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A.J. Foyt Indy Car Larry Foyt A.J. Foyt IV

 

 

 

 

California Speedway
Toyota Indy 400


California Speedway
Location: Fontana, Calif.
Shape: D-Shaped Oval
Distance: 2 miles
Banking, Turns: 14 degrees
Front Straight: 3,100 feet
Banking, Front Straight: 11 degrees
Back Straight: 2,500 feet
Banking, Back Straight3 degrees

California Superspeedway
California Speedway


Race Report: California Speedway
Final Race for A.J. IV in the No. 14

Click to enlarge...Click to enlarge...Click to enlarge...A.J. Foyt IV closed out a chapter in his young career with his final race in the No. 14 ABC Supply Indy car owned by his grandfather Sunday afternoon under storm-threatening skies at California Speedway in Fontana.

A rain shower after Sunday morning's final practice, cooler temperatures and gusting winds made the race a difficult one for the 21-car field. Drivers worked hard to hold on to their cars which danced around the track until the first round of pit stops.

Unfortunately for the ABC Supply team, the first round of pit stops was precipitated by the caution flag for A.J. IV.

Click to enlarge...Foyt IV spun coming off turn two on lap 31 of the Toyota Indy 400 and the No. 14 Dallara/Chevy backed into the wall hard. Foyt IV was dazed by the blow and complained of pain in his legs. He was taken by ambulance to Loma Linda Medical Center where he was released an hour and a half later following negative test results.

Dario Franchitti edged out teammate Tony Kanaan to win the race by eleven hundredths of a second. It was an emotional victory for Franchitti who'd lost his close friend and fellow competitor Greg Moore in a 1999 CART champ car race at the two-mile oval. Rounding out the top five were Vitor Meira, Scott Sharp and Helio Castroneves.

On Saturday, Foyt IV qualified 18th due to a problem in the computer system which affected the down-shifting, forcing him to run in high gear the entire lap. He was eighth quickest in the final practice on race morning.

Click to enlarge...In the race, he began making his way through the field until he came upon IRL Series champion Dan Wheldon who was fighting a bad push in his car. Foyt IV tried several times to pass only to have Wheldon cut across taking the air off Foyt IV's car and sending him high.

Foyt IV was looking for a way by again on lap 23 when Wheldon's turbulence coming off turn two shot the ABC Supply car up to the backstretch wall which it grazed. Foyt IV reported that the car was fine when questioned by the team. Seven laps later he complained that the car was "a little free" coming off turn two and the next lap he crashed there.

"The car jumped out on him. The car's right side suspension was bent and at this point we don't know if it was from brushing the wall earlier or from the crash," said Foyt. "Sometimes the hit is so hard on the left that it crinkles the right side suspension even though there doesn't seem to be any other damage to the right side. The right rear tire was blistered which could have been caused by the bent suspension. That could certainly make the car loose enough to spin. When we get the car home and take it apart, we'll have a better idea of what happened. The good thing is he didn't get hurt too bad and he'll be able to race next weekend."

Foyt IV finished 20th in the driver standings while the car finished 18th in the entrant ranking. He posted his best finish of ninth at Homestead-Miami Speedway and at Kentucky Speedway. He missed two of the road course events because road racer Jeff Bucknum subbed for him.

Foyt IV will be making his NASCAR Busch Series debut in the No. 38 Great Clips Dodge this coming weekend at Memphis Motorsports Park.

With primary sponsorship in place for the next two years, Foyt's ABC Supply team is currently looking for a replacement driver for Foyt IV.

The IRL IndyCar Series wound up with Wheldon taking the championship title over Tony Kanaan, Sam Hornish, Dario Franchitti and Scott Sharp.


NOTES & QUOTES: Toyota Indy 400

A.J. Foyt IV: No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone

A.J. Foyt IV on California Speedway: "California is a big, wide track that has some banking but not as much as Texas. The key will be to get the ABC Supply car handling in traffic so we'll need to work on our race set-up as much as possible. Qualifying isn't that big of a deal at California because in the race there's a lot of drafting so everyone gets packed up, but you do need to stay in the lead pack. Getting our car to work in the draft will be our focus."

On his last ride in the No. 14 Indy car: "It'll be bittersweet. I'm going to miss the excitement of open wheel racing in the IRL but I'm also looking forward to doing some other stuff."

Foyt IV Released: Foyt IV was released from his contract with A.J. Foyt Enterprises. "Anthony wants to try his hand at NASCAR," said family patriarch and Indy car team owner A.J. Foyt. "He's learned a lot since we began working together in 2002 but now it's time for him to learn from someone else... I admit I'm a little nervous about trusting him to the world because he is young. At the same time, I think we both realize it's time for him to spread his wings."

Foyt IV Flies the Nest: "I will always appreciate the chance my grandfather has given me," said Foyt IV. "I've learned tons working with him and his team, especially how you have to keep working together to make progress. My grandfather has shown a lot of faith in me by allowing me to drive his cars and by sticking by me when times got rough... Now I have an opportunity to try something different which I'm excited about and I hope works out well."

Foyt IV Joins Akins Motorsports: A.J. IV announced that he has signed with Akins Motorsports to drive the No. 38 Great Clips Dodge in the NASCAR Busch Series starting the weekend of October 22nd at Memphis Motorsports Park. Slated to run the final four races this year, Foyt will drive the No. 38 car on the entire Busch circuit next year.

Past Performance at California Speedway: In 2004, Foyt IV posted his second best start of his career (7th). He dropped to the back in the beginning stages of the race because of a lack of downforce. Adjustments were made on the first pitstop and towards the end of the race, he was running 11th when another competitor pushed him high on a restart and Foyt IV scraped the wall in turn one, ending his day. He placed 19th.

At Watkins Glen International three weeks ago, Jeff Bucknum subbed for A.J. Foyt IV once again. Bucknum qualified 19th and finished 11th in his fourth IndyCar start and second one for Foyt's ABC Supply team.

  California 10/3
  AJ IV Released
  Watkins Glen 9/25
  Chicago 9/11
  One Good Turn
  Infineon 8/28
  Pikes Peak 8/21
  Kentucky 8/14
  Michigan 7/31
  Milwaukee 7/24
  Nashville 7/17
  Kansas 7/3
  Richmond 6/25
  Texas 6/11
  Indy 500 5/29
  Motegi Japan 4/30
  St. Petersburg 4/3
  Phoenix 3/20
  Miami 3/06

  2004 News

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