A.J. Foyt has seen his shares of racing success and failure, and according to the Toledo Blade he's ready to start seeing less of them. A.J. is bringing his son Larry (who is technically his grandson) to run operations for his team in 2007.
"I'm not stepping down, but I'm getting him back home to help run the operation, so we can be more competitive," A.J. Foyt said. "You need to have more people involved, and I can only do so much."A.J. has been a notorious difficult owner to work for. He IS the crew chief, he works on a tight budget and really, he's had a better career than ANY of his drivers ever will. Perhaps there will be less pressure all around if Larry takes the reigns. No one has to worry about living in the shadow of Larry's racing career.
"We've been talking about it for a while, kicking it around, but you know A.J., he's definitely not going to turn the keys over to anyone - he'll be around," Larry Foyt said.Color me skeptical about A.J. still being around, and I can't help but wonder if this isn't intended to appease potential sponsors and fans. A.J. Foyt was a very popular driver in his day due to his fiery personality (think more "Smoke" than Tony Stewart), which has no doubt led to his continued ability to pull sponsors despite fielding a non-competitive car.
Speaking of his fiery personality, I will always remember A.J. Foyt slapping Arie Luyendyk in Texas in 1997. The Flying Dutchman was upset the race had been awarded to Foyt driver Billy Boat and tried to crash the celebration in victory lane. Bad idea, even though IRL officials reviewed the race footage and later declared Arie the winner.
It has been reported (on airwaves but nowhere I can find a link) ABC Supply is under contract to sponsor the #14 next season, and that A.J. would like to retain current driver Jeff Bucknum.