Sato among the stars at Barber two-day test

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With a pair of top-five performances in two days, Takuma Sato and A.J. Foyt Racing were one of the top Honda runners over the two days of Verizon IndyCar Series testing at Barber Motorsports Park. He ended Tuesday and combined in fourth place.

One of the few full-season single-car teams in the series worked through a series of promising runs. Both in 2012 and 2013, albeit in warmer conditions in April for the race weekend, the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda has been a top-six qualifier at Barber (in 2013, a penalty knocked Sato from the Firestone Fast Six).

“It’s been a very productive two days,” he said post-Tuesday. “We’ve been unlucky in terms of the weather-it was wet in the morning so we didn’t run and the afternoon was cold so that won’t replicate for the race weekend. Nevertheless we did a lot of the test program that we wanted to do and saw how the car reacted. It was a very positive performance wise and the feedback. It’s been a good preparation and we are ready to go to St. Petersburg.”

Sato was one of the top starters to the 2013, with a front-row start at St. Petersburg, the aforementioned Barber qualifying effort and back-to-back podiums at Long Beach (his first win) and Brazil.

The only thing he’ll need to upgrade heading into St. Petersburg next week is his driver uniform, as the old IZOD IndyCar Series logo appears and will need to be swapped out for the new Verizon one.

Hartley says debut F1 point would be ‘a dream’ from last on grid

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Brendon Hartley says scoring a point on his Formula 1 debut would be “a dream” after being resigned to last place on the grid for the United States Grand Prix following an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso to replace Pierre Gasly for the USGP when the Frenchman was ruled out due to clashing commitments in Super Formula.

Despite having not driven an F1 car since 2012, Hartley came within one-tenth of a second of making it through to Q2 on Saturday at the Circuit of The Americas, ultimately qualifying 18th.

“Obviously I’d love to be quicker but we knew we were starting at the back, so we put a lot of focus on long runs, getting the peak performance out of this Pirelli tire I didn’t get today,” Hartley told NBCSN after the race.

“In FP3 I had a good feeling. There’s a lot of quirky things to manage with these tires. Honestly I should be happy with how the weekend’s gone so far.”

The New Zealander will start last due to a 25-place grid penalty for changes made to his power unit ahead of practice on Friday, and is daring to dream of making the top 10 in his first race out of a sports car for more than five years.

“I don’t do the 24 hours completely alone!” Hartley joked. “It’s quick. It’s physical to drive. I’ll be happy to be done after an hour and a half.

“A point would be a dream starting from the back. If I can move forward and put a race together, I’ll be happy.”

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 2pm ET on Sunday.