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A.J. Foyt is the toughest, winningest good ol’ boy motorsports has ever seen


#1

Le Mans, France — Fifty years ago last June, on this very spot in central France, A.J. Foyt completed one of the most remarkable odysseys in racing history. Less than a week after winning the Indianapolis 500 for the third time in seven years, he flew to Le Mans to race a car he’d never driven on a track he’d never seen. Yet despite a mere 10 laps of practice, Foyt romped to victory with co-driver Dan Gurney in their Ford GT40 Mark IV. Ford’s 1967 triumph over Ferrari at Le Mans is often described as the high-water mark of American involvement in international motorsports. But for Foyt, it was just another milestone in the greatest motorsports highlight reel ever compiled.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/04/24/aj-foyt-motorsports-history

#2

Mr. Lerner thanks for your persistence in getting this interview. Great article - really enjoyed it.


#3

Great story of a true legend. I vividly remember my son, about 10 at the time, chasing AJ down in the Road America paddock in his rental car to autograph a copy of his autobiography. Luckily he actually signed it!!


#4

Continuing the discussion from A.J. Foyt is the toughest, winningest good ol’ boy motorsports has ever seen:

What a magnificent article about one of the most iconic drivers of all time!
Several years ago, I was at Kansas Speedway with the “leader” of the Mears gang, legendary Bill Mears. Bill tapped me on my shoulder and said,“Gary, there’s someone I’d like you to meet…”
I turned around and there was A.J.! Even given my “mature” age, I was absolutely speechless! He said, in a very modest way, “I used to do some open wheel racing, and…” I don’t remember what he said after that; I was still in shock.
I will be indebted to Bill Mears forever for creating one of the most unforgettable momentsa in my life!
Gary Krings


#5

So much could be written about AJ, but one episode happened at Sebring in 1985 that sums it up for me. On Thursday morning AJ and crew were in his tent preparing for practice in Preston Henn’s 935 with Wollek as co-driver. The day before a Miami newspaper journalist had written what AJ figured was a negative article about his skill as a sports car driver (even though he had won about every major sports car race in the world by that time). Well, this journalist had the stupidity to walk into this little tent and announce himself. AJ stood up, saying nothing, and with his right hand picked the wimp off the ground by his shirt collar, walked him out the tent and deposited him on the Sebring dirt. That’s AJ, tough as nails. And by the way, he went on to win the race!


#6

AJ, The last of his kind , quite possibly one of a kind in racing history . We lived about an hour and a half drive from the Indianapolis motor Speedway when I was a kid . My Dad Would take me and my brothe to the practice sessions although we never went to the 500 race until many years later . This was back in 1969 through 74 . I can still remember Al Unser in the Johnny lightning special . Remembet seeing AJ pull into the pits struggle to get out of his car ticket grab and turn wrenches himself ,throw them on the ground get back in the car and go again. I never saw the man smile and less he just won the race on TV . He loved racing he knew racing he new cars he could build cars repair cars and I don’t think he cared if he ever made any money or was ever interviewed on TV. . You had to load to drive because Dying was much more common back then . I saw Peter Revson hit the wall and Mark Donohue lose their lives . Was glad to see AJ stay in the sport is long as he did to always be remembered especially at the Indianapolis motor Speedway


#7

At the Milwaukee Mile, (1960’s) A.J. blows his Ford engine during the start of time trials. With A.J. handling the wrenches the had a new engine installed and qualified near the front. That was a U.S.A.C stock car race.
Why did A.J. own a Chevrolet dealership in Houston and drive a Ford stock car?