A.J. Foyt Racing
The cast: Driver – Takuma Sato. Chief engineer – Don Halliday. Race strategists – Larry Foyt and A.J. Foyt
Twitter: @TakumaSatoRacer, @AJFoytRacing
The car: Honda-powered No. 14
Snapshot: ABC Supply Co., primary sponsor of the No. 14 car, is the largest wholesale distributor of roofing in the United States and one of the nation's largest distributors of siding, windows and other select exterior building products, tools and related supplies. Based in Wisconsin, it also will be the entitlement sponsor of the Milwaukee race in August. … Sato, of Tokyo, won several national cycling championships in Japan and keeps a strict cycling regimen as part of his training. ... Sato competed in Formula One before moving to the IndyCar Series in 2010.
The stats: Sato became the first Japanese driver to win an IndyCar Series race when he led 50 of the 80 laps at Long Beach. He added a runner-up finish two weeks later in Brazil, advancing 10 positions. Overall, Sato recorded four top 10s, with an average finish of 16.0. … He earned the pole for Houston 1 and qualified for the Firestone Fast Six at two other races (including the opener at St. Petersburg, where he started second). Through the 19 races, he had an average starting position of 12.6. … He led four races for a total of 187 laps (seventh overall) and placed 17th in the championship standings.
The gist: Sato’s victory at Long Beach last April was the first for A.J. Foyt Racing since July 7, 2002, when Airton Dare prevailed at Kansas Speedway. … Sato’s earned pole start on the Houston street circuit (near the team headquarters) was the first for the Foyt team since July 1999 by Billy Boat at Atlanta Motor Speedway. … Sato started the 2013 season strong -- leading the championship standings heading to the Indianapolis 500. The second half of the season was disappointing. … Martin Plowman, who co-drove to the 2013 World Endurance Championship title and the 24 Ho0urs of Le Mans victory in LMP2, will drive the No. 41 car prepared by A.J. Foyt Racing in the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 10 and make his Indianapolis 500 debut on May 25.
He said it: “I think this year obviously trying to be competitive on as many circuits as possible and try to keep up all the points. That’s our target. We know we can win races. Obviously it’s going to be competitive. As an organization, we can win races. We learned a lot. It’s continually working. From first year to second year, it’s always better. I’m definitely looking forward to coming to the second season for A.J. Foyt Racing.
“It has been very successful winter. We tried many different things that we couldn’t do during season in terms of test items. Not always is come out as what we wanted, but it's all about learning. We’ve gained good experience over the winter.”