AJ Foyt Racing Test Report: Auto Club Speedway

FONTANA, Calif. Sept. 24, 2013—Takuma Sato flew from Tokyo, Japan and A.J. Foyt flew from Houston, Texas and the two saw each other at Auto Club Speedway for the first time since early June.

For Foyt the return to racing action in the IZOD IndyCar Series was a welcome one following his recovery from hip replacement surgery July 1. “Today was pretty tiring but I had a great day and a lot of fun,” said 78-year-old Texan who jetted in Tuesday morning and headed home that evening.  “A lot of people came up to me and said ‘Nice to see you back.’ It’s different now though because I don’t play the role I used to play but it’s great to be back and be with the team again. I guess I missed it more than I thought I did.”

“It was good to see A.J. back at the track after such a long time away,” said Sato.

For Sato his 24-hour stay in the States was “productive.” In Tokyo since the beginning of the month, Sato made his whirlwind trip to California for the one-day test and returned to Tokyo on the red-eye because he is scheduled to race in the Super Formula Series in Sugo, Japan this weekend.

The Japanese driver spent most of the day pounding laps around the track. In the morning session, he posted the second quickest time of the 11 Honda-powered cars at the test. While no times for the afternoon session were released at the time of this writing, Sato and chief engineer Don Halliday were pleased with the progress that they made with the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda.

“We were able to complete most of our test program so it’s all about fine-tuning now,” said Sato. “We have a good baseline for when we come back here next month.”

Sato narrowly escaped what could have been a disastrous ending to the day. With 15 minutes left in the session, he left the pits and was timing his entry onto the track to catch the pack. Accelerating on the apron, he hit some bumps and the car did a lazy half spin up the track lightly brushing the Turn 2 wall with the left rear bumper. The car then shot down in front of several cars (who had slowed), and fortunately no one hit him.  There was light damage to the bumper and the front wing’s end fence—incurred from the transition of the apron to the track.

The ABC Supply team heads back to Houston tomorrow to prepare for their first true hometown race Oct. 5-6 when the IZOD Indycar Series will host a doubleheader on the temporary circuit around Reliant Park.