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.

 

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!!