Race Report: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama
BIRMINGHAM – The Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama had a story-book ending for some, but for A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply team, the story was bittersweet.
Tony Kanaan, who started 19th, appeared to be headed for another top-12 finish in the No. 14 Chevrolet but the team realized they were not going to make it to the end and called Kanaan in for a splash of fuel. He finished 18th a lap down.
“We need to do a better job,” Kanaan said afterwards. “We had a top-12 car and they miscalculated the fuel – that’s a very bad mistake that shouldn’t happen and it cost us.”
Matheus Leist, who qualified 15th, was struggling with his car throughout the 90-lap race. He managed to keep the leader behind him on the track but when everyone ducked into the pits on lap 57, Sato passed him on exiting the pit box and put Leist a lap down. He finished 20th.
“Tough race here at Barber,” Leist said. “Unfortunately not the result we wanted. We were struggling a lot with both (Firestone) tires red (alternate compound) and black (primary compound). We just didn’t have the pace today. Our tire degradation was higher than the other drivers and when you have a high tire degradation there’s not much you can do. Unfortunately, we got a lap down when we pitted before the yellow. Nothing we could do from there on, just a disappointing day here at Barber considering that we finished 12th here last year and we probably could have done a better job this year. Let’s see what we can do at Long Beach.”
Japan’s Takuma Sato won the race after starting on the pole in his Honda-powered Dallara. Rounding out the top five were Scott Dixon, Sebastien Bourdais, Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi.
The NTT IndyCar Series teams’ trucks are heading straight from Alabama to California for next weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. The race will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network starting at 4 p.m. ET.