Two Foyts Will Compete at Indy for First Time INDIANAPOLIS May 16, 2004--There will be two Foyts competing in the Indianapolis 500 this year. On Saturday, May 15th, Larry Foyt and A.J. Foyt IV qualified for the 88th Running of the Indy 500 in...
Two Foyts Will Compete at Indy for First Time
INDIANAPOLIS May 16, 2004--There will be two Foyts competing in the Indianapolis 500 this year.
On Saturday, May 15th, Larry Foyt and A.J. Foyt IV qualified for the 88th Running of the Indy 500 in less than ideal weather conditions. Cold track temperatures contributed to three competitors crashing in turn one during their runs; no one was injured.
Larry Foyt, 27, was the eighth driver to go out on track; he posted a four lap average of 213.277 mph to qualify for his first Indy 500.
"Our speeds haven't been nearly what I wanted or what I expected when I was coming here, so on that end, it's been a little frustrating," said the Houston-born rookie. "There are so many things that can go wrong in those four laps, and only a couple things that can really go right. So as far as that goes, I'm glad it's over. Unfortunately, the speed wasn't that great, but we went ahead and took it because it's just all the car seems to have right now, and we'll take the next two weeks to figure out a good race setup. The car drove really well -- just tried to be really smooth and use up all the racetrack that I could and not scrub off any speed."
Foyt IV, 19, spent most of the day waiting to go out in his car. A fire in the injectors while the car was idling before morning practice necessitated an engine change which the Conseco crew performed in less than an hour. He vacated his place in the qualifying line as he hoped to get some warm-up laps before attempting to qualify. However, the track never did open up for practice.
With 35 minutes left in First Day Qualifying, his grandfather, A.J. Foyt Jr., walked up to him and asked, "Do you want to try to qualify?" He nodded in the affirmative and the car was rolled into the line. A.J. took a couple degrees out of the rear wing and made some further adjustments to the front wings and sent him off.
Foyt IV qualified at a four-lap average speed of 214.256 mph. He was one of only four drivers to increase his speed each lap. The second-year Indy car driver hung it out enough to kiss the wall in the short chute between turns one and two on lap three.
"It was a frustrating day," said A.J. IV. "My first laps on the track today were in qualifying. I glanced off the wall setting up for turn two [white-walled the right-front tire on lap on lap 3] but it didn't hurt anything. I'm disappointed for my sponsor Conseco because I know we could have run better if we didn't have the motor problem early. It was a long frustrating day--- I'm glad it's over and I'm glad we're in the show."
"Both boys did a helluva job today," said A.J. "We've got a horsepower problem right now and it's frustrating to be down on power at a place like this.
"Larry drove really smooth. I didn't get aggressive on his set-up because I wanted him to be comfortable and not have the car do anything crazy. We saw some of that today with the veterans. A.J. IV did his run without any practice at all and 20 gallons of fuel! I knew he was champing at the bit to get out there and even though the speed isn't what we wanted, he'll start ahead of everyone who qualifies the next two days."
The first 22 starters for the Indy 500 are set. A.J. IV will start 21st, outside row seven, in his No. 14 Conseco Dallara/Toyota. Larry will start 22nd, inside row eight in the No. 41 Foyt Racing G-Force/Toyota that is painted in his father's classic color, warm poppy red.
Qualifying resumes Sunday, May 16th. The last day to qualify for the 500 is next Sunday, May 23rd. The field is set in order of the days that the drivers qualify.