AUTO RACING PACKAGE: Super Tex Just Keeps Rolling
A.J. Foyt is like one of those trick birthday candles. Every time you think you’ve finally blown it out, the flame pops up again.
The 60-year-old Foyt, who tried to come out of a somewhat tentative retirement and race in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis in August, fell short in qualifying, but is going to try again in two weeks at Phoenix.
The last of his 128 Winston Cup starts came in the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indy in 1994, when he started 40th and finished 30th. He has raced only five times since 1990.
He supposedly retired from competition in 1992 with a slow, tearful lap around his beloved Indianapolis Motor Speedway during qualifying for the Indy 500, a race he won four times.
But Foyt, who spends most of his time running his Indy-car team and sitting on a variety of boards in his many business interests, can’t seem to cool his racing itch.
``It’s just something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now,″ Foyt said of getting back into a race car.
This week, Foyt took a couple of his 1995 Indy cars, a Ford Thunderbird, a SuperTruck and youthful drivers Frederick Ekblom of Sweden and Tony Stewart to Phoenix International Raceway for some testing and some question answering.
``I ran quite a few laps in the truck yesterday and it felt real good until I busted the oil tank and hit the damn wall,″ Foyt said. ``Actually, I didn’t hit it too hard. I just touched it. Didn’t do much damage at all and we were just a little off the track record.″
That incident hardly slowed the burly Foyt.
After going way too slow to qualify for this year’s Brickyard race in the first round of time trials _ the second round was rained out _ Foyt decided he might need some serious help to get the car prepared the right way for his next effort.
``We kind of got caught with our britches down at Indianapolis,″ Foyt said. ``I just hadn’t been keeping up with it and didn’t know about the tire rules. It was nobody’s fault but my own, but I’m not going to let that happen again.″
This time, Foyt called upon longtime friend Barry Dodson, who recently left Kyle Petty’s Sabco Racing team, to work as his crew chief for the Phoenix race.
``He flew out yesterday and my Indy crew and him are getting acquainted and working on the cars and the truck,″ Foyt said. ``Barry will get us some stock car guys to work on the car in the race because we need to have experienced people.″
Whatever happens at Phoenix, Super Tex, who is getting some sponsorship help from Motorola in his latest effort, is determined to do some more racing.
``We’re trying to put together a deal for a few of the major races next year,″ he said. ``We’d like to race at Daytona, Talladega, Charlotte, Atlanta, all the big ones.″
Meanwhile, on the Indy-car front, Foyt says he is trying to remain neutral in the battle between the established IndyCar PPG Cup series and the Indy Racing League, formed by Foyt’s godson, Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
``We’re planning to run a car on both circuits,″ said Foyt, who probably will run Ekblom in IndyCar and Stewart in the IRL.
Asked if a peace treaty between the open-wheel sanctioning groups is still a possibility, Foyt said, ``Right now, I think it’s beyond the point of resolving it. There’s too much friction both ways.″
As for the 500, which is a major bone of contention between two warring groups, Foyt said, ``I think they’ll all be at Indy. I know we’ll be there.″
End Adv for Thursday Oct. 12