WALLER, Texas--You asked. A.J. Foyt Racing is delivering!
Due to popular demand, replicas of the famous Gilmore/Foyt Racing crew shirts worn by the legendary 1977 Indy 500 winning team will be available for purchase. Moreover, this tribute shirt honors the legacy and loyalty of A.J. Foyt’s longtime friend, teammate and right-hand man, Jack Starne.
Foyt rolled into victory lane at IMS for his record fourth victory on May 29, 1977. The replica shirt of those worn by his crew is pictured above.
Starne, now 77, has been with the team for over 53 years and wore the original Gilmore red-checkered shirt. Hailing from southern California, he started working with Foyt in June, 1967 as a master fabricator. In 1976, he was named crew chief, and worked closely with A.J. in significantly modifying designer Bob Riley’s 1973 Coyote into the iteration which won the 500 four years later.
Starne, who always shunned the spotlight, was touched by the tribute shirt, a project of Team Coordinator Becky Baranouski and Nona Kelly, who joined A.J. Foyt Enterprises in 2018.
"I think it's great that the fans still recognize the red and white checkered crew shirt
from the 70's,” said Starne, who became the team’s general manager in 1988. “It will be fun to see these replica shirts on the fans at the races next year."
He shared in the success -- 29 INDYCAR wins, 31 poles, 31 USAC stock car wins and 39 poles – and the trying times when Foyt suffered serious injuries at the fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Ill., Michigan’s superspeedway and at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
“Jack has been with me through the great times when we won lots of races,” said Foyt, adding “but he has also stood by me in the tough times. I think of him as the brother I never had. I’m happy for him that we are able to do this and I’m sure our fans will show their appreciation too.”
While the shirt is a replica, fans can see Jack’s original Gilmore crew shirt on display at the Foyt Wine Vault on Main Street in Speedway, Indiana starting in May 2021, just in time for the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500! In addition to Jack’s shirt, there will also be photos from the celebration in 2017 honoring Jack’s 50th anniversary with the team, plus much more memorabilia from Foyt’s career through the years. Fans can cap off the visit by enjoying a glass of Foyt Family Wines many offerings.
The limited edition Gilmore/Foyt crew shirt is available for pre-order starting tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET. The pre-order window will only last two weeks, closing Friday, Oct. 9 at 1 p.m. ET. The 100% dry-fitting, cool-wear, non-wrinkle polyester shirts include screen printed patches including the “Gilmore/Foyt Racing” logo, the Gilmore “g” logo and the number “4” patch signifying the fourth Indy 500 victory. The shirt is available in sizes ranging from Small to 3X Large. The perfect holiday gift for dedicated Foyt fans, these commemorative shirts will be sold for $85.00 plus shipping in the continental U.S.
The story behind the unique pattern? Diane “Di” Gilmore, the wife of team partner Jim Gilmore, chose the design because it was bright, cheery and completely different from any other team uniform on the grid. Her passion for racing and for life was evident and the design of what they called the “tablecloth shirt” captured that – bringing a sense of spirited fun to an otherwise dangerous sport.
By bringing these shirts back at the request of this sport’s most dedicated and loyal fans, Foyt Racing hopes to bring back that sense of spirited fun. In doing so, the team pays homage to Starne, the 1977 Gilmore Foyt crew, and to the fans who have continued their support of the team throughout the years.
Jack Starne was honored in May, 2017 for his 50 years working with A.J. at a party at the Foyt shop in Indy. He is pictured here with A.J. and Billy Woodruff, a former crew member who was part of the 1977 winning team.