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Driver Start Finish Rank
Sato 15 14 17th
Hawksworth 17 18 20th

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Race Report: Firestone 600 – Part 2

FORT WORTH Aug. 27, 2016—The Firestone 600 resumed tonight and did not disappoint the fans who returned to see the final 177 laps postponed by rain in June. The Verizon IndyCar Series lived up to its reputation of action-packed racing topped off by a thrilling finish which saw Graham Rahal edge out James Hinchcliffe to win by eight-thousandths of a second. It was the only lap Rahal led in the race and stands as the closest finish in the track’s 20-year history.

A.J. Foyt’s team had one of its worse nights of the season which started in practice with a suspension failure on Takuma Sato’s No. 14 ABC Supply Honda. Sato hit the wall but fortunately he was able to walk away. The crew turned in a heroic effort to fix the car which sustained damage to both the front and right rear suspensions.

With the short turn-around time (less than 2.5 hours), the effort put forth by both crews set the stage for a Cinderella story. Unfortunately it was not to be. Sato started 17th and a lap down due to what happened in the first 71 laps in June. At the restart of the race he had an electrical problem which cost him another lap. That got sorted but about halfway through the race, he lost radio communication. The team eventually fixed that problem but he lost quite a few laps in the process. Since the car didn’t feel quite right to him, the team decided to retire the car after 160 laps. He was credited with 20th.

“Tough night,” Sato said. “We had a component failure in practice and just got one lap. The ABC boys did a great job to put it back together in such a short time. We had a few too many issues in the race. We just weren't sure what was wrong [with the car]. We didn't want to risk it, so we are just going to get ready for the next race."

Jack Hawksworth, who started the race two laps down, was not able to get back on the lead lap (no wave arounds) although he did have some spirited runs throughout the race. He had radioed his race strategist George Klotz that he was going to take it easy for the final stint of 18 laps (following two wrecks in the previous 20 laps) since he couldn’t race anyone for position.

Unfortunately, Mikhail Aleshin had contact with another car and spun coming off turn 4 in front of Hawksworth. Hawksworth tried to avoid Aleshin by going high but Aleshin’s car came across the track and collected Hawksworth with both cars hitting the outside wall. Hawksworth limped from the car but was checked out in the infield care center and released. He was credited with 17th.

"We had a pretty decent car which was good but we started two laps down because of all that happened here last time,” Hawksworth said. “Disappointing. On another day where we started on the lead lap we would have had a strong result. [On the accident] I think Gabby (Chaves) and (Mikhail) Aleshin got together and then Aleshin just spun. It was right in front of me so I had nowhere to go. I’m fine – I banged my leg on the side of the tub and it gave me a bit of a dead leg initially. I’m fine though.”

Rounding out the top five at the finish were Tony Kanaan, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves. The next race for the Verizon IndyCar Series is the IndyCar Grand Prix at the Glen next Sunday at Watkins Glen International. It will be broadcast live by NBC Sports Network starting at 2 pm ET.