Race Report: Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS May 24, 2015—This year’s Indianapolis 500 held drama from the first lap to the last as Juan Pablo Montoya fended off his teammate Will Power by a mere tenth of a second to win the race for the second time. Montoya first won the Memorial Day Classic in 2000.

The final 14 laps provided fans with some of the most thrilling racing ever at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the leaders swapped the top spot eight times! Finishing third through fifth were Charlie Kimball for his best finish ever here, Scott Dixon, and Graham Rahal, who piloted the top-finishing Honda-powered car.

The drama on the first lap came from Takuma Sato’s charge from the outside of the eighth row into Turn 1. He was squeezed into the wall by 20-year-old Sage Karam, who was not expecting Sato to be able to maintain his speed through the turn and the exit onto the short chute. It triggered a multi-car crash.

Sato skittered away with a broken steering arm and toelink while Karam crashed heavily enough that he was done for the day. The ABC Supply team was able to replace the left front steering arm during the caution period which lasted 11 laps due to another incident between Montoya and Simona DeSilvestro during the caution period. Sato lost two laps to the repair.

When the race restarted, Sato was last. Teammate Alex Tagliani had moved from 20th to 13th in the No. 48 Al-Fe Heat Treating Honda. Season-long teammate Jack Hawksworth had moved from 28th to 24th in the No. 41 ABC Supply Honda but then pitted to top off his fuel tank.

As the race settled in, Tagliani ran in the top half of the field getting as high as 13th on the second fuel stint. At one point, he led two laps under caution during the pit stop cycles. However, his car appeared to lose the handling midway through the race, perhaps due to changing track conditions. He dropped as low as 26th but then came back to finish 17th.

“It was a pretty eventful race for us, nothing I could ask more of from the guys,” Tagliani said afterwards. “I am very appreciative and honored to be part of the Foyt family. I was really appreciative just to be here, it means a lot to me. Having the limited time we did, we were playing a little on the fly today with pit stops, so that hurt us a little bit, but other than that I think the race was okay. The car was fairly good, it was missing a bit of speed, but I think in general we can say we accomplished what we needed to accomplish as a team. Doing it last minute like this was very difficult for everyone, but we pulled it off. We managed to run all 500 miles without a problem on the car, and that says it all for all the hard work and preparation the Al-Fe Heat Treating guys put into the car. I am very, very proud of them.”

Track Report: Carb Day

INDIANAPOLIS May 22 - The final practice for the Indianapolis 500 went well for the AJ Foyt Racing team with all three cars running in the top half of the field. Takuma Sato was fifth in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda with a top speed of 228.242mph, while Jack Hawksworth was 12th in the no. 41 ABC Supply Honda at 226.436mph. Alex Tagliani clocked 225.939mph in the No. 48 Al-Fe Heat Treating Honda for 16th quickest.

“It’s very encouraging to see all three cars very competitive,” said Sato, who was the quickest Honda-powered car today. “I felt comfortable in traffic which is what today is all about. The ABC boys did a great preparation on the car, taking everything off and putting it back together again—the car feels really, really good. A very positive day so we’re in the best position for race day.”

“Practice went pretty good,” Hawksworth said. “We had a new engine in the ABC Supply 41 car so we had to dial that in initially and get that all checked off. We worked on the car balance a little bit and we found a little more front grip in traffic which is good. I think we still need to find a little more for Sunday but overall it seems pretty decent.”

Will Power was quickest of the 33 cars on track today. He posted a speed of 229.020mph. Due to driver changes in the starting line-up resulting in three cars moving to the back of the grid, both Sato and Hawksworth will each move up a row. Sato moves up to 24th, outside on Row 8 while Hawksworth will start 28th, inside Row 10.

Tagliani will start 20th, in the middle of Row 7. Only two of the driver changes affected his starting spot as he was starting ahead of the car driven by James Hinchcliffe which will now be driven by Ryan Briscoe in the 500.

The Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast live by ABC-TV Sunday, May 24th with pre-race coverage beginning at 11 a.m. ET. The race will start shortly after noon.

Sexton Companies Signs as Associate Sponsor of No. 48 Al-Fe Heat Treating Honda

INDIANAPOLIS May 21, 2015--Sexton Companies has signed as an associate sponsor of A.J. Foyt’s No. 48 Alfe Heat Treating Honda driven by Alex Tagliani in the Indianapolis 500.

Sexton Companies, founded in 1962 and headquartered in Indianapolis, builds and manages apartment communities in the Midwest and as far south as Louisiana and Texas.  The company’s first apartment community was built in Speedway, Ind. just minutes from the Motor Speedway and it was this fortuitous building project that provided the opportunity for Joe Sexton and team owner A.J. Foyt to meet.

