BECKY BARANOUSKI, originally from Placentia, California, is the team coordinator for A.J. Foyt Enterprises, which is a broad title for someone who handles the team’s travel, has secured sponsorships and created events during her stint which started in 1996. We asked her a few questions…
Q: How did you become interested in racing?
BB: “I dated a man who had a passion for racing. He competed in Club racing and then moved to the Toyota Atlantics that raced as a support series in the Long Beach Grand Prix. He worked for the City of Long Beach and it was his dream to race in the event. I raised enough sponsorship for him to fulfill that dream... and then I was hooked. This is all his fault.”
Q: What was your background before joining the team?
BB: “I worked for Air California aka Air Cal for 13 years changing reservations when there was a flight schedule change, working behind the scenes in reservations and at the end, in Program Development. I was heartbroken when they merged with American Airlines. I turned down a transfer to Texas to work with AA so I could keep my son close to his grandparents in SoCal and took a job planning large convention events and parties. The skills I learned from the airline and event planning has been invaluable in my role at A.J. Foyt Enterprises.”
Q: How many people do you arrange travel for on a race weekend?
BB: “There are 43 people in total. Some from Houston, Florida, Indianapolis, Colorado and New Jersey. Getting them all to the same location at times that work for the track schedule, transportation, etc. is like working on a giant jigsaw puzzle.”
Q: How do you find hotels at new events?
BB: “For our existing events, you form relationships with various hotel properties over the years. It’s nice for the crew to have a sense of familiarity when they pull into town. The challenge comes when there is a new track. Some teams will send their personnel to scout the hotel properties. I rely on various web sites to find the right hotel based on track proximity, traveler reviews and ratings. Location, price and availability are the key factors. Most of the time I get it right. I hear about the ones I don't.”
Q: How many events (including tests) do you arrange travel for?
BB: “Last year we had 67 events - races and tests. I expect we will have the same, if not more, this year.”
Q: Can you quantify last year’s travel?
BB: “All I can tell you is that last year was the hardest I've ever worked for the team. It's not just