Race Report: Go Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif. Aug. 24, 2013--All's well that ends well. Takuma Sato's day started with an earthquake and ended with a fourth place finish in the Go Pro Grand Prix of Sonoma--his best finish of the season in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda.
It took determination, perseverance and teamwork to score both his and the team's best ever finish at the picturesque 2.38-mile road course which was not materially affected by the 6.1 earthquake that hit nearby Napa in the early morning hours.
In the morning warmup, fuel pressure issues cut short the team's session. Unable to determine the cause, the team changed the engine as a precaution.
Starting 20th, Sato couldn't avoid the debris from a multicast accident in Turn 2 immediately after the green flag waved. He had to pit for a puncture in his tire and a new nose and wing assembly.
Sato ran at the back of the 22-car field but worked his way up to 17th. He was one of just a handful of cars to pit during the full course yellow which came out on lap 30. In fact, he pitted on four the five caution laps as the crw topped him off with fuel each time.
When a second full course caution came out on lap 36, Sato vaulted from 21st to fifth as most of the field pitted. Sato was able to conserve his fuel and maintain his top five position until he made his final stop on lap 61.
Unfortunately, after a normal service of fuel and tires, Sato had to stop to avoid hitting Marco Andretti who entered his pit at the moment Sato was trying to leave his pit. Sato rejoined the field in 11th.
Once the pit stops cycled out, Sato was running a solid seventh. He passed Juan Pablo Montoya on track and then gained two more spots when leaders Graham Rahal pitted with three laps to go and Mike Conway sputtered across the line, dropping from third to 14th.