IndyCar »

Hawksworth 'quite excited' by front row start in fourth race

Jack Hawksworth made his Verizon IndyCar Series début less than two months ago, and on Saturday he'll be on the front for for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
Perhaps it should be no surprise that the 2012 Star Mazda champion should be fast in his rookie season in the Verizon IndyCar Series, but even so no one was expecting Jack Hawksworth to be lining up on the front row of the grid in only his fourth outing.

"I'm actually quite excited," said the 23-year-old from Bradford in a classic case of understatement. "I think the car is very good. We have a clear track ahead. If we can get Saavedra at the first corner, we'll try and pull away, see what we can do."

Admittedly, Hawksworth was helped in consolidating his second place in qualifying by the appearance of the red flag that came out toward the end of round 3 for Ryan Hunter-Reay aquaplaning into the wall at turn 14.

"I think everybody had a lot more on the table," agreed Hawksworth. "I think the fastest lap was going to be on the last lap. Everybody was pretty quick."

As for the achievement of the Bryan Herta Autosport team seeing off the challenge of far bigger rivals, Hawksworth said that their single-car status could be as much of a help as a drawback in practice.

"I think it has its pros and cons. In some ways it's good, get through the politics," he suggested. "To be honest, I'm working very well with the team. They're giving me what I want. I think I'm able to kind of lead them in the right direction with the car, as well.

"I'm not too worried about not having a teammate. I kind of like it," he said, adding that the presence of team co-owner Bryan Herta made a big difference to what the team was able to do. "Bryan is awesome. He's experienced. He's got the T-shirt, been there, won races. Always good to bounce ideas off him. He's always there giving advice to myself on driving. Also he understands the feelings which perhaps sometimes I have with the car. He can relate to that. Yeah, it's a good relationship. It really helps for sure."

Qualifying proved less successful for Hawksworth's fellow Britons Justin Wilson, Martin Plowman and Mike Conway, none of whom survived their first round elimination groups.

“The car felt pretty good although there was a bit of an issue with the brakes,” said Wilson, who will be starting his 100th IndyCar Series race from 18th place on the grid on Saturday. "A different wheel every brake zone would lock up, so it was constantly changing every lap. It was difficult to keep up with what was happening and I couldn't quite push the brake zones all the way to the limit. But we will just keep working and see what happens tomorrow.”

“The balance of the car was good, so I'm disappointed to get knocked out,” he admitted. "But obviously we just need to do an even better job. The car felt nice, so I am not sure how much we gave up with the braking issue. It is going to make for an interesting race. I'm going to be coming up from the back and aiming to be up front."

As for Plowman, 20th place was probably as good as he could have hoped for in his first IndyCar race since 2011 in Baltimore, and in some of the trickiest conditions the series can face.

"Overall I think to be right on pace with [AJ Foyt Racing team mate] Takuma [Sato] with no experience is not a bad result, but of course we would both like to be further up the field," he said. "I think if we put together all of the small details, we could have been in the top 12, but we'll save that for tomorrow when it really matters.

"It was a fun but tough first qualifying for us as it was the first time that I've used the Firestone red tyres, so I didn't have any time to learn what the limit was of these tyres," Plowman added "I felt like we missed the balance of the car a little bit, which hurt me by a couple of tenths."

The most disappointed Brit in the paddock was undoubtedly Mike Conway, who after his win for Ed Carpenter Racing at Long Beach has been struggling to find anything like a competitive pace in either qualifying or race trim. He'll start this weekend's race from 24th place on the grid after another disappointing day at the office at Indianapolis.

"It was a tough day for us. We are struggling to get the grip level right now. We thought we had some things figured out at the test, but it didn't work out," he admitted. "We did improve the car from yesterday, but we have been behind and it's tough trying to catch up.

"I think we could have used a dry session [Friday] morning to help make the car a little better, but it didn't work out that way," he sighed. "The conditions today were changing all of the time. We still have some work to do for the race. We'll sit down and go over the data tonight and see what direction will be best for the race.

"With no warm-up on Saturday, I think a lot of people will have some unknowns entering the race," he added.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Martin Plowman at work during the open test on the new road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday, April 30 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth crossing the yard of bricks (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Jack Hawksworth in action at Indianapolis (Photo by: Walter Kuhn for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway and Team Owner Ed Carpenter celebrate victory in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway on his way to victory in the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway jumps for joy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway with the winner`s flag after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway receives the winner`s trophy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrates with the Ed Carpenter Racing team after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrates after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway celebrates victory in the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Eric Anderson for IndyCar Media)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.