Eager pupil A.J. Foyt Iv ready to learn from top teacher. INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, June 26, 2002 -- While most high-school students are enjoying their summer vacation, A.J. Foyt IV actually is looking forward to furthering his education. Of ...
Eager pupil A.J. Foyt Iv ready to learn from top teacher.
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, June 26, 2002 -- While most high-school students are enjoying their summer vacation, A.J. Foyt IV actually is looking forward to furthering his education.
Of course, 18-year-old Foyt's summer "classroom" doesn't contain books or blackboards, and the curriculum is slightly unconventional.
Instead of writing essays or analyzing equations, Foyt, from Hockley, Texas, will apprentice one of the greatest race drivers of all time: his grandfather, four-time Indianapolis 500 champion A.J. Foyt.
Young Foyt, a teen-age karting sensation who graduated from high school earlier this month, will drive for his famous grandfather in the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series, a new development series designed as the training ground for future Indy Racing League champions.
"My grandpa is going to be helping me a lot, but I'm not expecting anything different from how he treats his drivers," said Foyt, whose car will carry the No. 14 synonymous with "Super Tex." "I know everything he tells me -- or hollers at me -- will be just for the good.
"I've got a lot of people behind me that have been around for a while and really know what's going on, so I think we'll be in good shape. We're starting to get things ready for our first race July 7 at Kansas Speedway. It's really going to be big to drive an Indy-type car with the No. 14 on it. I'm looking forward to it."
In addition to his driving duties, young Foyt is a member of the pit crew for his grandfather's Indy Racing team. Foyt will be at Richmond International Raceway for this weekend's SunTrust Indy Challenge, where his responsibilities will include changing the right front tire on Airton Dare's No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone.
"Being a tire changer is good for me because it makes me realize what the guys have to go through, how much work it is and how difficult it is," Foyt said. "It's definitely good for when I get into the car. I'll respect those guys more for what they do."
Dare, an Indy Racing veteran at 24, will serve as young Foyt's driver coach. It's a role he welcomes.
"I'm going to try to help him as much as I can because A.J. helped me a lot," said Dare, the 2000 Indy Racing League Rookie of the Year. "I'm just trying to give back the favor he gave to me."
Other up-and-coming drivers joining Foyt in the Infiniti Pro Series include Arie Luyendyk Jr., son of two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Arie Luyendyk, actor/racer Jason Priestley, short-track standouts Aaron Fike and Ed Carpenter and Native American Cory Witherill.
The inaugural, seven-race Infiniti Pro Series season begins July 7 at Kansas Speedway. The 100-mile "sprints" will take place at the same track and on the same day as Indy Racing League events except for the Texas race, which will be conducted the day before the IRL's season-ending Chevy 500.