Busy Start for Takuma Sato and AJ Foyt Racing Team Principals in 2013

WALLER, TX January 31, 2013 – Race driver Takuma Sato had not yet sat in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda that he was hired to drive in this year’s IZOD IndyCar Series when he went on a Caribbean cruise with AJ Foyt Racing’s sponsor ABC Supply this month. Team owner A.J. Foyt did not go on the cruise but his son Larry, Team Director of AJ Foyt Racing, did.

The Holland America cruise ship took Sato and young Foyt on a seven-day trip through the Western Caribbean after first stopping in the Bahamas where they rode horses in the sea.  When the ship stopped in Jamaica the next day, Foyt rode ATVs with company executives and Sato chose to ride a zip-line! Visiting Grand Cayman Island the following day, Foyt and Sato went jet-skiing and snorkeling with the Blue Water Beach Parasailing Company.

While the ship was at sea, Sato signed autographs for the customers who could also see the ABC Supply Indy show car aboard the ship which was chartered by the Beloit, Wisconsin-based company.

During the evening hours, the two men joined in the various cocktail parties and dinners that were held aboard the ship which carried over 2000 passengers serviced by a crew of 950 people.

Takuma Sato Signs with AJ Foyt Racing

WALLER, TX January 10, 2013—It’s official! Ending several months of speculation about their plans for 2013, AJ Foyt Racing has signed Takuma Sato to drive the ABC Supply No. 14 Honda in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

“There were a lot of question marks when the season ended but I’m happy to put an end to all that now. We chose to go with Takuma Sato because he brings a lot of experience to our team but he has the hunger of a rookie--and he’s certainly proven he has the desire to win,” said A.J. Foyt.

Most of the ex-Formula One driver’s career has been spent on road courses, but he has adapted quickly to the ovals which makes him a contender no matter the circuit. His performance in last year’s Indianapolis 500 gained the attention of Foyt—and legions of new fans. Although that race ended dramatically with Sato hitting the wall, Foyt appreciated Sato’s ‘No Attack, No Chance’ attitude that triggered the daring, but unsuccessful, pass of leader Dario Franchitti on the final lap.

“I like the fact that he is competitive on both road courses and ovals and that he is a charger,” said Foyt. “I think he has learned quite a bit in the short time he’s been over here and I look forward to working with him this year.”

Sato enters his fourth year of IndyCar competition. In the past three years, he has won pole positions at Iowa and Edmonton (in 2011), claimed five top-5 finishes and 13 top-10s in a total of 49 starts. His career best finish is second which he earned at Edmonton’s airport circuit last year after starting third.

“I am extremely excited to be a part of A.J. Foyt Racing and working with ABC Supply for the 2013 season,” said Sato.  “I have seen the potential of the team last year on a number of occasions.  I think the team has one of the best engineering staffs in the paddock led by Don Halliday.  I can’t wait to start testing next month.

“While I do not know A.J. well yet, it is unbelievable what he did in his career.  A.J. has achieved so many wins in every type of car, at every type of circuit, and in every type of situation.  That experience can only help in trying to win races this year.  I think with A.J. and the team helping me this year, we can be very successful.”

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

We at AJ Foyt Racing would like to thank everyone for their support this past season and want to wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday season! We’re looking forward to a great year in 2013 – and we’ll tell you all about our plans in January!  Happy Holidays!

Conor Daly Impresses in his IndyCar Debut

SEBRING, FL Dec. 13, 2012—Conor Daly took to the track in A.J. Foyt’s ABC Supply Indy car for the first time at Sebring International Raceway to test for the racing legend and prove to himself that Indycar racing could be in his promising future.

“I thought it would be very different,” Daly said after stepping out of the car. “I thought it would take most of the morning to start getting into a competitive range but honestly we were quite competitive here early so that was pretty cool for me to do. One time I was catching Helio [Castroneves] and I was thinking ‘What is this?’ These were guys I looked up to for years so it was really, really cool.”

Daly ran 111 laps, and an unofficial .45 seconds off the quickest time set by Will Power; Daly was faster than several of the 15 drivers who were testing on Friday. But the test wasn’t about speed as much as giving a young race driver an opportunity of a lifetime just two days before his 21st birthday.

