The twentysomethings...Nate Boysen (23), Joe Pontin (24), Tim Trowbridge (24) and C.J. Nielsen (26) (pictured L to R) are the youngest members of AJ Foyt Racing except for the driver of the No.4 ABC Supply Chevrolet, Matheus Leist (20). We asked the crew members a few questions and will be featuring their entire interviews throughout next week. Here are a sampling of their answers…
Q: What is your job at AJ Foyt Racing? Do you have an additional role on race weekends?
Nate Boysen (shock builder): “I work alongside Warren Wilson in the Damper Department where I build and prepare each shock that goes out on the cars. I work with the engineers to develop damper curves and act as a historian for all the shock related information so that in the future we can replicate any damper from any race. During race weekends I adjust damper settings in practice sessions and assist in the pit lane wherever I am able.”
Q: What may surprise people about you?
Joe Pontin (mechanic): “I’m allergic to alcoholic beverages. While everyone enjoys a beer, I’ll have a Coke.”
Q: What’s the biggest challenge of your job?
Tim Trowbridge (data acquisition guy/engineer aka DAG): “The biggest challenge of my job has to be adapting to changes in such a fast-paced environment.”
Q: What’s your favorite and least favorite part of the 500?
C.J. Nielsen (data acquisition guy/engineer aka DAG): “I have a love hate relationship with this month. Obviously nothing ever compares to race day at the 500. It makes all the blood, sweat and tears of the past month worth it. Standing on that grid, seeing the hundreds of thousands of people....literally gives me goosebumps thinking about it. Last year was probably the most emotionally-tolling month of May for me due to the fact that my father had died in January 2018 and he was a diehard Indy 500 fan. He had always wanted to see me do well there and in years past, I had been cursed to being what seemed like a back-marker, so to qualify well and do well in the race it was definitely bittersweet since he wasn't there. This month can be a really good month if you are running well (last year was great because we were fast) but if you are slow and constantly searching for speed, it becomes an absolute hell that you dread and can't wait to end.”
TONY KANAAN on INDYCAR Grand Prix: “The Indy GP kicks-off the Month of May activities and although it’s an event held at IMS, it’s more relaxed than what we’ll have with the 500. I like the road course layout, in fact Doug Boles (IMS President) was very proactive in talking to me and to some other drivers when IMS decided to make modifications to the track for the inaugural Indy GP. The fans are able to watch and experience the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in a different way. We’re looking forward to having a smooth GP weekend and from there work into our Indy 500 program the next weekend.”
MATHEUS LEIST on the INDYCAR Grand Prix: “I’m pretty excited to be back for the month of May and racing in Indy again. It’s such a special month and a special place to be racing in. We still have a lot of things to improve as a team so it’s another opportunity for us to keep working hard and improving our road course setup which is our weakest point. But I’m excited to kick off the month of May with the INDYCAR G.P.”
Last Race: In the Long Beach Grand Prix, Tony Kanaan started 21st and finished 19th while Matheus Leist started 20th and finished 15th.
Past Performance at INDYCAR Grand Prix: Tony Kanaan’s best start is fifth in 2016 while his best finish is 7th in 2015. Last year Matheus Leist started 21st and had worked his way into 13th when he was hit, he dropped back 4 spots and on the final lap, had to duck into the pits for a splash of fuel. He placed 21st. AJ Foyt Racing’s best start is fourth in 2016 with Jack Hawksworth, the team’s best finish is ninth with Takuma Sato who finished ninth in 2014 and 2015.
ABC Supply is in its 15th season as primary sponsor of A.J. Foyt’s IndyCar team, making it the longest running team sponsor in the NTT IndyCar Series. The company was founded in 1982 by Ken and Diane Hendricks with just three stores. The company now has over 700 stores and topped $10.5 billion in sales in 2018. ABC Supply began sponsoring the AJ Foyt Racing team with the 2005 Indianapolis 500. The company has leveraged its involvement by entertaining well over 110,000 associates and customers over the past 14 racing seasons. This weekend the company will entertain over 160 guests.
ABC Supply account Richmond Exteriors, Inc., located in Indianapolis, will be featured on the engine cover of the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet. Guests will receive the VIP treatment this weekend along with a Meet and Greet with Tony Kanaan.
L&W account Robert D. Young Construction, Inc., based in Indianapolis, won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest. The company name will be on the engine cover of the No. 4 ABC Supply Chevrolet. Guests will receive the VIP treatment plus a Meet and Greet with Matheus “Matt” Leist.
The INDYCAR Grand Prix will be televised live on NBC on Saturday, May 11, starting at 3:00 PM ET. Qualifying will be broadcast live on NBCSN on Friday starting at 4:30 PM ET. All of the practices will be available on NBC’s subscription-based service, INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold at https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/indycar. Also available on INDYCAR Radio: Sirius 113, XM 209, IndyCar.com, INDYCAR Mobile app, network affiliates (live).