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2014 Standings
After Pocono
Driver Standings

1 Will Power 446
2 Helio Castroneves 446
3 Simon Pagenaud 402
4 Juan Pablo Montoya 391
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay 388
6 Carlos Munoz (R) 340
7 Marco Andretti 325
8 Scott Dixon 297
9 Ryan Briscoe 285
10 Sebastien Bourdais 271
11 Tony Kanaan 267
12 James Hinchcliffe 266
13 Mikhail Aleshin 263
14 Justin Wilson 253
15 Charlie Kimball 239
16 Jack Hawksworth 227
17 Carlos Huertas (R) 224
18 Josef Newgarden 220
19 Graham Rahal 202
20 Sebastian Saavedra 196
21 Takuma Sato 189
22 Mike Conway 152
23 Ed Carpenter 138
24 Oriol Servia 88
25 Kurt Busch (R) 80
26 JR Hildebrand 66
27 Sage Karam (R) 57
28 James Davison (R) 34
29 Jacques Villeneuve 29
30 Alex Tagliani 28
31 Luca Filippi 24
32 Townsend Bell 22
33 Pippa Mann 21
34 Martin Plowman (R) 18
35 Buddy Lazier 11
36 Franck Montagny 8

Rookie of the Year
1 Carlos Munoz 340
2 Mikhail Aleshin 263
3 Jack Hawksworth 217
4 Carlos Huertas 204
5 Kurt Busch 80
6 Sage Karam 57
7 James Davison 34
8 Martin Plowman 18

T1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 2
T1 Will Power 2
T1 Simon Pagenaud 2
T4 Mike Conway 1
T4 Helio Castroneves 1
T4 Carlos Huertas 1
T4 Ed Carpenter 1
T4 Juan Pablo Montoya 1

Podium Finishes
T1 Will Power 5
T1 Helio Castroneves 5
2 Ryan Hunter-Reay 4
T3 Carlos Munoz 3
T3 Juan Pablo Montoya 3
T6 Marco Andretti 2
T6 Simon Pagenaud 2
T8 Mike Conway 1
T8 Carlos Huertas 1
T8 Scott Dixon 1
T8 Tony Kanaan 1
T8 Graham Rahal 1
T8 Charlie Kimball 1
T8 Ed Carpenter 1
T8 Jack Hawksworth 1
T8 Mikhail Aleshin 1

Lap Leaders:
1 Will Power 348
2 Helio Castroneves 174
3 Ryan Hunter-Reay 165
4 Ed Carpenter 116
5 Tony Kanaan 79
6 Juan Pablo Montoya 74
7 Takuma Sato 67
8 James Hinchcliffe 56
9 Simon Pagenaud 53
10 Jack Hawksworth 32
11 Scott Dixon 27
12 Marco Andretti 22
13 Justin Wilson 20
14 Sebastian Saavedra 14
15 Graham Rahal 10
16 Mike Conway 8
17 Josef Newgarden 8
T18 Oriol Servia 7
T18 Carlos Huertas 7
19 Ryan Briscoe 5
20 Mikhail Aleshin 4
21 Alex Tagliani 3
22 Sebastien Bourdais 2

Entrant Points
Pos. # Entrant Points
1 12 Team Penske 446
2 3 Team Penske 446
3 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports 402
4 2 Team Penske 391
5 28 Andretti Autosport 388
6 34 Andretti Autosport/HVM 340
7 25 Andretti Autosport 325
8 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 297
9 20 Ed Carpenter Racing 290
10 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing 285
11 11 KVSH Racing 271
12 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 267
13 27 Andretti Autosport 266
14 7 SMP Racing 263
15 19 Dale Coyne Racing 253
16 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing 239
17 98 BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian 227
18 18 Dale Coyne Racing 224
19 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 220
20 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 202
21 17 KV/AFS Racing 196
22 14 A.J. Foyt Racing 189
23 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 112
24 26 Andretti Autosport 88
25 21 Ed Carpenter Racing 66
26 22 Dreyer and Reinbold 57
27 33 KV Racing Technology 34
28 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 29
29 68 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 28
30 6 KV Racing Technology 22
31 63 Dale Coyne Racing 21
32 41 A.J. Foyt Racing 18
33 91 Lazier Partners Racing 11

