply national account Ashco Exteriors, Inc., located in Dallas, will be featured on the engine cover of the No. 14 ABC Supply car this weekend. Guests will receive the VIP treatment this weekend and will meet Takuma Sato and A.J. Foyt.
• Headquartered in Beloit, Wis., ABC Supply was founded by Ken and Diane Hendricks in 1982. The company has more than 455 branches in 45 states and is dedicated exclusively to serving professional contractors. ABC Supply has distinguished itself by following a simple guiding principle – take care of contractors better than any other distributor. It remains an “employee-first” company that treats its associates with respect and gives them the tools they need to succeed. As a seven-time winner of the Gallup Great Workplace Award, which recognizes the best-performing workforces in the world, ABC Supply is one of only a handful of companies in the world to have earned this honor every year since its inception in 2007. More information is available at www.abcsupply.com.
• The Firestone 600 will be televised live June 7, Saturday starting at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
• For more information, please check: Facebook: AJ Foyt Racing fan page. Twitter: @ajfoytracing @TakumaSatoRacer