Foyts Join SVRA Lineup for Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS April 7, 2016--The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) announced that the Foyt name, one of the most famous in auto racing history, will race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway again during the Brickyard Invitational, June 16-19. Larry Foyt, son of the great A.J. Foyt, and A.J. Foyt IV, the revered champion’s grandson, will once again be on the gird at the Brickyard for the feature event of the SVRA weekend – the “Indy Legends” Charity Pro-Am.

“I heard last year that young A.J. was asking about our event,” said SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella. “I did not waste a moment reaching out to him. When we found out Larry was interested too, everyone at the SVRA was thrilled. The Foyt name is pure gold in auto racing and we are honored to have them join us.”

The Pro-Am feature the Foyts will race in is a 40-minute competition of American muscle cars on the Speedway’s 2.43-mile Grand Prix road course on Saturday, June 18. The cars are 1963 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs of the “Group 6” SVRA class. This year’s event is attracting new and exciting names, including a new twist, called the “Garage 34” promoter’s option that brings NASCAR stars Bill Elliott and Ray Evernham into the field. The Unser cousins, Al Jr., Robby and Johnny are already entered and numerous other Indianapolis 500 veterans will be announced in the coming weeks. Professionals will be paired with amateur drivers, splitting stints at the wheel at their discretion.

AJ IV is a six-time starter in the Indianapolis 500 from 2003 to 2010.  He holds the record as the youngest driver to start the classic at just 19.  A versatile driver, he got his start as a nine-year-old in Junior Dragsters, winning two titles.  After that experience he raced karts during his teenage years. From there he began racing SCCA formula cars, taking the Southwest Regional Championship in 2001 and finishing third in the national championship. Those accomplishments earned him SCCA rookie-of-the-year.  Also in 2001 he finished second in the feature event of the World Karting Association’s Dirt World Championships at Daytona.  After getting a taste of USAC Silver Crown racing he stepped up to grandfather A.J. Foyt’s Infiniti Pro Series team in 2002. That series was the equivalent of today’s Indy Lights and Foyt took four impressive wins to close out the season championship. The following year he raced for his grandfather in the Indianapolis 500. During his Indy car career he also raced for Vision Racing, securing that team’s best-ever finish with a third place at Kentucky Speedway in 2007. Foyt also raced in NASCAR Busch (now Xfinity) and the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Larry Foyt is currently president of A.J. Foyt Enterprises, which includes his legendary father’s racing operations. The three-time Indianapolis 500 starter is also a founding partner with AJ IV in the relatively new venture, Foyt Family Wines. He began his racing career in karting in 1993 and by 1996 was a Texas state champion.  In 1997 he began racing Formula 2000 and won two SCCA races in 1999.  He raced stock cars with the American Speed Association in 2000, scoring several top-five finishes.  By 2001 he was racing in the NASCAR Busch Series and moved full-time into the top-tier Cup competition in 2003. He also raced with ARCA and NASCAR trucks. By 2006 after his final Indianapolis 500 the Texas Christian University graduate began to take on more management responsibility at A.J. Foyt Enterprises.  He exceled there and by 2007 was appointed team manager.  The team’s breakthrough victory with driver Takuma Sato at the famous Long Beach Grand Prix in 2013 was a testimony to his management abilities. In 2015 he ascended to the company’s presidency. 

Alfe Heat Treating to Sponsor Third AJ Foyt Racing Entry for the “Indy Double”

No. 35 tribute livery will commemorate A.J. Foyt’s record 35 Indy 500 starts

WALLER, Texas March 17, 2016—Alfe Heat Treating will sponsor the No. 35 Honda Dallara to be driven by Alex Tagliani in the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, a.k.a. the Indy Double.

The number 35 was chosen to honor A.J. Foyt’s record 35 straight starts in the Indianapolis 500—from 1958 through 1992. The car’s livery will evoke memories of the black No. 14 Copenhagen cars that Foyt drove in the latter part of his legendary career.

“We chose the number 35 because it is the number of consecutive starts A.J. had at the Brickyard as well as being A.J.'s birth year, a lucky number,” said Kurt Westman, Founder and CEO of Alfe Heat Treating, Inc.

Tagliani, who competed in the Indy 500 last year in an Alfe Heat Treating-sponsored car and will again this year, will drive in the May 14th Angie’s List Grand Prix for the first time in his career which spans 203 IndyCar races over 16 seasons.

“We are happy to have Alex back as he did a great job for us last year, and we are hopeful for an even better performance this year!” Westman said.

