Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series Press Conference Sept. 12, 2002 ARIE LUYENDYK JR., A.J. FOYT IV Moderator: We are here at Texas Motor Speedway. Glad to have you here for the big championship weekend. There are two championships, obviously on...
Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series Press Conference Sept. 12, 2002
ARIE LUYENDYK JR., A.J. FOYT IV
Moderator: We are here at Texas Motor Speedway. Glad to have you here for the big championship weekend. There are two championships, obviously on the line. The Indy Racing League, and we all know about it, Sunday's championship race, the Chevy 500 but Saturday, is the League Championship event of the new Infiniti Pro Series. We have with us two of the biggest names and the guys that are 1 and 2 in the Infiniti Pro point standings. Closest to me, is 20yearold Arie Luyendyk who lives in Phoenix, Arizona. He has one pole position this year, finished second four times in six races. He is second in points, led 64 laps this season, and he, of course, is the son of twotime Indy 500 Champion, Arie Luyendyk. On the other side, your left, is A.J. Foyt IV but you prefer to go by Anthony; correct? 18 years old from Hockley, Texas, which I'm going to assume is a Houston suburb. Three pole positions this year, three wins in six races, and the other three, he's finished fourth, sixth and ninth. He's led 146 laps this season and he is the grandson of fourtime Indy 500 Champion, A.J. Foyt. So it comes down to this, these two guys in Saturday's BG Products 100. So, first, I'll ask each of you, and then we'll throw it up here for some questions, when the season started, did you think guys think you would come down to being the two champions for the title?
Arie Luyendyk Jr.: I didn't know really what to expect, it was all so new for me. I definitely knew that A.J. would be quick and I knew that Ed would be quick, Aaron Fike, and I thought that would be the main guys and it seems to have worked itself out that way. I'm a little disappointed I have not had a win yet, but I'm glad that I'm here in front of all you and contending for the title in this last race. So, it all has not been too bad yet.
Moderator: Anthony, did you think it would come down to you and Arie.
A.J. Foyt IV: I knew that I've seen him race in the Formula Continental. I knew he was a very good driver. I knew coming into the League that he's to be one of the main guys to beat.
I'm glad to be up here in position, leading points going into the last race. We've had a great year and the Infiniti Pro Series is doing great with its first season. We had no problems at all and got a lot of good drivers that want to move up to IRL. I see the IRL really getting big the next couple years with a lot of young drivers moving up. Just hopefully try to hold Arie off on his last race.
Moderator: Anthony spent a week with us going around Texas, Oklahoma, doing press conferences to promote this weekend's events, and that was before the Chicago race. So, I did not see him until, I guess it was Tuesday. What's the first thing you said to me?
A.J. Foyt IV: I told him he said that, you know, you shouldn't do good at Chicago because we wanted you to try to win the championship in Texas, so I feel that Eddie and Kimberly pretty much jinxed me. (Laughter). So hopefully, it doesn't carry on to this Texas race.
Arie Luyendyk Jr.: And I hope it does.
i>Q: If there's a dispute over who wins, are you going to start swinging away in victory lane?
Arie Luyendyk Jr.: I think we are more mature than that, or at least I am.
A.J. Foyt IV: I agree.
Arie Luyendyk Jr.: Anthony and I, we actually go out to dinner and stuff. We're pretty civil to each other. Not when we put the helmets on, though.
Q: Who is going to lead the most laps tomorrow between you two guys?
A.J. Foyt IV: Well, I guess that's something we are going to have to find out but hopefully it's me.
Arie Luyendyk Jr.: I feel the same way. Hopefully it's me. Leading the last lap is the most important lap, though.
Q: Arie, do you have big plans if you win the championship, being a legal age this week?
Arie Luyendyk Jr.: Yes, there will be some big plans. Some mornings I will have to sleep in quite late. But no, I can't party too hard because October 1, I'm going to be testing possibly the Treadway Hubbard G Force in Kentucky, so I'll have to concentrate on that.
Q: Anthony, you have a sponsor that you can't even go into their place of business because you're 18; right?
A.J. Foyt IV: Right.
Q: Larry Foyt is in stock car racing, can you make as much money as he can or can he make as much as you? Have you thought about all that stuff?
A.J. Foyt IV: I don't really think about the money so much. I just focus on what I love to do, and I've been around the openwheel cars and being that the shop is close to my house, very convenient and being able to go and learn more and more about the cars. I choose to stay in the IRL and I definitely like openwheel racing better. I think my grandfather wanted him to go there, but if it was his choice, he could come over here, too.
Moderator: Now, this morning's Fort Worth Star Telegram, you told the reporter about flying back with your grandfather from Chicago, and he said you said he chewed on you the whole way home. Specifically, what did he say?
A.J. Foyt IV: Just in the race, about halfway through, instead of staying behind Arie, I decided I didn't know his teammate was right behind me. So when I moved to the outside of Arie, his teammate, like he's supposed to, got right behind Arie and pushed him and let me out there by myself. Just got on me about not paying attention to what's around me. Made a move too early, should have waited until later in the race. And then went on and on and on (Laughter) for about two hours.
Moderator: That sounded very reasonable and constructive. But got tired of it after a while?
A.J. Foyt IV: Yeah.
Moderator: Well, one of these two young men will become the first ever Infiniti Pro champion, and we're just excited that the championship race is here at Texas. And knowing his grandfather and his father for years and years, we are just thrilled to see them show up here and do so well, and I think you're going to see a lot of these guys in years to come. We appreciate it, gentlemen. Have a good race, and may the best man win and all that good stuff.