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

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Notes & Quotes: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Takuma Sato: No. 14 ABC Supply Honda

Jack Hawksworth: No. 41 ABC Supply Honda

This race will be Takuma Sato’s 105th start and Jack Hawksworth’s 36th start in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Driving for Foyt, Sato won this event in 2013 to become the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar race.


Long Beach circuit: “Long Beach is always a special place for me. I simply love the venue, atmosphere, great restaurants, enthusiastic fans, and of course, I enjoy driving the track so much—it holds an incredible memory for me. So I am looking forward to going back there very much.”

How the off-season changes to the aero kit will affect how he drives there: “There shouldn’t be much difference but if anything, it would be to go faster! The aero kit gives us the consistency we need and with good performance from the engine, we should be faster. Still, to optimize the set-up is not an easy task but we had a productive winter test and the opening race was good so I expect that we will be competitive.”

Whether car will be as strong as it was at St. Pete: “Yes I believe so. The characteristics between the two tracks are not hugely different, I mean there are differences but at the end of the day they’re in the same street course category so we know what we need to apply for that. However, the new package could be extra work and we still need to go on the journey of finding a sweet spot in the car set-up. But again, as were very competitive at St. Pete, I can’t wait get back in the car at Long Beach.”

Key factor to success at Long Beach: “Long beach is a low grip track and it has the tightest hairpin in the series and a bumpier surface than St. Pete so it needs more force for the mechanical grip than the opening round. Also we will use a much lower downforce setting in order to reduce drag for the long straight and have more chance to overtake. So the key is finding the balance with the right level of downforce but you need to keep a good amount of downforce for the tires to stay in a good working range.”

What he learned from testing at Indianapolis this week: “It was a cold day with gusty winds. We shook down our “Indy” Car and it was important check everything functioned well. Also the main purpose of that test was an experiment for the safety aero configuration using the domed skid which requires quite a different ride height and we collected valuable data for the league. Because of the weather conditions, we were able to run only a very short time and we were very limited in what we could do, but it was still nice to be back at IMS. I am really looking forward to coming back in May.”


Long Beach Grand Prix: “I love this event, it is probably my favorite alongside Toronto. The track is technical and has a fantastic flow to it, putting the car on the edge here really is a lot of fun. On top of this the weather is usually great and California is a fantastic location for such an historic race.”

What he will look for in his Track Walk on Thursday: “Small changes to the track, mainly changes to the curbing and walls. I doubt there will be too much to look at during the track walk though as this track usually stays pretty consistent and we will have already done our homework prior to arriving on Thursday.”

Why he’s excited to get back on the streets: “We were very strong at St. Petersburg but shot ourselves in the foot a little bit during qualifying. I expect that our St Petersburg form will carry over to Long Beach, in fact, I believe we should be stronger than we were in St. Pete. It will just be a case of executing when it matters this weekend.”

What he learned from racing at St. Pete that can help at Long Beach: “We confirmed that the work the whole ABC Supply team had done over the winter was good in St. Petersburg and we will carry that philosophy over to Long Beach. There are a couple of key areas that cost us during qualifying at St. Pete, we have analyzed it and addressed it moving into Long Beach. All of the ingredients are there, now we need to execute and go get some big results, there can be no excuses. This starts in Long Beach and I can't wait.”

Practice Report: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. April 15—The ABC Supply Hondas of Jack Hawksworth and Takuma Sato rolled off the truck to post the third and fifth quickest times in the opening practice for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

In practice 1, Hawksworth clocked a lap of 1 minute, 8.48 seconds while Sato wasn’t far behind with a time of 1 minute, 8.70 seconds. Juan Pablo Montoya was quickest with a lap of 1 minute, 8.12 seconds.

In practice 2, Hawksworth and Sato were a further bit down the chart as they explored some different settings on their ABC Supply Hondas. Hawksworth was ninth quick with his lap time of 1 minute, 8.11 seconds and Sato posted a time of 1 minute, 8.18 seconds.

“In the first session we didn’t really get to try anything because there were a lot of red flags and we had a small issue with brakes at the beginning,” Hawksworth said. “In the second session, we did get through the things we needed to and learned a couple things which were positives. I’m really happy with the car, it feels really connected around here and I feel I understand what it’s doing. The pace is very good. We’re not as fast as we were in the first practice but the pace in the first practice isn’t a fair reflection. I think tomorrow we’ll be at the front and we’ll be in good shape.”

“The session went well,” Sato said. “We had a couple of experimental test items that we wanted to try and we collected very valuable data. Of course it’s very nice to be back in Long Beach—typical California where the fans are very enthusiastic and we have a lot of fans flying in from Japan so that’s great. Now that we have the data, tomorrow we will be stronger.”

