A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply team switched to Chevrolet this season with 25-year-old drivers Carlos Munoz (No. 14) and Conor Daly (No. 4). Munoz finished 11th and Daly 15th in the Kohler Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
CARLOS MUNOZ: “Iowa Speedway has been a hard track for me, but I do like the corn there! I find it really challenging because it is a low-grip level track and it is also bumpy. You have to think ahead – it’s fast and you have to think how you’re going to make a pass--think for two or three laps on how to do it before you actually do it. It’s a tough track to race. Recently we’ve made a lot of progress with the car setups because as a team we are understanding the car more. Hopefully we can continue that progress and get a good result.”
CONOR DALY: “Iowa is very physically and mentally demanding. I really enjoyed racing there back in the Road to Indy days and hope to have some success in an Indy car there as well. Short oval racing is always exciting so we hope to come out of it with a lot of experience gained and a good finish.”
NO. 4 RACE ENGINEER MIKE COLLIVER ON:
Iowa Speedway: “I like Iowa Speedway because I grew up going to short track, half-mile sprint car races in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s at Eldora, Winchester, and Salem (Indiana). The Indy cars at Iowa reminds me of that type of racing: bullring, Saturday night short-track. I used to enjoy racing at Richmond (Virginia) in the IRL days and it kind of reminds me of that a bit also. In fact, I wish we still raced there. I also wish Iowa were still a night race as I think the under-the-lights atmosphere just adds to the spectacle. Regardless, it would be interesting to see INDYCAR drop the downforce level to the point of drivers not being able to run around there flat out.”
The overall challenges at Iowa: “One of the biggest challenges is getting the car to stay consistent on a long run due to the massive abuse/loads that the tires undergo and that the tires never cool since the straights are so short. Also, with the bumpiness of the track, we see shock travel and velocities that are normally reserved for street circuits--it can be as much as 20 to 25 inches. Therefore the mechanical package—springs, shocks, and anti-roll bars-- become really important.”
The challenges specific to our team: “Learning the new aero kit and how to get the desired downforce levels in the most efficient (Downforce vs Drag) manner for both qualifying and the race. Also determining what rake and tilt the Chevy kit needs to run at for maximum efficiency. Plus we didn’t test there and there is a new left side tire relative to last year.”
The importance of race strategy at Iowa: “Strategy is important, but, as in most oval races, the yellows dictate pit stops because at Iowa you’ll lose three to four laps pitting under green, whereas the road course races have many windows and options that help you win if you nail it, but won’t cost you a lap or more if you miss it. The keys are to stay on the lead lap (or at most one lap down) and track position.”
The importance of qualifying at Iowa: “Important, maybe slightly more important due to the shorter track and rate at which the leaders will catch the back of the pack. Still a good race car is key. If it’s solid over the long run you will go forward regardless of where you start and vice-versa. If your race car isn’t good, it doesn’t matter how well you qualify.”
Expected level of our competitiveness at Iowa: “I expect to be very competitive. In race conditions we’ve been strong at every oval. Qualifying has been another story, but once we figure out the aero window the car wants to run in, we’ve been able to settle into a nice race setup and pace. We’ve been strong on long runs and have moved forward on track. We are understanding better the engineering tools we use and are relying on them with more confidence: Chevy aero info, in-house aero analysis tools, chassis/mechanical simulators, dampers and inertia levels, etc.
“Conor Daly, like most drivers, needs a car that has a very solid rear-end on corner entry. This allows them to race using a high or low entry and not worry about the back stepping out or having to correct, so they can get aggressive with the steering wheel which allows them to be aggressive in race attack mode.
“This leads to a story: there is a fine line between being able to feel that the rear might be solid and really knowing it is solidly under you. The first time I went to test at Phoenix Raceway with Al Unser, Jr., I remember about halfway through the day he came off Turn 4 a little high and almost violently jerked the car down off the corner towards the inside wall. Then he pitted. I figured something was wrong with the car. As we started the debriefing, I could see him grinning through his helmet. Then he informed me that occasionally he would do that to see how solid the rear of the car was. The bottom line…if he could get aggressive with the wheel at corner exit, that is, if the car “followed his hands” and the rear stayed solid when he added steering that aggressively--and stayed solid--then he knew he had a good race car.”
Chevrolet Display Appearance: Both Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly will appear at the Chevrolet Display located near the IndyCar Fan Village behind the main grandstand for a 15-minute Q&A with fans on Saturday starting at 4:10 p.m.
Past Performance: Carlos Munoz’s best start at Iowa Speedway was fifth in 2014 and his best finish was fifth in 2015. In Conor Daly’s only race at Iowa, he started 21st and did not finish due to handling, placing 21st (2016). The Foyt team’s best start is 13th with Takuma Sato (2016) and Vitor Meira (2010). Their best finish is fifth with Darren Manning in 2007.
ABC Supply national account, 3 B’s Roofing, based in Andalusia, Ill., will be featured on the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet. Guests will receive the VIP treatment this weekend along with a Meet and Greet with Carlos Munoz.
ABC Supply roofing customer, Tri County, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest. The company name will be on the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet. Guests will receive the VIP treatment plus a Meet and Greet with Conor Daly.
ABC Supply celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. The company was founded in 1982 by Ken and Diane Hendricks with just three stores. The company now has over 700 stores and topped $7 billion in sales in 2016. ABC Supply began sponsoring the AJ Foyt Racing team with the 2005 Indianapolis 500. The company has leveraged its involvement by entertaining over 84,000 associates and customers over the past 12 racing seasons. The company will entertain over 300 guests this weekend.
A.J. Foyt’s iconic career is honored in an extraordinary exhibit at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. A.J. Foyt: A Legendary Exhibition presented by ABC Supply Co., Inc. runs through October 31. With additional support from Alfe Heat Treating and Chevrolet, the exhibit features nearly three dozen race cars that Foyt drove plus rare memorabilia from his personal collection.
The Iowa Corn 300 will be televised live on NBC Sports Network Sunday, July 9, starting at 5:00 pm EDT. Qualifying will be broadcast on NBCSN on Saturday, July 8 starting at 3:00 pm EDT. The race will be broadcast live on Sirius XM radio on the following channels: Sirius 212, XM 209, SXM 970.