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A.J. Foyt
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A. J. Foyt (born Anthony Joseph Foyt, Jr., January 16, 1935 in Houston, Texas) is considered by many as the greatest American automobile racing driver of all time. [1] He holds the all-time USAC career wins record with 159 victories. [1]

Early lifeEdit

Foyt attended Reagan High School in Houston [1], but he left school to be a mechanic [2].

Driving careerEdit

Midget car careerEdit

He started his USAC career in a midget car at the 1956 Night before the 500. He won his first midget car race in a 100 lap event at Kansas City in 1957, and finished seventh in the season points standings. [1] He left midget cars after the 1957 season to drive in sprint cars and Championship Car. He did occasionally compete in midget car events. He won the 1960 and 1961 Turkey Night Grand Prix, the first two years that it was held at Ascot Park. He won the 1961 Hut Hundred after starting last, and finished seventh in National Midget points that year. He won the 1970 Astro Grand Prix, an event that he promoted in his hometown of Houston. He ended his career with 20 midget car feature wins.

Championship car careerEdit

In 1961, he became the first driver to successfully defend his points championship and win the Indianapolis 500 race. He raced in each season from 1957-1992, starting in 374 races and finishing in the top ten 201 times, with 67 victories.

Ford engines were widely expected to dominate the 1964 Indianapolis 500. Foyt hoped his Offenhauser engine would be able to keep up with the Fords. Foyt lapped the field to win the race. The race is known for a lap 2 crash that claimed the lives of Dave MacDonald and Eddie Sachs.

The track doctor at a 1965 Riverside International Raceway race pronounced Foyt dead at the scene of a severe crash, but fellow driver Parnelli Jones revived him after seeing movement. Foyt suffered severe chest injuries, a broken back, and a fractured ankle.

In the 1967 Indianapolis 500, Parnelli Jones' turbine car was expected to easily defeat the field of piston engines. Jones lapped the field, but his car expired with a few laps left in the race. Foyt had to weave through five wrecked cars down the final front stretch to win the race, a race that took two days to complete.

In the 1977 Indianapolis 500, Foyt ran out of fuel, and had to make up around 32 seconds on Gordon Johncock. Foyt made up 1.5 to 2 seconds per lap by turning up his boost, which risks blowing up the motor. Johncock's motor broke just as Foyt had caught him, and Foyt passed for the win.

He won at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 4 times. In 1961, 1964, 1967, 1977

NASCAR careerEdit

Foyt only needed 10 races to get his first NASCAR victory. Richard Petty dominated the 1964 Firecracker 400 until he went out with engine problems. Foyt swapped the lead with Bobby Isaac for the final 50 laps of the summer event at the Daytona International Speedway. Foyt passed Isaac on the final lap to win the race.

Foyt ran out of gas near the end of the 1971 Daytona 500, and Petty passed him for the win. Foyt again had the car to beat in the 1972 Daytona 500, but this time he succeeded. Only three drivers led during the race.

Foyt won the 1971 and 1972 races at the Ontario Motor Speedway for Wood Brothers Racing. The track was shaped like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 1972 race was his last NASCAR win.

Career summaryEdit

  • Foyt drove in the Indianapolis 500 for 35 consecutive years, winning it four times (the first of only three to do so).
  • Foyt is the only driver to win the Indy 500 in both front and rear-engined cars, winning twice with both configurations.
  • He is the only person to record victories in the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 stock car race, the 24 Hours of Daytona twice, with co-driver Bob Wollek , and the 24 hours of Le Mans international sports car endurance race in Le Mans, France, as well as the 12 Hours of Sebring - the latter being his last major professional win, in 1985 with co-driver Bob Wollek.
  • He also has 41 USAC Stock Car wins and 50 Sprint Car, Midget, and Dirt Champ Car wins.
  • He has won 12 total major driving championships in various categories.
  • His USAC wins tally is a record 138 (The late Rich Vogler is second with 132.)
  • Foyt won the 1977 and 1976 IROC championships.
  • Foyt won 7 NASCAR races, including the Daytona 500.
  • Foyt holds the closed course speed record driving the Oldsmobile Aerotech at an average speed of over 250 MPH.