Will Power posted the quickest lap time of the day with a 1 minute, 7.59 second lap. There will be one more practice session in the morning before tomorrow afternoon’s qualifying session.


Qualifying Report: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Two different directions and two different results can sometimes be the bane of a two-car team. It was the case for the ABC Supply team today in qualifying. However, they found out definitively what worked and what didn’t.

Takuma Sato’s team made the right calls as the 2013 Long Beach winner made the biggest gain from morning practice where he was 16th to qualify eighth. Sato was the second quickest Honda, being eclipsed by seventh starting James Hinchcliffe by just seven hundredths of a second. The session was made more difficult as the timing and scoring data wasn’t available to the teams during the session due to a malfunctioning timing beacon. Teams had to wait until officials sorted through the data to figure out positions five minutes after the session had ended.

"I think we should be happy with the result under the circumstances,” said Sato, who posted a quick time of 1 minute, 7.22 seconds. “We had difficulty in this morning's practice but in qualifying we caught up to the quickest Hondas. It was a shame it was a couple tenths down from the top six especially because we had a little confusion in the second segment when we didn't have any lap times for reference. So I needed to keep pushing and I feel I lost a little bit cause I caught up to the car ahead of me and had to lift on my final lap which was my fastest lap. But I think the ABC Supply team and engineering did a great job to make the car faster. After practice we went through all the data and came up with a different philosophy on the setup. I'm very proud of them. We'll aim to have a clean and strong race tomorrow."

Hawksworth’s team, in an attempt to better their performance which had been 11th or better during the weekend, made some changes that didn’t work as well as intended.  Hawksworth posted a lap time of 1 minute, 7.99 seconds, and will start 20th. He said, "It was a disappointing qualifying for us. We struggled for grip and didn't really have any bite. Obviously we were more competitive in practice so we have to figure out what went on and come back and recover tomorrow."

The Firestone Fast Six was comprised of Chevrolet-powered teams with Helio Castroneves winning the pole with a lap time of 1 minute, 7.12 seconds. Second through fifth were Scott Dixon, Simon Pagenaud, Tony Kanaan, and Juan Pablo Montoya. Teammate Will Power lost his two fastest laps (which would have put him on pole) when he brought out a red flag and will start sixth.

There will be a morning warmup for teams to finalize their race setups. The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network starting at 4 p.m. ET.


Race Report: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. April 17, 2016—Elation and heartbreak. That was the saga in both of the ABC Supply pits today. Takuma Sato drove a great race and the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda team did a tremendous job in the pits as Sato claimed his first top-five of the season in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Starting eighth, Sato bided his time for the first two-thirds of the race, saving fuel as his pit strategy called for just two stops in the 80-lap race. Terrific pit work on both stops saw Sato either maintain his position of eighth as he did in the first stop, or better his position as he did in the final stop coming out in sixth ahead of Will Power and James Hinchcliffe. With 23 laps to go, he then made a brilliant pass on Tony Kanaan for fifth. In the final 10 laps, he challenged Juan Pablo Montoya for fourth.

"We're very pleased about today's result,” Sato said afterwards. “Considering where we were in practice, we had such a strong comeback to qualify eighth. With no cautions in the race, we had to save fuel from lap 2 which was a tough game. But we kept cool –there was no margin for error--and it was just a matter of who could do the best job. When I needed to, I pushed like hell. Passing Tony Kanaan and challenging Juan Pablo Montoya for fourth, that was a thrill. The team did a fantastic job in the pits and got me out so I could push so hard. There was a good strategy and the car worked really well.  It was a great accomplishment for the team.  We're very pleased."

Jack Hawksworth, who started 20th, was trying an alternate pit strategy—pitting early and hoping for a yellow that never came in the caution-free race. It may have been for naught anyway because they never did find the sweet spot on the No. 41 car and Hawksworth struggled throughout the race. He finished 21st.

“Obviously a really hard day,” said the dejected driver afterwards. “Nothing makes any sense because we rolled out very quick but, similar to St Pete, the car wasn’t drivable in the race. I think we may have a fundamental problem in the car somewhere so we need to investigate that and start again at Barber. We were fast there when we tested the other week so we know we have a good setup. It’s just a matter of getting the fundamentals right. Pretty heartbreaking day for us but glad that the 14 had a good run.”

Simon Pagenaud won the race while Scott Dixon finished second. Pole winner Helio Castroneves was third followed by Montoya. Sato was the first Honda-powered car. He is currently sixth in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings.

The teams head to Barber Motorsports Park for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama which will be televised April 24th, Sunday afternoon on the NBC Sports Network.