Saturday, October 5, 2013

No. 14 is P1 in IndyCar's return to Houston - Takuma Sato scores pole for AJ Foyt

Takuma Sato
Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs
The Grand Prix of Houston's return to Space City has been a bumpy ride - literally.

The double-header IZOD IndyCar race is being run on the interior roads of Reliant Park, which houses the iconic Astrodome and Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans. It's been a long, dry summer on the Texas Gulf Coast and the pavement has paid the price. Even for normal traffic, it's kind of like driving a pile of concrete blocks. For the low-profile Indy cars, it's more like driving on ramps. Qualifying runs wee shortened to prevent the delicate machines from sustaining too much pre-race damage. 

But Takuma Sato managed to navigate the temporary street course quite well, giving the famous No. 14 the Sonax P1 award. For AJ Foyt Racing, it's the first pole  since Billy Boat scored one in 1999.

Foyt's back at the track for the first time since his hip replacement surgery, so the pole win is extra sweet. 

"It’s great to be in your hometown and win the pole, so I’m real happy and real thrilled. Just as long as we finish up first," said Foyt. 

Will Power sits on the outside pole, a feat with which he was pleased considering the condition of the track and the reduced qualifying time. He referred the the "teething pains" of the new venue, but said that he likes the track.

Rounding out the top five are Scott Dixon, Sebastien Bourdais, and Simon Pagenaud.

Sato's pole-winning speed was 97.305 mph. In Houston, that's called driving like AJ Foyt.


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