Conor Daly To Test for AJ Foyt Racing at Sebring

WALLER, TX Dec 4, 2012—Happy Birthday Kid!

Conor Daly will test the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda IndyCar at Sebring International Raceway December 13th -- just two days before his 21st birthday. Daly, who will be testing an Indy car for the first time, is the son of Derek Daly, a former Formula One and CART IndyCar driver.

“Conor Daly is one of the exciting up-and-coming drivers in open wheel racing today,” said Larry Foyt, team director of AJ Foyt Racing. “I had spoken to Conor at the F-1 race in Austin and I was impressed.  I thought this test was a perfect opportunity to see how he works with our team. Depending on how it goes, we may be able to do something with him in the future.”

"I am honored to have the opportunity to drive an Indycar for the first time with AJ Foyt Racing,” Daly said. “I've grown up at the Indy 500 and have always dreamed of getting in an Indycar someday. I will do the best job I can to get to know the team and complete all the things they've got planned for the test. I can't thank Larry enough for organizing this and taking an interest in my future."

Young Daly, a Hoosier, has spent the last two seasons competing in GP3, the European-based single-seater series which is a forerunner to Formula One. Daly is viewed as a rising star in motorsports, having won in every series he has competed including GP3, Firestone Indy Lights, Star Mazda and Skip Barber. He won national titles in the Mazda and Barber series.

The test is the final one of the year for IndyCar teams. INDYCAR has suspended testing for all teams from from Dec. 14 through Jan. 4.

 

Tim Paul Signs with AJ Foyt Racing for Indy Lights in 2014; Running Both F2000 Series in 2013

Mahopac, NY – Open-wheel racing and former midget and sprint car driver Timothy Paul of Mahopac, New York, has signed an agreement to race in the Firestone Indy Lights Championship in 2014 for AJ Foyt Racing. Prior to the 2014 season, Paul, who has run competitively in the F2000 Championship Series, will spend 2013 competing in both F2000 and USF2000 in a CellMark Paper-sponsored entry to gain the maximum amount of seat time possible.

“2013 is going to be a turning point for me. We really need to focus this year and put our program together in a whole new way to compete where I think we should, near the front of the field,” said Paul.

The 2013 USF2000 schedule features races at Sebring with ALMS, St. Petersburg with IndyCar, the Night before the 500, Toronto and Mid-Ohio with IndyCar, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with Grand-Am, and the Houston Grand Prix at Reliant Park with IndyCar.

 

AJ Foyt Racing Hosts ABC Day at the Track

AJ Foyt Racing team principals A.J. and Larry Foyt hosted guests from longtime sponsor ABC Supply at the race shop in Houston this week. The guests received a tour of the shop and watched as the team prepared cars for their upcoming test at Sebring International Raceway in mid-December.

The Foyts then hosted a dinner for everyone at one of A.J.’s favorite restaurants in his hometown of Houston. After an evening of fine food and lots of stories recounted by the legendary driver, guests headed back to their hotel with instructions for the next day’s activities—driving an ABC Supply Indy car at MSR Houston.

As a warmup, the drivers competed in a go-kart race at the motorsports park outside of Houston. Then came the real thrill as a total of nine drivers drove an Indy car on a modified portion of MSR Houston’s road course. Molina’s Cantina of Houston supplied a sumptuous Mexican feast for lunch. It is the fourth year running for the popular program which started with the company’s executives as the race team’s way to express appreciation for the company’s support since 2005.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

We at A.J. Foyt Racing extend our best wishes to everyone for a very Happy Thanksgiving. As families and friends gather to celebrate this very American holiday, it is an opportunity to give thanks for all that we have and to show kindness and generosity to those less fortunate. If you are cooking the big bird at home or traveling to someone else’s home, we hope everyone has a safe holiday! Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

The Passion of Racing

By Ryan Westman

The roar of the engine as it reverberates off of nearby city buildings, the art of passing as quick as a cobra’s strike, the patience, the persistence, the passion: this is racing. For as long as I can remember, I have been attending racing events around the globe. From Formula 1 to NASCAR, weekend warriors on the dirt track, short ovals in the corn fields of Indiana to F1 greats on the legendary, winding streets of Monaco, I have seen it all. These experiences have not just molded an interest in the sport but have also become the fabric of my life. Racing is my passion.

