After a rough start to the 2016 season, Jack Hawksworth was hoping for some good luck and better performances when he got to Indianapolis earlier this month.
Unfortunately, it’s been more of the same.
Entering the Indianapolis 500, the Bradford, England native sits 20th in the Verizon IndyCar Series standings with just 60 points, a whopping 182-point deficit behind points leader Simon Pagenaud.
Hawksworth’s best finish to date in the first five races of 2016 has been 11th in the season-opening event at St. Petersburg.
Since then, it has all been downhill, as he’s finished 19th (Phoenix), 21st (Long Beach), 19th again (Birmingham) and then a 20th place finish (in a 25-driver field) two weeks ago in the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis – despite qualifying in the Firestone Fast Six for the last event.
Hawksworth continued to endure niggling engine issues during the first week of practice and qualifying for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 this Sunday.
That included qualifying a disappointing 31st in the 33-car field, his worst effort in three tries to make the Indy 500 (Hawksworth qualified 31st in 2015 but moved forward three spots as the last row changed).
Luckily for Hawksworth, only 33 cars were entered for the historic running of the 500, so he was assured a spot in the field either way.
But bad luck reared its ugly head once again in Monday’s practice session at the 2.5-mile Brickyard when Hawksworth felt the engine go in his No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda.
“We’ve had our fair share of setbacks these past two weeks (but) this is the cherry on top of the cake,” a dejected Hawksworth said. “We’ll obviously have to change the engine.
“I was pretty happy with the car today. Now we need to get miles on the new engine on Carb Day. That’s important to break it in before Sunday. Then we reset and go to the Indy 500.”
Given all the bad luck Hawksworth has endured, there is one bright spot: the only direction he can go from here is up.