May 12, 2005

Today in Automotive History 1957

Today in Automotive History

1957 The Fabulous Foyt

A.J. Foyt won his first major race, a midget car race in Kansas City, Missouri. The tough Texan raced everything from midget cars to stock cars before he finally settled on Indy Car racing.

Foyt would go on to become one of the greatest Indy Car racers of all time, winning a record 67 championship races and seven championship series titles. He is one of only three men to have won four Indianapolis 500s, winning in 1961, 1964, 1967, and 1977. In Foyt's first championship, a late-fuel stop nearly cost him the race he had worked so hard to win. Fortunately, competitor Eddie Sachs, who had taken the lead from Foyt during the fuel stop, had to a make a fluke tire change in the last few laps of the race, giving Foyt his first Indy 500 crown.

Foyt was so overwhelmed by the post-race excitement that he sneaked out for a burger. "We had so many people congratulatin' us, talkin' and all that," he recalled. "Hell, I was hungry, so I just pulled over to White Castle. Hamburgers, I think, were 10¢ or 12¢ apiece." His 1964 victory was marred by the tragic deaths of fellow racers Eddie Sachs and Dave McDonalds. The 1967 Indy 500 saw Foyt drive a Coyote of his own design to victory. His father, Tony, was chief mechanic. "What really made me feel good," said Foyt, "is I built my own car, drove my own car, and my father was chief mechanic."

Perhaps Foyt's greatest achievement was his 1977 victory, when Foyt became the first man to win the Indy four times in front of track owner Tony Hulman. Hulman had acted as a mentor to Foyt, and he rode a victory lap with Foyt after the 1977 race.

A.J. Foyt now runs A.J. Foyt Enterprises from his home city of Houston, Texas. He founded the Foyt Race Team in 1965. His multifarious business interests include car dealerships, funeral service businesses, oil investments, and thoroughbred racehorses.

Posted by Quality Weenie at May 12, 2005 08:35 AM