FORT WORTH, Texas – Takuma Sato, last year’s NTT IndyCar Series polesitter at Texas Motor Speedway, crashed on his warmup lap during qualifying Saturday afternoon.
The driver from Tokyo was finishing his warmup lap when the backend of his Honda snapped loose in turn one and smacked the wall.
“It was a big moment,” Sato said afterwards. “It was only the warmup lap and I lost the back end. Usually, it doesn’t happen like that. It caught me by a big surprise. Hopefully, we can fix it and get it done in time for the race.”
There has been speculation that drivers are having issues in the area of the track where a traction compound was added for NASCAR’s return in July. Sato said that wasn’t his issue.
“Visually, it’s different, but we don’t use that line,” Sato said. “In the race, maybe. But I don’t think I hit it.”
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing are evaluating their options as they determine if they have enough time to fix Sato’s car before the 8 p.m. E.T. race or prepare Sato’s backup, a road course car.
“We should have a backup car, but I have to go back to the team and find out,” said Sato, the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 in 2017.
Sato was the sixth-fastest driver in Saturday’s only practice session. His fast lap was 213.829 mph around the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway.