Shape: D-Shaped Oval
Distance: 2 miles
Banking, Turns: 14
Front Straight: 3,100
Banking, Front Straight: 11
Back Straight: 2,500
Banking, Back Straight: 3
Race Report: California Speedway
Final Race for A.J. IV in the No. 14
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.
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
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.
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
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.