I grew up in Indiana, and the two hour car ride to Indianapolis was a pilgrimage my father and I made every year. Walking into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, gazing down the 5/8- mile straightaway out onto 300,000 race fans, brings peace to the soul; you realize you are not the only one with the “bug.” Then it happens. Seemingly, out of nowhere, and then gone again for another 40 seconds; the whole place becomes as silent as the early May-morning dew clinging to the infield grass. The howl, the roar, the scream. No adjective does it justice but trust me, it gives you goose bumps. It gets inside you and once it is inside you, you can’t shake it.

Those who don’t understand the allure of racing may just interpret the sport as cars going around in circles. You don’t see what you don’t understand. Non-believers in the sport don’t see the meticulous engineering it takes to trim out the car and generate the down force to run at 230 mph. Did you know that an IndyCar generates enough down force or reverse lift that it could drive upside down at 150 mph? Maybe it’s that they don’t see the fuel conservation and intricate strategy required to win the race. Or perhaps they are unbeknownst to the team aspect and how even a minor mishap on a pit stop can cost a team its chances at victory. Perhaps, if they appreciated the danger every driver assumes when he gets inside the car, knowing that the Speedway has claimed 15 lives. Perhaps, if they were cognizant of the grueling, physical toll that the 2.5-hour race takes on a driver, who stands to lose an average of 5 pounds each race. I once asked Ironman and 10- time Indy 500 participant, Vitor Meira, “what is more difficult: an Ironman or the Indy 500?” Definitive in his answer, he responded, “the 500!”

IndyCar Announces 2013 Schedule and $1 Million Triple Crown

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 30, 2012) – Nineteen races over 16 event weekends highlight the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule announced today.

The expanded schedule includes the return of Indy car racing to Pocono Raceway and the streets of Houston.

With a 400-mile race at Pocono Raceway joining the 500-mile events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway on the schedule, the IZOD IndyCar Series will institute a Triple Crown award, which will pay a $1 million bonus to a driver that wins on all three ovals.  A driver that wins two of the three races will be awarded a $250,000 bonus.

Also new for 2013 are Saturday-Sunday doubleheaders scheduled for the street courses at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park, Toronto and Houston and the implementation of standing starts at those three venues.

Fourteen of the 15 venues that hosted IZOD IndyCar Series races in 2012 return. Six races – Indianapolis, the doubleheader at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park, the prime-time event at Texas Motor Speedway as well as Iowa and Pocono – will be broadcast on ABC.  The balance of the schedule, including the season opener at St. Petersburg and the finale at Auto Club Speedway, will be carried on NBC Sports Network.  Race distances and broadcast times will be announced at a later date.

Chris Economaki, Renowned Motorsports Journalist, Dies at Age 91

Friday, September 28, 2012--Chris Economaki, Dean of Motorsports Journalism, died early this morning at age 91. Economaki was known for his distinctive voice and incisive analysis as both a columnist for National Speed Sport News (a paper he worked for as a teenager and eventually bought) and as a broadcaster working for ABC, CBS, ESPN and TBS. He watched and chronicled the careers of most of our racing heroes including that of A.J. Foyt whose comments are below.

“Chris Economaki meant a whole lot to my career. He saw me when I first started and he said I’d be the next one coming up who’d be a good race driver.  He wrote, You will read about this boy.  I don’t remember if it was Ted Horn or who, but he compared me a couple times to these old greats which I felt very honored. I think he respected me and I respected him. He was a good friend. I really enjoyed his stories and it’s a shame to see good writers like him pass on.

To be honest, Chris was writing when racing was at its very best. I’m talking about midgets, sprints, dirt cars and Indy cars. He saw the sport grow to where it is today and how it grew, including NASCAR.  And he contributed to that growth. I’d say when he was in his heyday of writing that more people would read his column than any column that’s been written today by far—I know I did. And I’m not the only person who says that. He really knew what he was writing about and he understood the sport in every field of it because he came through all the different types of racing. Today’s writers haven’t done that and they don’t understand racing like Chris did.

Sometimes you didn’t agree with all his articles, but one thing about it, you might not agree today when he wrote it but in the next two or three weeks what he said happened, so you have to give him credit.”