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A. J. Foyt - Foyt's Legacy

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In this age of slick, specialized auto racers with multimillion-dollar sponsorship deals, Foyt is a throwback to the old days of grit-tough racing. An expert auto mechanic, Foyt knew how far to push a car to its limits, and on some occasions finished the race right before the car was about to break down or blow a tire. During one race, a radius rod—a piece of Foyt's suspension—snapped and started to fall off. Instead of taking himself out of the race as most drivers would do, Foyt grabbed the piece of metal and held it in place with one hand, while using his other hand to finish, and win, the race.

While driving, Foyt's technique was nearly flawless. Fellow racers noted on several occasions that Foyt was cool as ice while he drove. Foyt almost never made mistakes, and would never let his emotions affect his driving as some other racers did and still do. Out of the car, however, it was a different story. While Foyt's racing prowess was legendary, so was his hot temper. When he was angry, he berated his pit crew, officials, reporters, or whoever else got in his way. Sometimes, he would beat on his race car with a hammer if it didn't run the way he wanted it to, regardless of who was watching. During the 1985 Indianapolis 500, Foyt's pit crew misunderstood what needed to be fixed on the car, so Foyt jumped out, irate, and tried to fix the problem himself. Unfortunately, he accidentally set the car on fire and knocked himself out of the race in the process.

Despite his short fuse, Foyt's loyalty to his fellow racers is also legendary. On several occasions, he has gone out of his way to help other racers' careers, such as when he let Al Unser Sr., a rookie, drive Foyt's backup car in the 1965 Indianapolis 500. Foyt was also famous for helping keep racers safe. His knowledge of what cars could do, coupled with his driving talent and instinct, saved himself and others on many occasions, as he helped to avert potentially fatal accidents during a race. He also helped out during bad accidents, such as in 1968 when he pulled fellow racer, Johnny Rutherford, from Rutherford's burning Indy car.

Most importantly, Foyt was totally committed to his racing throughout his career. Enamored of the sport since he was five years old, Foyt's passion never flagged for more than fifty years, despite the fact that he sustained injuries that could—and have—crippled others. In the end, Foyt's amazing drive helped him to become one of history's most amazing drivers.

A. J. Foyt - Selected Writings By Foyt: [next] [back] A. J. Foyt - Awards And Accomplishments

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