Takuma Sato talks about his success in winning his first race in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 52 starts since he left F1. He is joined by his team's managing director Larry Foyt, son of the motor racing legend AJ Foyt.
We will now bring up our race winner Takuma Sato, as well as the team's managing director, Larry Foyt.
This is Takuma Sato's first win in the IndyCar Series. It comes in his 52nd start in the series. He's also the first Japanese driver to win in IndyCar. His best finish here at Long Beach was eighth in 2012.
Takuma, talk about today's race, getting your first win.
I mean, first of all thanking to everyone for support. It's fantastic day. I mean, tremendous work from the team the whole winter. The first two races we show it's great performance. Unfortunately we had little issues during the race. Not many people noticed that. But I think we show the good speed.
I mean, today, this weekend, there was no mistake, nothing. And the qualify performance from the team, working with the boys and the engineers, and today was just perfect. The car was so fun to drive. I could manage both sets of tires, black and red, working on the way to us. The restarts, I had to be really cautious, especially the last one. But then we get our way with that. A couple of the restarts was very good. I had to push so hard because I had the black tire, all surrounding me had the alternate tire. I knew from last year the black tire was a little risky, but it could work really well if you can hanging on to the top three, which we did.
We overtook Ryan. It was fantastic. The whole podium was completely with Honda engine. Was very, very, very happy. Today Larry called the pits perfect, and the boys did a perfect job. No mistake at all. I'm just really proud of the day for AJ Foyt Racing. This is just a tremendous start for us.
Larry, congratulations on bringing the team back to Victory Lane after an 11-year absence. Talk about today's race, the strategy, and the chemistry you're seeing between the team and Takuma.
It was really kind of immediate when Takuma came in. We knew he was fast. Until you really know somebody, you don't know how you're going to work together and how it's going to be. It was great our first working relationship was a seven-day Caribbean cruise. We've been good friends ever since.
It was great. I really think between our chief engineer Don Halliday and Takuma, there was a lot of trust there, which you have to have. It's been great. Like Takuma said, the speed has been there. Little issues can always bite you. Our junior engineer kept telling us, We don't have to be the biggest team to win. There can be positives to being a smaller team and a tight-knit group.
I think as you saw when we got the checkered flag, the excitement of the whole team. So much hard work over the winter. It's a super group of guys with a super sponsor and it just all works.
We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Has anyone talked to AJ yet? If so, what did he say?