“I feel very privileged and honored to be driving the Alfe Heat Treating Honda,” said Tagliani, who won the pole for the 2011 Indy 500. “Alfe is a great company and I met a lot of good people last year with their headquarters being so close to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I’m very excited to be driving for the AJ Foyt Racing organization again. To be driving for them at the Speedway during the month of May is very special. The 100th Running of the Indy 500 will make it even more unique.

Tagliani last raced an IndyCar on the road and street circuits in 2013, when eight of the 14 events he drove in the Verizon IndyCar Series were either in the streets or on a road course.

“I’m looking forward to driving the Indy road course in an IndyCar—I’ve heard a lot of amazing things on the performance of the car,” Tagliani said. “It will be difficult because I haven’t driven an IndyCar on a road course in several years. Jumping in the car on a road course in something that is very new will be tough, but the positive is that I will be in the car for the month of May. Getting used to the guys and working with the team is very important if you want to maximize the performance of the driver, the team and the car. Hopefully we can do a good job for the whole Alfe team and everyone who has been so supportive of me like Sexton Properties and everyone I’ve been involved with at the Speedway over the last two years.”

This year will be the third straight year that Alfe Heat Treating has focused on a design that has meaning beyond the traditional sponsor-centric livery. In the 2014 Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the No. 41 car featured the retro-livery in “Foyt Poppy Red” in honor of Foyt’s record-setting Indy 500 victory in 1977. Last year, Dan Gurney’s No. 48 All American Eagle was selected as the design, dark-hued and complete with white racing stripes. Alex Tagliani drove it to a 17th place finish in the 500.

Additionally, Alfe Heat Treating returns for the sixth straight season as an associate sponsor of the team which fields the No. 14 and No. 41 ABC Supply Honda-Dallaras driven by Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth.

A.J. Foyt Waves Green at Rolex 24;
ABC Supply Team Tests Updated Honda Aero Kit at Sebring

A.J. Foyt returned to action this past weekend to wave the green flag at the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Jan. 30. It was his first time back at a race track since Iowa Speedway in July. Foyt, 81, was the honorary starter for the sports car race which he won in 1983 and 1985.

“It was a lot of fun being back at Daytona and seeing some old friends,” said Foyt, who was visibly impressed with the first-of-its-kind motorsports stadium. “Joie [Chitwood president of DIS] and his staff have done an incredible job here. I think Mr. France and Bill, Jr. would be very proud of what Daytona has become.”

Foyt then traveled to Sebring International Raceway Monday morning to see his ABC Supply Racing Hondas take to the track for the first time equipped with the updated Honda aero kit package.

Veteran driver Takuma Sato was pleased with the drivability of the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda.

“It was nice to be back in the car after a long off-season,” said Sato. “There was a lot to cover at our first test and generally the day went well despite losing some track time due to an electrical issue. It was particularly interesting since it was our first time testing the new Honda aero kit. It shows very positive signs and I was very comfortable with it. Also I now work with Raul Prados as my race engineer; he was my assistant engineer in 2013 and 2014, and the day with him went really well. We have a lot to learn with the 2016 spec car but the team made good progress. They did great preparation over the winter so I feel very positive about the rest of the pre-season tests.”

Teammate Jack Hawksworth thought the test was productive on many levels.

"It felt great to be back in the car again after such a long break and the weather conditions were great which allowed us the opportunity to have a productive day,” said Hawksworth, who turns 25 on February 28th. “There has been a big restructuring in the team over the winter so it was also very useful to see how the new people and structure was going to work.

“We had a big list of test items to get through on the ABC Supply Hondas, and despite some early morning teething issues, we were able to try a lot of things on both cars, aerodynamically and mechanically,” he continued. “I think we made some decent progress and we now have a good foundation to build on heading into the next pre-season test. There's a lot of work to be done still across the board but it certainly feels like we are now heading in the right direction, and that is certainly exciting."

The test gave drivers the opportunity to work in a racing environment with Team Director George Klotz who joined the team last fall. The engineering staff was enlarged and personnel were moved around due to new hires. This year, Prados, who was chief engineer on Hawksworth’s car in 2015, moves to Sato’s car. Dan Hobbs, who worked most recently at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, joined the team in the off season and will be the chief engineer on Hawksworth’s car. Don Halliday returns for a fifth season but now in the role as Technical Director overseeing both engineers. Halliday was not at the test due to a family wedding.

"It was a good first test for the team,” said Team President Larry Foyt. “The engineers have worked very hard over the winter to come up with ideas to try to gain speed, and it was encouraging to see the results on track. Things are picking up quickly, and we will be almost non-stop right up to our first race in St. Petersburg. I'm excited to do more testing and see where we stack up compared to the competition."

In addition to two more private tests, and several shaker rig tests, the team will be at the Open Test at Phoenix International Raceway Feb. 26-27. The Verizon IndyCar Series kicks off their season with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 13.