Finishing Average
1 Helio Castroneves 5.81
2 Kurt Busch 6.00
3 Will Power 6.09
4 Simon Pagenaud 6.72
5 Sage Karam 9.00
6 J.R. Hildebrand 10.00
T7 Scott Dixon 10.18
T7 Carlos Munoz 10.18
9 Juan Pablo Montoya 10.45
10 Ryan Hunter-Reay 10.72
11 Ryan Briscoe 11.75
12 Marco Andretti 12.125
13 Carlos Munoz 12.375
T14 Oriol Servia 12.5
T14 Justin Wilson 12.5
16 Alex Tagliani 13.0
17 Sebastien Bourdais 13.25
18 Charlie Kimball 13.625
19 Mike Conway 13.66
T20 Jacques Villeneuve 14.0
T20 Ed Carpenter 14.0
22 Carlos Huertas 14.25
23 Mikhail Aleshin 14.875
24 James Hinchcliffe 15.125
T25 Takuma Sato 15.5
T25 Jack Hawksworth 15.5
27 Sebastian Saavedra 15.75
28 James Davison 16.00
29 Josef Newgarden 16.375
30 Graham Rahal 16.625
31 Martin Plowman 20.5
32 Franck Montagny 22.0
33 Pippa Mann 24.0
34 Townsend Bell 25.0
35 Buddy Lazier 32.0

Pole Positions
T1 Takuma Sato 2
T1 Will Power 2
T1 Helio Castroneves 2
T4 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1
T4 Sebastian Saavedra 1
T4 Ed Carpenter 1
T4 Simon Pagenaud 1
T4 Juan Pablo Montoya 1

Appearances in the Firestone Fast Six
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 4
T2 Scott Dixon 3
T2 Will Power 3
T2 James Hinchcliffe 3
T2 Helio Castroneves 3
T2 Jack Hawksworth 3
T7 Simon Pagenaud 2
T7 Josef Newgarden 2
T9 Takuma Sato 1
T9 Marco Andretti 1
T9 Sebastien Bourdais 1
T9 Tony Kanaan 1
T9 Sebastian Saavedra 1
T9 Mike Conway 1
T9 Juan Pablo Montoya 1
T9 Ryan Briscoe 1
Takuma Sato talks oval track racing

Ex-F1 driver
Thursday, June 06, 2013


Takuma Sato
Joining A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply Racing team this year, Takuma Sato’s first sponsor ‘obligation’ was a seven-day cruise in the Caribbean aboard Holland-America’s ‘Eurodam’ which ABC Supply chartered in January. While at sea, the ex-Formula 1 driver sat down for an interview that covered a wide range of topics. We found his thoughts on oval track racing insightful and appropriate to share now as we head to Texas Motor Speedway, the only 1.5-mile banked superspeedway on the IZOD IndyCar schedule.

Sato’s first experience with ovals was the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway in 2010. That year he ran four 1.5-mile tracks: Kansas, Texas, Chicago, Miami-Homestead, three of which are no longer part of the IndyCar Series. The Firestone 550 at TMS will be Sato’s 22nd IndyCar race on an oval track. In his six starts this year, he has one victory (Long Beach Grand Prix), a 2nd place finish in Brazil and another top-10 in St. Petersburg. He is currently sixth in the standings.

How big was the adjustment for you to drive on oval tracks?
“I went with a clean sheet of paper; there were tons of things I had to learn and things I would have to adapt to for oval track racing. Not hugely different because at the end of the day you still have to work with four tires and make the most of it. It’s a different kind of driving, going into the corners, especially if you follow someone, the way you position yourself is extremely delicate for the airflow. Then you have to time it right to get back on the gas because you’re traveling at such high speeds--over 200mph. The car doesn’t really accelerate well at speed even with massive power because we’re hitting terminal velocity with the air. The car accelerates really slowly which is why when you lift a little bit, you decelerate so much that it takes a long time to get back up to speed… in some cases it needs a lap.

