Every year when the racing activity slows down, the sponsor activity ramps up for AJ Foyt Racing.
One activity has proven to be very popular, the ABC Supply Day at the Track where guests are given the opportunity to drive an ABC Supply Indy car around MSR Houston, a road course located south of the city. The program is so popular that there are now two Track Days a year in the fall.
The event kicks off the night before with a dinner in Houston hosted by A.J. and Larry Foyt. This year to the delight of all, Tony Kanaan was able to attend as well. The guests are treated to some great food, and classic stories from A.J.—which range from exploits on his bulldozer to mesmerizing accounts of races gone by. Larry winds up the festivities with an overview of the Day at the Track program.
Guests arrive bright and early the next day at the track which has hosted this event for the past 12 years. Both the course and the Indy car, an older model Dallara, have been modified to make the event more accessible and more enjoyable for the guests who range from ABC Supply associates to the contractors they service throughout the year.
This year L&W Supply, which joined the ABC Supply family two years ago, used one of the track days to entertain their executive team. Kanaan is the one bundled up in the middle as track temps were in the low 50s that day.
The guests are taken around the course in a van and given some pointers in piloting the Indy car which was modified to accommodate an automatic transmission and a smaller power plant.
The drivers, outfitted in ABC Supply firesuits, then take five laps around the course, come in for a brief consult , ask questions and then do another five laps. Most drivers complete their runs without incident but there are always a few who run on the ragged edge -- or over it.
L&W President Dan Piche (second from left) tested the limit, which Tony Kanaan points out.
Lunch is catered by Molina’s, A.J.’s favorite Mexican restaurant and one of the oldest in Houston. Once everyone has gotten their turn at the wheel, they head over to the go kart track and put to use the lessons learned. For many, it is a brand new experience in a kart and for all, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience of driving an Indy car with A.J. watching.
As a memento of the experience, the drivers keep their helmets and are sent an in-car video of their run as well as a host of photos shot throughout the day. And then of course there is the souvenir t-shirt: “I Survived the A.J. Foyt Driving School.”