 

Open Test: Highs and Lows

PHOENIX Feb. 27, 2016—The Verizon IndyCar Series returned to Phoenix International Raceway with an Open Test this weekend. For the ABC Supply team it was a case of highs and lows.

Both Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth visited PIR for the first time yesterday. Both ABC Supply drivers enjoyed running at the one mile oval track, of which Sato said, “It's great to be back in the car especially on the oval-- the sensation of speed is very exciting. Phoenix is a quite challenging track. I like that Turn 1 and Turn 4 are very different in character. It’s great fun!”

The cars ran a daytime session (12 – 3pm) and a night session (5-8pm) both days which allowed them to test the cars in track conditions they will have for qualifying (daytime) and the race, which starts in the early evening (around 5:30pm) on April 2.

Sato posted his best time in the Saturday evening session with a speed of 188.679mph, which was fourth best in that session. In the combined results for the two days, it was 13th quickest.

“It was a very productive two-day test here in Phoenix,” Sato said after the on-track activity concluded. “I’ve never been here before so there was a lot to learn, especially with the new aero package and new engine. The engine felt very powerful so we’re getting competitive speeds and that is exciting. The two sessions in the daytime and then again at night were quite tricky because the balance shift was quite big—more than we expected—but that means we learned a lot. Now we head to Sebring for another test to gather more data.”

Despite some minor setbacks, Hawksworth, who turns 25 Sunday, had been settling in when things took a turn for the worse in the final evening session. As he explained, “We came into Turn 1 and the car just got loose. I caught it, but by that time it had all the lateral force and just took me into the wall. I don’t know what happened, but we snapped and that was it.”

Hawksworth escaped injury, but the car sustained significant damage to the right side suspension. Hawksworth had reached a top speed of 184.010mph in the afternoon session.

Sato had lightly brushed the wall earlier in the night session when he had to avoid a car which slowed dramatically in the racing line in Turn 1. Sato’s car sustained cosmetic damage to the right rear bumper but was able to continue once the car was checked out by the ABC Supply crew.

The team returns to Sebring International Raceway Wednesday for a final test before the season opener in St. Petersburg March 11-13.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY A.J.!!

HOUSTON January 16, 2016--A.J. Foyt turns 81 today.

"I never thought I would live this long. A lot of people never thought I would either."

As mesquite tough as the Texas land he grew up in, A.J. Foyt has suffered through death-defying accidents and overwhelming health problems the past 81 years. Take a look back at what he overcame to celebrate his birthday with his family, friends and many fans today.

Age 15 - Survived a boating accident in the Galveston Bay when a storm upended his boat, sadly only two of three teenagers survived.

Age 23 - First time he hit the wall in the Indy 500 when a water hose broke

Age 30 - His accident at Riverside (Calif.) Raceway saw him go end-over-end after his brakes failed. He was in critical condition with a bruised aorta, broken back and fractured heel.

Age 31 - He endured burns to his face, neck and hands when he hit the wall at Milwaukee during practice after a suspension failure.

Age 37 - He suffered burns to his back when his dirt car caught fire during a refueling stop. He broke his leg and ankle when he jumped from it and got run over by his own car.

Age 46 - His right arm was badly fractured when a tire failure sent his Indy car into the Armco barrier at Michigan.

Age 48 - He broke two vertebrae in his back after hitting the wall in his stock car at Daytona but won the Paul Revere 250 sports car race that night.

Age 55 - When his brakes failed at turn 1 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., he hit a dirt embankment, breaking his left knee and crushed his left heel, dislocating his left tibia and right heel and sustaining compartment syndrome in both feet. Came back eight months later to qualify second for the 1991 Indy 500.

Age 57 - Broke his left shoulder twice--first in qualifying for the Daytona 500 and then again while practicing for the Phoenix 200 Indycar race.

Age 69 - Suffered badly torn rotator cuff stepping off  his trackhoe excavator.

Age 70 - Survived attack of killer bees which led to systemic shock.

Age 71 - Underwent knee replacement for  his left leg

Age 72 - Escaped from drowning in his enclosed bulldozer when he overturned it into a lake on one of his ranches.

Age 77 - Contracted a nearly fatal staph infection after surgery to remove bone spurs around his artificial left knee.

Age 78 - Underwent back surgery in April, left hip replacement in July and a right knee replacement in December.

Age 79 - Underwent triple bypass surgery and nearly died after post-op complications.

Age 80 - Survived another serious bout of staph infection--this time in his right knee which needed to be replaced again.

So when we wish him Happy Birthday, we are really happy we can!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUPER TEX!!