A.J.’s third Indy victory came in 1967 when he drove this Sheraton-Thompson Coyote-Ford, outlasting Parnelli Jones and the STP Turbine car and threading his way through a multi-car accident that nearly blocked the main straight as he came down to take the checkered flag on the final lap.
Photo: Bob Tronolone
Anthony Joseph Foyt Jr. is one of racing’s all-time great all-rounders. During a career as a driver that spanned five decades, and one as a car owner that continues to this day, Super Tex has been victorious in everything he’s tried. Before becoming the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 four times he came up the old fashioned way, driving midgets and sprint cars on dirt bullrings before getting his shot at the “Big Cars”—as Indycars were then known. In that arena, his career records for wins (67), 500-mile race wins (9) and championships (7) remain unsurpassed. He was a master of the dirt and equally adept on pavement in front- or rear-engined cars, on ovals or road courses. Beyond open-wheelers, he excelled in stock cars and sports cars as well. His accomplishments in those disciplines include 41 USAC stock car wins and three championships, along with seven NASCAR Cup-level wins as a part-timer—including the 1972 Daytona 500—while in sports cars he has two 24-hour victories at Daytona and one at Le Mans (his only attempt), as well as single triumphs in the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Governor’s Trophy race at Nassau in the Bahamas. He also won the IROC series twice, the USAC Sprint Car championship in 1960, and was inducted into the inaugural class of the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1989. Upon stepping out of the cockpit he continued as an entrant, claiming two further Indycar crowns as well as another Indy 500. He and Wilbur Shaw are the only men to win Indianapolis driving a car of their own construction, while he, Parnelli Jones and Bobby Rahal are the only ones to win the 500 as both driver and (non-driving) entrant. His statistics from a record 35 Indianapolis 500 starts are impressive: along with Al Unser and Rick Mears, his four wins top that category and he’s also first in races led with 13; he’s the only man to establish a new race average speed record on three occasions; his four pole positions are equal second on that list; and his 555 laps led rank fourth. In preparation for this special Indy 500 issue, VR Associate Editor John Zimmermann sat down with A.J. to discuss his experiences at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
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