A.J. Foyt Hires Darren Manning to Drive Number 14; Names Larry Foyt Team Director HOUSTON (November 14, 2006)--A.J. Foyt has signed Darren Manning to drive the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda in the IRL IndyCar Series next year. Larry Foyt has...
A.J. Foyt Hires Darren Manning to Drive Number 14; Names Larry Foyt Team Director
HOUSTON (November 14, 2006)--A.J. Foyt has signed Darren Manning to drive the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda in the IRL IndyCar Series next year. Larry Foyt has been named Team Director.
These changes are two of several that Foyt is making in his team's operations to improve its chances of winning in what will be a signature season for Foyt: his 50th anniversary in Indy car racing.
"Next year is a big year for our team," said Foyt. "We're doing everything we can to get our program where it needs to be. My son Larry is a great asset to our team on the management side and we've worked hard to put together a solid plan for 2007.
"Part of that plan is hiring a driver who is experienced on ovals and road courses and who will work well with our sponsor ABC Supply. Darren Manning fits the bill. He runs hard and I think he wants to win as bad as I do."
"I'm excited about returning to the IRL with A.J.'s team," said Manning, 31. "Now everyone is running the same engines and mostly the same chassis so the playing field is more equal. Plus, I have a lot of respect for A.J., and his team is putting a lot of effort into making next year one of their best. I think I can bring some good things to this team."
"Next year is an important milestone for us with our 25th anniversary, and we're happy to welcome Darren to the ABC Supply team as our driver," said company founder and CEO Ken Hendricks. "We know the team is working hard in the off-season and we're looking forward to an exciting 2007 season."
Larry Foyt began taking a more active role in his father's team in September when he moved back to Houston from North Carolina where he'd been living the past five years. Although young Foyt has not given up his hopes of returning to the cockpit, he is focusing his management skills on his father's Indy car team.
"We've been busy getting ready for next season," said Foyt, 29. "We're bringing in new people to join our crew, and hiring Darren Manning is part of that. We're thrilled to have Darren as our driver next year. I can't wait for Homestead to see how all of our changes play out."
In 2006, Manning raced twice in the A1 Grand Prix World Series for Great Britain, helping his team secure third place in the 2005/2006 standings last April. Manning's most recent race in the IndyCar series was the ABC Supply/A.J. Foyt 225 at Milwaukee in July, 2005. He began his IndyCar career in 2004 with Chip Ganassi Racing. In 24 starts, Manning posted four top-fives, 13 top-tens and led 15 laps. In his first full season, he finished 11th in the standings right behind teammate Scott Dixon.
Prior to his IRL career, Manning spent the 2003 season in the CART Champ Car Series wherein he finished ninth driving for Derrick Walker. Prior to that he was a test driver for the BAR/Honda Formula One Team from 2000-2002. He competed in the FIA International F3000 Series in 2000-01 and won the All-Japan Formula 3 title in 1999.
The IRL IndyCar Series opens its season March 24th with a night race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla. Open testing for the Indy cars begins two months earlier in Florida (Jan.30-Feb.1) on the road course at Daytona International Speedway. Foyt's team is planning to attend all of the open tests in 2007.