IRL: Foyt Racing preview

Bucknum replaces Foyt IV in Sonoma Jeff Bucknum: No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone * Jeff Bucknum will replace A.J. Foyt IV in a one-off drive at Infineon Raceway this weekend. Team owner A.J. Foyt said, "We didn't test ...

Bucknum replaces Foyt IV in Sonoma

Jeff Bucknum: No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone

* Jeff Bucknum will replace A.J. Foyt IV in a one-off drive at Infineon Raceway this weekend. Team owner A.J. Foyt said, "We didn't test with Anthony at Infineon at the IRL Open Test in April and I decided it wouldn't be fair to run him since everyone else has tested there. It's a tricky course, especially running the long course [vs. NASCAR's shortened venue]. I think it'd be even harder for him than St. Pete where we struggled. Jeff Bucknum called last week offering to help Anthony out there. But I decided it would make more sense to put Jeff in the car. Jeff's familiar with the course, he's run there quite a bit in smaller cars and was an instructor there for a couple years. Also, he did a half-day in a Dreyer-Reinbold Indy car at the IRL test there in April and impressed them. I'm looking forward to having him drive for me this weekend. I knew his daddy [the late Ronnie Bucknum] way back when and I never thought his son would be driving for me. It's a small world."

* Jeff Bucknum on driving the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet: "I'm pretty excited to be driving the 14 car for A.J. It feels like things have come full circle for my family because my dad and A.J. raced together in the '60s. When I told my Mom that I was driving for A.J. I think it brought back so many memories of my dad that it brought a tear to her eye and became really special for her too. As far as driving at Infineon, my first ever racing experience was the Skip Barber School there. I've driven quite a few races at Infineon so I'm real familiar with the track. I tested the Dreyer-Reinbold Dallara there in April, so I feel pretty comfortable driving an Indy car there. With my knowledge of the track and A.J.'s experience in setting up Indy cars, I think we'll be able to get a good balance on the car and ultimately have a good weekend. I'm thrilled to be driving for him and I'm looking forward to working with his ABC Supply team."

* A.J. Foyt IV on watching this weekend: "I had asked my grandfather about getting a replacement driver for me for this race about a month ago, and at first he said no, but then I think he thought about it. He didn't say anything about it until we came home from Colorado. I'm actually relieved because it would have been hard to be competitive--I've never even seen the track. I'll learn a lot by watching and hearing the feedback between Jeff and the crew. I know I'll have a lot more fun this weekend than I did at St. Pete."

* This race marks the first time that someone other than A.J. IV will be driving the No. 14 car since he began his Indy car career in 2003. Foyt IV returns to the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara at Chicagoland Speedway next month.

* A.J. Foyt would have been a teammate of Ronnie Bucknum in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans when Bucknum finished third with co-driver Dick Hutcherson who was called in to replace Foyt. Foyt had been seriously burned in Indy car practice at Milwaukee the week before. Bucknum competed in Formula One for the nascent Honda factory team scoring points in the 1965 Mexico Grand Prix. He also drove Indy cars, winning the 1968 Michigan 250. He passed away in 1992, the year before his son drove in his first amateur race at the then Sears Point International Raceway.

* This is the second time this year that Foyt Racing has hired a former Dreyer-Reinbold pilot--the first being at Indy when Felipe Giaffone drove a third entry for Foyt. Giaffone finished 15th in the 500. Ties to Dreyer-Reinbold go deeper than that. In Japan, it was Dreyer-Reinbold team manager John O'Gara and some of his crew that helped the Foyt team repair the 14 car that was damaged in final practice. The Foyt team didn't have a back-up car because it was being painted in the colors of newly acquired sponsor ABC Supply. Moreover, one of the team's owners, Robbie Buhl drove to a sixth place finish in the 1999 Indy 500 driving for A.J., and O'Gara was part of Foyt's team in the early 90s.

* At Colorado last week, A.J. IV started 19th and finished 21st at Pikes Peak International Raceway. He is currently 17th in the IRL Drivers' standings.

* The Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix will be televised live Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time on ESPN.

-www.foytracing.com.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Robbie Buhl , A.J. Foyt IV , Skip Barber , Jeff Bucknum , A.J. Foyt