Continued from page 2

“I’m surprised at what a smart racer he is. Everyone knew he was fast,” Larry Foyt said. “The Long Beach race, he drove so perfect. He did everything perfect in the pits and we’re all just getting along so well.”

Sato was the second-fastest Honda driver heading into Friday’s practice, posting a fast lap of 223.660 mph. That number will certainly climb as drivers are given an additional boost of roughly 40 horsepower in this weekend’s qualifying. Chevrolet has dominated the speed charts all week, as they did a year ago, though the Honda engines were better on race day.

If that happens again May 26, Sato could give his fans another reason to celebrate.

“We come here with a clean sheet of paper,” he said. “I was so close last year. Knowing that now how to get there, what you need there, so it’s been a tremendous experience. Hopefully, I can translate it to, you know, translating to this year’s performance. Hopefully we’ll be smiling after that.”