Marlyne Sexton, president and owner of the eponymous real estate development company, has been involved with the 500 Festival for many years, first on its Board of Directors and now as a Festival Foundation member.  Her ability to champion the cause of the Festival is evident in the number of corporate members she encouraged to join the Festival, her company’s floats in the parade and most recently her endowment of the 500 Festival Princess Program scholarships.  Mrs. Sexton’s first sponsorship of a driver was Robbie Buhl in the mid ‘90s.  This is her company’s second involvement with Tagliani as a sponsor but her first with AJ Foyt Racing.

“Being associated with AJ Foyt is an honor,” Sexton said. “Not only is it a long standing friendship, it is a long standing admiration.  Having worked with Alex in the past, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this exciting pairing with A.J.”

“I so glad that Marlyne joined our team for the 500 this year,” said Foyt. “She’s been a good friend to me, the Speedway and the Indianapolis community. Her husband Joe and I went way back—I stayed in the first apartment building he built in Speedway. We’re proud to carry the Sexton Companies logo on our car.”

“I’m really thankful for Sexton Companies support,” said Tagliani. “We have known them for a long time. They have so many people in Indianapolis and Indiana who live in their properties. It’s a good organization and they really take care of their residents. It gives me a lot of pride to have them on the side of the cockpit of our 48. It’s been a pleasure having them in the garage this month--we’re having a great time.”

Tagliani qualified the No. 48 Honda at a four-lap average speed of 223.722 mph, good enough for 22nd on the grid of the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500. It will be Tagliani’s seventh start in the 500.  Tagliani won the pole for the 2011 Indy 500 and his best finish was 10th in 2010.  In six starts he has finished in the top 13 four times.

The Indianapolis 500 will be televised live on ABC-TV with pre-race coverage starting at 11:00 a.m. E

Track Report: May 18

INDIANAPOLIS May 21—The final long practice session to prepare for the Indianapolis 500 was marred by yet another single car accident but this time the driver did not walk away unscathed.

James Hinchcliffe hit the Turn 3 wall nearly head-on after his car sustained a mechanical failure. Hinchcliffe was taken to Methodist Hospital where he underwent surgery for an injury to his upper left thigh. He is in stable condition. IndyCar’s technical staff halted the practice session for several hours until they were able toinvestigate the cause of the accident and its impact on the other teams.

Jack Hawksworth topped the team list with his 10th place speed ranking (224.984mph) despite ending his session early due to an engine failure. The team will be replacing the engine in the No. 41 ABC Supply machine in time for the hour-long practice on Carb Day this Friday.

“The car felt pretty decent,” Hawksworth said while watching his team remove his ailing engine. “I think we need to find a little more front grip for running in the pack and running in traffic so we can make some passes a little bit easier. So that will be the focus for Carb Day. We had a little engine issue at the end, so we have to get that sorted out. Hopefully on Friday we’ll find a little bit of front grip and hopefully that will help on Sunday.”

Takuma Sato, who was 12th in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda, ran 44 laps and posted a speed of 224.483mph.

“First, I’m really wishing a speedy recovery for Hinch,” said Sato. “All of us are wishing that. Other than that, it was nice to have extra hours after the investigation was finished by IndyCar’s technical staff and to be able to check the box that we could continue running. We were able to run in a big pack—I think it was the biggest pack of traffic all week. We worked through the race setup and tried different levels of downforce, and feel how the whole fuel stint was going to evolve. It was a relatively windy day but it was good conditions and we learned a lot. Now the engineers will go through all the data and I am confident that we have a strong package for the race and the final check on Carb Day.”

Driving the No. 48 Al-Fe Heat Treating Honda, Alex Tagliani was 19th in today’s session. Tag ran 70laps and posted a top speed of 222.907mph

“Good day at work,” Tagliani said. “Car feels good, we were on the safe side today with balance. Just a tick too much understeer but I think overall the car was okay. I think we have a decent car, we just have to fix the balance and make sure that we have good tire pressure in the run. Managing that is going to be key, and we’ll see what we get. We have another hour on Carb Day, and we’ll try to make it work for Sunday.”

Teams have a practice on Carb Day this Friday (from 11 a.m. to 12 noon ET) in final preparation for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Qualifying Set for Sunday, May 17

Rain washed out qualifying on Saturday. Teams will have just one qualifying attempt Sunday morning from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. which will determine positions 10 through 30 for the Indianapolis 500. Drivers who post the top nine speeds will then re-qualify in the Fast 9 segment from 1:45 – 2:30 p.m. which will determine the winner of the Indianapolis 500 pole position. The final segment of qualifying from 3:00 - 3:35 will determine the last row—positions 31-33. Qualifying will be aired on ABC-TV from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. ET.