AwardsEdit

Indianapolis 500 recordsEdit

His career records are numerous: the most consecutive and career starts (35), most races led (13), most times led during the career (39), and most competitive laps and miles during a career (4,909 laps, 12,272.5 miles).

Car ownerEdit

After retiring as a driver, he continued his involvement in racing as a car owner of Foyt Enterprises in the CART series, then the Indy Racing League (IRL) and NASCAR.

Scott Sharp took a share of the 1996 Indy Racing League (IRL) title.

Kenny Brack won the 1998 IRL title in Foyt's car. Brack won the 1999 Indianapolis 500 in Foyt's car, putting Foyt in the winner's circle at Indy for the fifth time. The current driver for his IRL team, A.J. Foyt Enterprises, is Jeff Bucknum.

On June 7, 1997, Foyt (as an owner) was involved in an incident that helped shape the history of the Indy Racing League and added to his reputation. One of his drivers, Billy Boat, had been declared the winner of the inaugural IRL race at Texas Motor Speedway that had been held that night, and his other driver, Davey Hamilton, had come in second. However, driver Arie Luyendyk disputed Boat's win, claiming that he was in the lead when a scoring error by USAC (who had scored all IRL races up until that time) gave Boat the checkered flag. When Luyendyk entered victory lane after the race to confront TMS general manager Eddie Gossage about the finish uttering obscenities, an irate Foyt approached the Dutch-born Luyendyk from behind and slapped and shoved him into tulips, of all things. Luyendyk then requested a review of the race; a few days later, USAC reversed its position and declared Luyendyk the winner. Following the controversy, the IRL relieved USAC of the scoring duties for its events.

FamilyEdit

A.J. is the grandfather of A.J. Foyt IV. A. J. is the grandfather and adoptive father of Larry Foyt.

Indy 500 resultsEdit

Year Chassis Engine Start Finish
1958 Kuzma Offy 12th 16th
1959 Kuzma Offy 17th 10th
1960 Kuzma Offy 16th 25th
1961 Trevis Offy 7th 1st
1962 Trevis Offy 5th 23rd
1963 Trevis Offy 8th 3rd
1964 Watson Offy 5th 1st
1965 Lotus Ford 1st 15th
1966 Lotus Ford 18th 26th
1967 Coyote Ford 4th 1st
1968 Coyote Ford 8th 20th
1969 Coyote Ford 1st 8th
1970 Coyote Ford 3rd 10th
1971 Coyote Ford 6th 3rd
1972 Coyote Foyt 17th 25th
1973 Coyote Foyt 23rd 25th
1974 Coyote Foyt 1st 15th
1975 Coyote Foyt 1st 3rd
1976 Coyote Foyt 5th 2nd
1977 Coyote Foyt 4th 1st
1978 Coyote Foyt 20th 7th
1979 Parnelli Cosworth 6th 2nd
1980 Parnelli Cosworth 12th 14th
1981 Coyote Cosworth 3rd 13th
1982 March Cosworth 3rd 19th
1983 March Cosworth 24th 31st
1984 March Cosworth 12th 6th
1985 March Cosworth 21st 28th
1986 March Cosworth 21st 24th
1987 Lola Cosworth 4th 19th
1988 Lola Cosworth 22nd 26th
1989 Lola Cosworth 10th 5th
1990 Lola Chevrolet 8th 6th
1991 Lola Chevrolet 2nd 28th
1992 Lola Chevrolet 23rd 9th
1993 Lola Ford-Cosworth Retired

F1 career summaryEdit

The Indianapolis 500 was considered part of the Formula One schedule from 1950 through 1960. Drivers competing at Indy during those years were credited with F1 points and participation. A. J. Foyt participated in 3 Formula One races. He started on the pole 0 times, won 0 races, set 0 fast laps, and finished on the podium 0 times. He accumlated a total of 0 championship points.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Biography at the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame

External linksEdit

Foyt Family
A.J. Foyt | A.J. Foyt IV | Jerry Foyt | Larry Foyt

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