“In a normal road course, from corner to corner you accelerate from second gear to top gear within seconds then braking into the next corner, but on the oval you don’t do that. You just try to keep a good momentum and be positioned where you need to be in traffic; it’s important to work a very fine line for the air rather than the ultimate racing line. Then you’re talking about balance for the understeer and oversteer. The real oversteer is never going to work on an oval because you just can’t have it—you don’t counter-steer on ovals. Well, occasionally you might have to because you need to catch it. On the road course there are a lot of corrections, so the driver wants a neutral car (not too much over or understeer) so you have your own reference. When you go to the oval, that reference has to be shifted quite a lot because having real actual oversteer on an oval is impossible, I mean it’s a nightmare. It’s a little scary but more importantly, you don’t go fast at all. You scrub too much speed—and that is happening when you have understeer too.  Everything has to be traction. People easily misunderstand that. For example if you want to go fast, you usually reduce the downforce to take off the drag, but if you take off too much drag, you go slow because you start to slide. It’s all about the balance and it’s just a real fine line. That’s the thing in IndyCar on oval that is so great--and so difficult!

“With the ovals, there is more weight on the engineering but it’s great because usually on the road course you have to find the good trade-off point; you’ll never be perfect in individual corners because we have 10-15 different corners so it’s a compromise. But with the oval there is almost no compromise. You have to be perfect-well not perfect--but closer to perfect. Because the speed range between corners is similar, you can target very specifically how the car is working aerodynamically. You don’t have to cover from  a 40mph hairpin to a 150mph corner—the oval has only two corners or four corners in a lap and the speed range is 170-210mph plus you only turn left! You play with the anti-roll bars front and rear, and the weight-jacker to move around which corner (tire) you want to work hard for adjusting the balance of the car. And you’re doing it constantly because the car is changing all the time with the tire wear, changing track conditions and you’re using the fuel, so the balance is changing--very lightly but it’s changing all the time. Since the car needs to be near perfect on the oval, the driver has to adjust it quite a lot, which is good fun.”

Your first oval race was in Kansas, was there a lot of side-by-side racing?
“There was quite a lot, it was great but it was such a windy day, you couldn’t go flat all the time so you had to actually drive it hard. But the car worked really well…I qualified 11th but nearly went to the very end of a cue in a few laps because I wasn’t used to it and didn’t know what to do. But I moved up quite quickly and I started to get the taste of the feeling of oval racing. It was amazing because the speed was so fast and the sensation of going through the banking was great by yourself, but when you were racing with other drivers in a pack, it was just so different. You had to figure out how to set up to go into the corner because depending on your position, you get so many different feelings because of the turbulence so I had to learn and just figure out how to do it.”

Did you do that in practice?
“I did a little bit, but not a lot. It was really in the race but it was good, really good—I enjoyed it. I think the car was good and my engineer Garrett gave me a car that was not very much an oval car because with a special oval setup, the car tends to turn in by itself but that means the driver has to know how to drive the car with experience. Because I didn’t have the experience, he set up the car so that I really needed to turn in like I was driving on a road course going into a high speed corner. So it wasn’t necessarily the quickest physically (optimal setup) but it was a great way for me to learn how to race on an oval and how the car is working on an oval. So KV Racing was a perfect team for me to learn the whole process. I actually enjoyed my first oval race which is very important.”

A.J. Foyt said he rarely had a race when he didn’t ‘thrill the hell out of himself’. Do you feel fear in a race car?
“Yes, of course, all the time. You’re traveling too fast! (laughs) As a human being I do, but at the same time, it’s great excitement too. And the excitement and determination always overcomes the fear that is part of racing. Usually when you feel fear, it’s that time when you cannot see the future. Now it sounds strange, but what I’m trying to say is that people feel fear because they don’t know what’s going on. If you know the future, you’re not scared because you can prepare. If you have the car under control, and you are controlling the car really well, you don’t feel fear even if you’re sliding at over 200mph because you know you can control it or catch it. But if you’re not happy with the car balance, then you don’t know what’s going on, and you feel really bad. Or if it is raining, and you can’t see because of the water splashing, then you feel fear a lot. That’s why if you’re comfortable, you really enjoy the racing. You have to be comfortable. But at same time, physically, you know how fast you’re traveling, and the energy of this is so big, that yes, I do feel fear.”

What do you love most about racing?
“Winning…and being fast.”

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