INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Sept. 2, 2005 Today's IRL headlines 1. Foyt IV serves as host to Japanese friend 1. Foyt IV serves as host to Japanese friend: When four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt and his IRL IndyCarÂ® Series...
INDY RACING LEAGUE NEWS AND NOTES -- Sept. 2, 2005
Today's IRL headlines
1. Foyt IV serves as host to Japanese friend
1. Foyt IV serves as host to Japanese friend: When four-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt and his IRL IndyCar® Series team traveled to Japan in 2004 for the Indy Japan 300, Nancy and Tony Foyt, the parents of driver A.J. Foyt IV, befriended Tetsuo Kuramochi, a young man from Utsonomiya, Japan. Kuramochi was very helpful to the Foyt during their stay in Japan, so they extended an invitation for him to attend the race at nearby Twin Ring Motegi.
When the team returned to Japan this year, it welcomed back Kuramochi as a member of the crew. Kuramochi was responsible of keeping the race car clean, and it was a job he took seriously. Throughout the weekend, he could be found polishing the car when it was in the garage area, or listening intently on the radio while the car was on track.
When the team was forced to repair the car after a crash in final practice, the young Japanese race fan stayed with the team and helped in any way he could. The next day, he brought his dad to the race to meet the Foyt team.
When it was time to return to the U.S., the Foyts suggested that Kuramochi come to Indianapolis for the Indianapolis 500. Kuramochi accepted the offer, but was unable to come to Indianapolis. Last weekend, he finally made it to the U.S.
Kuramochi traveled from Japan to San Francisco for the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix at Infineon Raceway in nearby Sonoma, Calif. Upon his arrival at the track, he was again welcomed to the crew of the No. 14 ABC Supply Co. car.
"Everything is big (in the U.S.)," Kuramochi said of his first experience in the United States. "And everyone is very kind to strangers."
Following the race, Foyt IV invited Kuramochi to his home in Texas, and he flew with the family to Hockley, Texas aboard A.J. Foyt's private jet.
"At first, I was very worried," Kuramochi said. "I had no tickets and no reservations, and I didn't know how I was going to fly to Texas. They took me somewhere to an airport, and I got on A.J.'s private jet. We don't have many private jets in Japan, it is very unusual. I came into the plane and there were hot hamburgers and potatoes (French Fries) and cold Cokes waiting for us. I felt like a rich man.
"The Captain (Robert Janke, A.J.'s pilot) gave us a very nice flight because I could sleep well; I was very tired after the race. The cities looked beautiful at night with all the lights and so did the stars. It was very beautiful."
Once in Texas, Kuramochi phoned his mother to let her know that he was no longer in California, and that he would be staying with the Foyts. He plans to return home after the race at Chicagoland Speedway, but in the meantime, Tetsuo has been 'hanging' with A.J. IV at the Foyt ranch in Hockley, Texas. The two have gone shopping at the mall and wake-boarding at a nearby lake.
"I took Tetsuo out on my boat the other day," Foyt said. "He'd never been on a boat before. He went wakeboarding, and he popped right up on the first try. He's so light; he pops his butt right out of the water."
Foyt also took his Japanese friend to the team's race shop where the crew is prepping the No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet-powered Dallara for the PEAK Antifreeze Indy 300 Presented by Mr. Clean on Sept. 11.
Kuramochi saw the showroom which houses memorable race cars and many trophies and memorabilia from the careers of three generations of winning Foyts and called the visit the highlight of the trip, so far.
This weekend, he and Foyt will visit Austin, Texas.
"We're going to journey to the college world so Tetsuo can find out about American college life," Foyt said. "We're also going to do some more wake-boarding. If he thought he was tired after the race, wait until he gets through with this weekend spending all that time on the lake."
The 10th season of IndyCar Series competition continues with the Peak Antifreeze Indy 300 Presented by Mr. Clean at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 at Chicagoland Speedway. The race will be broadcast by ABC and the IMS Radio Network. The race broadcast also will be carried on XM Satellite Radio channel 152 (XM Extreme). The next Menards Infiniti Pro Series race is the Chicagoland 100 on Sept. 11 at Chicagoland Speedway. It will be telecast at 3 p.m. (EDT) on Sept. 15.