Skip to content

Sato seeks momentum rebound in Milwaukee

Jun 13, 2013, 11:30 AM EDT

Firestone 550 - Practice Getty Images

It was about as good a start to a new relationship as was possible. Takuma Sato’s first four races with A.J. Foyt Racing yielded his first career win (Long Beach) and the team’s first since 2002, a second podium at Brazil albeit one where he lost the lead in the last turn, two Firestone Fast Six appearances and the points lead.

Then the month of May happened, and Sato’s fortunes in the IZOD IndyCar Series have changed.

A nondescript Indianapolis 500 saw Sato unable to repeat the heroics of a year ago, when his famous passing attempt for the win on Dario Franchitti ended against the Turn 1 wall. He finished an unlucky 13th, at least managing to recover from a spin early in the race. Then he was taken out in back-to-back races in Detroit, and fought his car to 11th at Texas.

The poor string of results has dropped Sato to a tie for fifth in the points standings, now 65 behind championship leader Helio Castroneves. It has not, however, dampened his confidence.

“We all wish we could have had a better last few races, but unfortunately we had some unlucky situations where we couldn’t achieve them,” Sato said at a lunch Wednesday ahead of this week’s Milwaukee IndyFest. “We do have a good package and need to be able to catch up. Hopefully we can now achieve the second win.”

It’s a big weekend for Sato from three standpoints at the tricky Milwaukee Mile. He needs a result, the team’s setup at this track has been off slightly in years past (Paul Tracy hung on for dear life in 2009), and it’s the home race for Foyt’s primary sponsor ABC Supply Co. Some 900 guests of the company are expected on race day.

Sato relates the challenge of driving the track first, as it’s so unique on the calendar.

“It’s an oval, but it’s pretty much a high speed road course and with no banking support!” he said. “Well some, but almost zero. We’re not going very fast here because of the road course package. For the drivers, it’s a great challenge. You actually have to drive a lot, wall-to-wall. You feel the cars sliding, and sometimes need the brakes. It’s a great challenge.”

The driving is a challenge, but probably wasn’t as much of a challenge as handling drink orders on Wednesday night at the Miller Time Pub in downtown Milwaukee. Along with James Hinchcliffe, Ed Carpenter and NBC Sports Network’s Will Buxton, Sato served as a celebrity bartender for the assembled crowd. Tips were donations to Racing for Kids and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Latest Posts
  1. Ryan: Juan Pablo Montoya comes full circle at Indianapolis

    May 24, 2015, 7:47 PM EDT

    150524-Juan-Pablo-Montoya Getty Images

    In his second win at the Brickyard, the Team Penske driver delivered a performance that embodies his style.

  2. Rahal once again leads Honda’s charge, banking another top-five in Indy 500

    May 24, 2015, 7:24 PM EDT

    RahalIMSp5 Getty Images

    Once again in 2015, it’s Graham Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing best of Honda’s brigade.

  3. Dixon leads most laps in Indy 500, 84, but ends unrepresentative fourth

    May 24, 2015, 7:12 PM EDT

    DixonIMSStop Getty Images

    A good, but not great day, occurs for Indianapolis 500 polesitter Scott Dixon.

  4. Kimball seizes his opportunity, ends third in Indy 500

    May 24, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    CK*3 Getty Images

    Kimball drives from 14th to third, a career-best in the Indianapolis 500.

  5. Montoya’s Indy 500 win extends his IndyCar points lead

    May 24, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT

    150524-Montoya Getty Images

    Montoya extends IndyCar points lead after Indianapolis 500.

  6. Power: “Anywhere else I’d be happy with second. Here, it sucks”

    May 24, 2015, 5:11 PM EDT

    PowerP2 Getty Images

    Power does what he needs in the Indianapolis 500, but comes up short at the finish.

  7. Montoya rallies for second Indianapolis 500 victory (VIDEO)

    May 24, 2015, 3:38 PM EDT

    JPMmilk15 Getty Images

    Montoya completes comeback and wins Indianapolis 500.

  8. Williams endures a “race to forget” in Monaco

    May 24, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    (From L) Williams Martini Racing's Brazilian driver Felipe Massa, Lotus F1 Team's French driver  Romain Grosjean and  Williams Martini Racing's Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 24, 2015, during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / POOL / BORIS HORVAT        (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    For the first time since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix, Williams fails to score any points as Bottas and Massa struggle to P14 and P15.

  9. Verstappen “feeling fine” after heavy crash (VIDEO)

    May 24, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    Verstappen 245 Getty Images

    17-year-old crashes hard in the final stages of the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.

  10. Dale Coyne Racing crew member injured in frightening pit-lane crash (VIDEO)

    May 24, 2015, 2:28 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    Collision in the pits involves three Dale Coyne Racing cars.

  11. Castroneves leads Indy 500 at halfway mark under third round of pit stops

    May 24, 2015, 1:59 PM EDT

    Roger Penske, Helio Castroneves Roger Penske, Helio Castroneves

    Castroneves leads at Lap 100, but Indy 500 thus far dominated by Dixon, Kanaan and Pagenaud.

  12. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff apologizes to Hamilton

    May 24, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton drives at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 24, 2015, during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC        (Photo credit should read ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    An error on the pit wall cost Hamilton a near-certain victory in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.

  13. Hamilton: Impossible to express how I feel after Monaco defeat

    May 24, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team's British driver Lewis Hamilton reacts after taking third place  on the podium after the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix on May 24, 2015, at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo. AFP PHOTO / BORIS HORVAT        (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    British driver gutted to lose the Monaco Grand Prix following an error by Mercedes on the pit wall.

  14. Karam, Daly out before first lap complete after separate problems in Indy 500

    May 24, 2015, 12:46 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    Karam and Daly – two of America’s young hopes – out of Indy 500, while Sato, Briscoe and Tagliani also have issues.

  15. Perez hails “very important” result with P7 in Monaco

    May 24, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    Sahara Force India F1 Team's Mexican driver Sergio Perez  during the qualifying session at the Monaco street circuit in Monte-Carlo on May 23, 2015, ahead of the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE DESMAZES        (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Force India strikes back in Monaco with Perez finishing seventh.

  16. Vettel: Ferrari there when it mattered to cash in on Mercedes’ mistake

    May 24, 2015, 11:43 AM EDT

    MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 24:  Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari celebrates on the podium after finishing second during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 24, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images) Getty Images

    After running in third for the majority of the Monaco Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel managed to move up to second place thanks to Mercedes’ error with Hamilton in the pits.